T Nation


The problem I am having is when I do my bench routine. When I get to my usual 315lbs (close to my max) my first rep, probably a 3-3 or a 4-4 tempo seems to be the hardest but after I complete it I seem to be able to get into a rythm and complete 3 to 4 more reps. I feel that I could do more reps total in the set if I could just get right into rythm from the get go instead of wasteing all my energy on my first rep in the set. Any sugestion on how to bust my routine to achieve this?
Ton of Thanks

Do you warm up the muscle the same way that you are usuing it? i.e. use about 60% of your weight. That is enough of a weight to warm you up, but not enough that it will effect your strength for the next set.

I totally agree. Warming up your muscles before attempting heavy lifts is critical. I find acclimation sets to be very helpful. If you haven’t done so, I’d recommend reading 1,6 Training Principles by Charles Poliquin.

Are the reps after rep 1 faster on the negative portion of the lift? I have been working on pretty much the same thing you are talking about. I have found that my first rep is way to slow on the negative portion of the lift. I think it is due to a past shoulder injury and my mind is the culprit. The thing that has worked best for me is speed day. Try speed bench with minis and concentrate on bar speed. It will help immensely.

I think you may be finding the first rep so hard because you may not have adequately “warmed-up” your CNS. What I mean by this is that aside from warming up the muscles with lighter weights (which is also important) you must also “switch on” your CNS adequately to lift heavy which is only accomplished using heavy weights closer to (or almost equal to) what you are hoping to lift. So to use your example of 315, if you want to lift 315 for 6 reps, try first lifting 305 or 310 or even 315 for three reps (which should not cause any significant muscle fatigue particularly if you reat for a few minutes afterwards), then resting for, for example, three minutes and then going for the 316 x 6. This is something which I have used to great effect once I realised that until the CNS is adequately aroused heavy weights will seem even heavier. Hope you understand what I mean. Also read Ian King’s article, “Intensity vs Volume” which you should be able to find using the search facility.


Both of the suggestion that you have been given are the ones that I was also going to add. Implement a speed day into your training and get proper warm up.

Also it might be of benefit if you actually do just the one rep @ 315, or even go for 1 rep @ a step higher. Then after you recover hit the set of higher reps @ 315.


Try and make all your reps on the concentric phase as explosive (quick) as possible.