Stuck On My Bench

The title sounds a bit cliche, which is partly why I put this up in the beginner forum. I wanted to try and avoid as much flame as I could. I’m not really a beginner, as I’ve been in the weight game for years and I’ve been reading T-Nation fairly regularly since the beginning.

Circumstances of life kept me out of the gym for about 3 years, and I’ve just gotten back into it for the last 2 months, so I’m a born again lifter. I’ve been training regularly and the diet is good. But I’ve had a problem with my bench that I was hoping for some advice on.

First let me start by saying I haven’t set any goals yet. I started small with the only target being the act of going to the gym and eating right. I’m doing a very basic routine, a 3 day split, mostly 5x5.


  • squats
  • Ham Curls
  • Calf raises


  • dips
  • pulls ups
  • bench press


  • bent over rows
  • dumbbell military press
  • upright rows

Again, I didn’t have any goal as far as gains were concerned. I wanted to see where things went and make adjustments and goals after seeing where I was at. I’ve been making some great newbie gains and basically batting 1000 on almost every workout (adding weight or reps on every lift).

My squat has been my biggest gainer, starting with poor control and at 135lbs, and gaining to a clean, good form, ass to the grass, controlled 225lbs in the last 2 months. I really feel myself getting back into things like I was years ago, but my bench has hardly progressed at all.

I’ve added maybe 10 lbs on to my meager 135lb bench I started with. 3 years ago I was benching 240 at my strongest. I know there are many articles on how to bench HUGE but I didn’t want to start a specialization program until I had hit a plateau with most of my lifts.

I am assuming I’m doing something wrong, or I’m missing something but I’m drawing a blank considering everything else is moving along so nicely. I always make sure my form is top notch and my tempo is good. My triceps are doing great and I really feel the lift in my chest.

Each day I come in and throw down some great numbers, feel good, then I move on to my bench and it’s the same story.

Any ideas?

This is more a suggestion for your routine than an answer to your actual question but it might help with your bench going up anyways. You said you’re doing a 3 day split so i’m assuming youre going something like Monday/Wednesday/Friday and if you are I would suggest splitting up the exercises a bit more which should help in gaining strength and size. I think Mike Mahler wrote an article and basically you do squats, bench press and bent-over rows Monday, and deadlifts, pull-ups and military press Wednesday then repeat first workout on Friday then second workout next Monday. You could try something like that or just splitting it up where you do a leg exercise, an upperbody pushing exercise and an upperbody pulling exercise each day.
just an idea. With the 5x5 your strength should increase fairly quickly if everything is in order.

Try bench first on day one for 3 weeks if you want to keep everything the same? Hopefully its simple enough to work…Good luck

[quote]adziar wrote:
You said you’re doing a 3 day split so i’m assuming youre going something like Monday/Wednesday/Friday [/quote]

Thanks for the suggestion. My spit is actually not nailed down to specific days. I work a very erratic schedule and sometimes very long hours. I go to the gym when I can and rotate the workouts.

For example, I trained this week on Monday, Thursday, and then today (Saturdsay). I’ll probably be in the gym again tomorrow, and then I have Tuesday off of work, so it looks promising. My opinion is that my body doesn’t know what day of the week it is, so I just train when I can, assuming I feal recovered from the last time I hit that muscle.