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Supra Maximal se on ME Bench day

Would there be any benefit to adding one set of a supra-max bench doing a negative only. My bench sucks and I’m trying to get stronger. I’m stuck at 360 (although today I didn’t get it). I was thinking something like this:

365x1 (or 360 for my week ass)
405x1 controlled negative

I was thinking this might be a way to get me used to handling heavy weight. Any comments?

P.S. I apologize if this has been brought up before but I must not type the right words into the search engine because I get nada.

Weight releasers rule for this kind of thing.

Are you doing a Westside protocol? - that is a speed day as well as a max day? bands and/or chains?

One thing I have found helpful is a movement that doesn’t seem to have a name - I call them serratus benches or supine shrugs.
Use 1RM+ weight (+10%, +20%,etc.).
Unrack and lock out. Then shrug the weight towards the ceiling. It will move only a few inches. I do 4 sets of 10, trying to use as much 1RM+ as I feel safe doing.
The movement is like a normal shrug but on a different plane - instead of up toward the ears, you move the whole shoulder complex forward towards the chest. Loads are comparable as well except grip strength and endurance is not an issue when you are under the weight.

Two benefits:

  • you get used to greater weights
  • this builds up the lats and serratus (under the scapula) and really helps move the load at the bottom of the bench movement.

Does anybody else do these?

had another thought.
The Prilopin chart suggests best volume for various %s of your 1RM in a workout.

% 1RM #reps/set tot lifts optimal
per workout
90-100% 1-2 4-10 7
80-90% 2-4 10-20 15
70-80% 3-6 12-24 18
50-70% 3-6 18-30 24

Your #s are:
90-100% 1 1
80-90% 1 1
70-80% 1 2
50-70% 3 6
total volume: 3270 (including warmups at lower %'s)

Based on that, you aren’t doing nearly enough volume at the %'s to make improvements.
Try something like:
wt sets/reps
45 1x5
95 1x5
135 1x5
185 2x4
205 2x4
225 2x4
255 3x3
275 3x3
295 2x3
315 2x3
325 2x3
345 1x2
355 1x2
365 2x1
total volume : 18805 !!

you might need to work up to this volume over a few weeks.
I wonder how many think this is TOO much? I have gotten my bench from low 200’s to 255 in 4 months with volumes about 15000 doing this type of workout on ME day. No ill effects and good progress.

Dan, that’s a lot of volume. A lot. I don’t doubt that it would work, but I don’t know of many people that could make it through a workout like that. You definitely thought out a response to this question, though.

I would personally try the weight releasers if you’re looking into negative work. They allow you to really overload the eccentric portion of the lift, and are also very easy to use (i.e. you don’t have to have someone picking 400lbs off of you). My bench max is pretty similar to yours, and I work up to 400-420 on the weight releasers.

Board presses, pin/chain lockouts, and reverse band presses all allow you to use loads heavier than your 1RM on the bench press. You might want to give those a shot too.

like major dan said if oyur doing the westside protocal then you train the dynamic bench session just 72 hours later so this is why i am not real high on the super negatives…they make you very sore and can trash the cns for a good week…if your using the negative ot get used to heavier weights and get the feel for bigger weights then i have a much better idea…hit up high board presses 4-5-6 and 4 inch lock outs as your assitant work do sets of 3 reps you will easly be able weights in the 100% range for reps on these movements and they will get you used ot handleing heavy weight and build up your triceps…big martin


In my opinion, those ‘Supine Shrugs’ (goood job on the name, btw) would make most weaker in the bench press by making the balance of strength between the retractors and protractors worse than it already is on most people.

In my experience, the best way to affect the Serratus is by doing strict military and behind the neck presses. Overhead work isn’t often seen in the Westside workouts and I’ve always wondered why?

Maybe Martin can shed light. Or just tell me I’m wrong. I’ve found the military press to be an excellent assistance exercise for triceps and a great ‘pre-hab’ exercise for the Serratus. Push Presses seem like a great Dynamic exercise as well, but I haven’t seen that either, if memory serves… Martin?


two schools of thought why westside don’t do overhead lifting often (NOT never)

  1. There shoulders are basically fucked after years of massive weights taking there toll on the body

  2. They don’t compete in overhead pressing and Louie and the rest obviously don’t think it helps bench press to increase.

Personaly I agree with you and include military press, push press and split jerk press but I use the westside template for sports training so I suppose the best answer would be that they don’t need to.

As Rob suggested i think push presses are useful for tricep strength.
I am new to Westside but I decided to use push presses for my tricep assistance work as i figured that the triceps are only really kicking in toward the end of the movement to lock out the weight. Which is sort of like the bench coming off the bottom with speed and the triceps finishing off. I know its not the same plane as the bench but my tris are definitely getting stronger on 4 board presses. (or maybe the 4 boards are helping my push presses).
Does this make sense or are the loads too light relative to the bench to carry over?

I can push press as much as I can bench so the loads dn’t need to be that light!

you posted “In my opinion, those ‘Supine Shrugs’ would make most weaker in the bench press by making the balance of strength between the retractors and protractors worse than it already is on most people.”

Do you think that a corresponding or balancing amount of ‘prone shrugs’ would be useful? by prone shrug, I’d lie face down on a bench and shrug the weight ‘up’ towards me or possibly like a rowing movement, but without elbow bend - just retract the scapulae?

Also, the negatives on the supine shrugs would hit the retractors, wouldn’t they?

Seems to me that military and behind the neck presses would affect the movement of the scapulae differently (up and down) vs protract/retract horizontally around the ribcage.
Would a combination of prone/supine shrugs and military/behind the neck presses work together beneficially by hitting different planes of motion.?

I have done the supine shrugs before; they work well for their intended purpose. I wasn’t using the westside template at the time, though. They worked best on a decline bench; that really involved the lats in a unique way. I wouldn’t really do it unless you think you need that kind of strength in the lats/serratus. I kinda doubt it would really help you.

As far as negatives go, I wouldn’t do it. Like BM said, it trashes your CNS for about a week. T-mag interviewed Louie in an early issue, in which (I think) he trashed on negatives. I remember him saying all they do is make you sore. The only sound reason I can see for doing negatives is if you have a problem lowering the bar, which is pretty rare. Most people can lower at least as much as they can raise.

There are a lot of ways to get used to holding heavier weight. The trick is finding what suits you best, and by that I mean whatever method is going to help you bench more by strengthening your weaknesses.

Final verdict: I would do what BM said: heavy high-board presses. Damn near everyone could use stronger tris anyway.

Just a thought on overhead lifting. I believe that it is necessary to perform overhead lifts not only for the positive effect they have on overall strength, but also for the strengthing effects they have for the shoulder complex and the upper back muscles. I especially like the hang clean and press lift for those purposes. The overhead lifts and presses of any type not only imporove core stability and balance, but I think they have a stretching effect on usually overused and often injured shoulder and upper back muscles. I have used these lifts for the past year have have noticed a significant increase on all of my 3 basic lifts and have also had less training related soreness and no serious injuries(knock on wood!) during this year. Try to improve on the whole body strength to improve on the basic lifts and you will find your numbers going up.

rob my good freind…i think over head pressing is good for athletes things like push presses and stuff i use with ahtletes like footplayers and other power athletes and yes we use them strictly dynamically or the over head pin press that poliquin stole from louie just joking coates…but if youre after a bigger bench your better training you shoulders with raises and high rep recovery work for the shoulders…as powerlifters are shoulder take a beating sepicially squating with bands …this is why all my max effort work for the squat is done either with a 14 inch camberd squat bar or a safety squat bar…i only use a straight bar for squats for 12 weeks before a meet…so rob in your line of work yes overhead pressing dynamically is the way to go i use it wiht a lot of athletes…but for powerlifters lookng for big benches and big squats overhead pressing sucks, your much better off training the triceps with high board presses and 4 inch lockouts…big martin

nice to see yea around coates lol…big martin

earlier you responded to my heavy-volume workout. I agree its a lot of volume but don’t you think the current workout Ace is doing doesn’t have enough volume?
It just seems to me that with so few lifts above 50%, its hard to make progress in the 1RM.

Is there a formula for correct volume in a workout?

Big Martin
I agree that raises, especially front plate raises, and high rep recovery work are great for shoulders as related to bench pressing. I don’t understand why you think that overhead lifts and presses ‘suck’. What are you reasons for this belief? Looking forward to your reply.

MajorDan- I often thought my ME bench lacked volume as well, but every time I try to add more reps in before getting to a max lift, I don’t have the strength to hit anything above 90%. I believe it was Goldberg who once said he goes for maxes after 8-9 sets. That’s what I’ve been trying and for me it seems to work. I’m just getting stuck now.

TommyGun- I’ve been doing Westside with straight weight for the past 8 weeks and until this week, my bench has gone up every week from 315 to 360. I guess it’s time to start using some contrast, eh? I’ll probably go to Home Depot and pick up some chains.

BigMartin- Since starting Westside I have pretty much only used straight weight and full ROM. I haven’t even changed ME movements yet because I kept experiencing gains. But during the aforementioned trip to Home Depot I will purchase some boards as it is obvious my progress is coming to a stop and it’s time to get smart with the training.

Thanks for all the replies. I weigh 265 so my short-term goal is to hit 1.5xbwt on the bench (around 400) and 2xbwt on the squat and deadlift (around 530). Only then do I belive I can start to consider myself strong. THat’s still under 1500 total. I am such a pussy!

Major Dan-

Yes, volume is important, but it’s really only secondary in this instance. What I mean is this: The whole point to the max effort scheme is to really open up the CNS and push some crazy weight around. Technically, every week you should work up to a supramaximal lift, if you are setting PR’s. That’s the whole point. Doing as much volume as you suggested would be pretty difficult to set a PR with, at least I would think.

Sure, there would be benefits, like synaptic facilitation and so forth, but you’re really not going for that. What you’re going for is a max lift. You should use whatever amount of volume allows you to do that the best.

Personally, I usually like to do 4-6 sets at three reps, then 2 singles, at 80 and 90 percent of my previous record, then I go for the new record. I usually stop there, but if I really blasted the new record I’ll go for another one. Hope this helps.

Ace, 45lbs on the bench in 8 weeks is awesome. I assume all the numbers you’re talking about are raw and in training? If so, you would total more than that in an actual meet.

Really great job.

cleanssnatch…i dont think overhead lifts suck i think they are great for athletes, bodybuilders , oly lifters, ect…in fact like i said i use a lot of overhead lifts with my athletes…but i do think they suck for COMPETITIVE POWERLIFTERS who train for a huge total…so i dont think they suck at all for 98% of all people who lift weights but for people like me who are compettive powerlifters that only care about there squat-bench-dead total they are not a good training tool…the truth is with all the max effort benching, and heavy band squating i do my shoulders take a severe beating… i dont think anyone who has not trained for a compettive powerlifting event would truly understand…i run 14 week training cycles to get ready for meets and i only do about 2 meets a year and only 12 of those weeks do i squat with a regular straight bar…so i only squat with a straight bar for only 24 weeks a year the other time i use a camberd squat bar or safety squat bar because they are so much easier on the shoulders…and i have gone to doing all my max effort squat work with either the camberd or safety bar to keep my shoulders healthy…so what i am saying is that in week 6 of a contest cycle it wouldnt be real smart for me to go and do a whole bunch of sets of push presses…i would be much better of doing recovery exerscices for my shoulders due to the beating they take from the heavy benching and squating i do…another example is this i do all my bench work in a training single ply bench shirt…“why”…because it keeps me healthy…i can bench over 400 pounds raw …but all i care about is what i do on the platform so if wearing a training bench shirt helps me stay more healthy and makes me unltimately stronger than i am going to do it…is this something i would recomend for everyone …HELL NO…so i hope i have proven my point…this has been a very fun topic and a enjoyable post…big martin