T Nation

Training for bench only?

People can flame me or make fun of me all they want, but i’ve decided to switch from full powerlifting to bench only, the main reason being to keep from messing up my back that I feel is in danger with my current training path. I want to be able to enjoy life when I’m older and be able to take walks with my wife and enjoy vacations and life, but I still want to compete and lift something heavy. I just feel too destined for injuries and future pain training for full powerlifting meets.

I’m wondering how bench only guys structure their training. I was thinking of a westside style template, just keeping the lower body stuff a little higher rep (The main goal of lower days being to strengthen without hurting bench workouts and without messing up my back). I’m wondering though if there’s something better that is more tailored towards bench only lifters. Also any suggestions on bench shirts would be appreciated. I’ve always lifted raw, but if I was doing bench only I could afford a bench shirt since I don’t need a squat and deadlift suit too.

My bench is by far my worst lift. My personal best is 265 at 181. I have a long road ahead of me to bring it up, but I’m up for the challenge.

You can be healthy and power lift. They don’t have to be separate things.

Power lifting will probably out last most wives.

You aren’t destined for injuries. Well, with that mind set, you are making yourself that way.

If you are going to do what you are talking about, you might as well just quit and stop taking up bench space.

i dont know about the rest of em, but during the winter i switch to bench only.

when comp time rolls near, i switch back to full power.

Go read Vinnie Dizenzo’s log on elitefts or Travis Bell’s log. You could probably send questions to either of them.

[quote]EveryLastingScar wrote:
People can flame me or make fun of me all they want, but i’ve decided to switch from full powerlifting to bench only, the main reason being to keep from messing up my back that I feel is in danger with my current training path. I want to be able to enjoy life when I’m older and be able to take walks with my wife and enjoy vacations and life, but I still want to compete and lift something heavy. I just feel too destined for injuries and future pain training for full powerlifting meets.

I’m wondering how bench only guys structure their training. I was thinking of a westside style template, just keeping the lower body stuff a little higher rep (The main goal of lower days being to strengthen without hurting bench workouts and without messing up my back). I’m wondering though if there’s something better that is more tailored towards bench only lifters. Also any suggestions on bench shirts would be appreciated. I’ve always lifted raw, but if I was doing bench only I could afford a bench shirt since I don’t need a squat and deadlift suit too.

My bench is by far my worst lift. My personal best is 265 at 181. I have a long road ahead of me to bring it up, but I’m up for the challenge.[/quote]

Why do you feel your back is in danger? Barring serious injury, thats a very silly thing to just assume. Especially since bench could be just as crippling as squat/dead if performed incorrectly.

I wouldn’t tell somebody that they weren’t a powerlifter because they only bench pressed, or they only bench pressed and deadlifted, but, what the hell is wrong with squatting? What are you, afraid? I thought powerlifters were supposed to be big, tough guys. Strap your cock on, leave your pussy at home, put a bar on your back and bend your knees! -Kirk Karwoski

/thread

[quote]niksamaras wrote:
I wouldn’t tell somebody that they weren’t a powerlifter because they only bench pressed, or they only bench pressed and deadlifted, but, what the hell is wrong with squatting? What are you, afraid? I thought powerlifters were supposed to be big, tough guys. Strap your cock on, leave your pussy at home, put a bar on your back and bend your knees! -Kirk Karwoski

/thread[/quote]

Yes, " leave your pussy at home" because there is so much wrong with being a woman, right? Powerlifting rules, but the community is way too full of quotes like this that normalize misogyny.

ANYWAY, to the OP: I wouldn’t let anyone make you feel bad for wanting to do bench only. This is a hobby. You wanna make a harmless decision to alter your hobby? Go right for it. There are lots of interviews out there with bench specialists. If you want to take a conjugate method approach, I agree with the above who said to check out Bell and Dizenzo’s logs, and maye read some of Louie’s articles where he talks about Kenny Patterson and George Halbert?
Good Luck!

I understand you OP. My buddy hurt his back from doing rack deads. Ever since then, he has been getting sharp lower back pain whenever he has to lift something heavy…even something like a box when he was moving house. People need to understand before throwing around quotes like they know something.

if u do bench only thats a recipe for disaster because youll end up looking like quasimodo and have tons of shoudlder problems, an unbalanced physique- what you should do is reduce the weight on your squats and deadlifts for a while- go upto 70% of your max only and hit sub failure reps with the intention of solely maintaining a lower base level- no one is putting a gun to your head saying max out on all 3 lifts- just go as you want on the nech but still dont neglect the rest of the body. The sense of well being acquired from a more balaned body will by far be better for you in the long term than just benching.

[quote]gifted gonads wrote:
if u do bench only thats a recipe for disaster because youll end up looking like quasimodo and have tons of shoudlder problems, an unbalanced physique- what you should do is reduce the weight on your squats and deadlifts for a while- go upto 70% of your max only and hit sub failure reps with the intention of solely maintaining a lower base level- no one is putting a gun to your head saying max out on all 3 lifts- just go as you want on the nech but still dont neglect the rest of the body. The sense of well being acquired from a more balaned body will by far be better for you in the long term than just benching. [/quote]

At first I thought you were a troll, but you’ve been here too long for that now.

Why would he have shoulder problems from doing bench only? He’s training for bench only competitions, that doesn’t mean he literally only goes to the gym and does bench press. If anything, his shoulders will stay healthier by not doing heavy squatting. Which leads to the next…

He actually says he’ll continue to do lower body lifts, just at higher rep ranges. If anything, this will probably keep his leg growth (at least, in terms of hypertrophy) higher.

Although I don’t necessarily agree that switching to training bench only will be anymore beneficial for your long term joint health, etc. like Ghost said, it’s a hobby. Don’t let people on forums convince you that you shouldn’t do what you want.

To the OP in regards to bench shirts: what federation? Are you looking for single ply, double, multi?

If single, my suggestion is a Titan F6 or a Katana. I’d leave the Super Katana alone for a little while. Personal opinion, of course.

[quote]GhostOD wrote:

[quote]niksamaras wrote:
I wouldn’t tell somebody that they weren’t a powerlifter because they only bench pressed, or they only bench pressed and deadlifted, but, what the hell is wrong with squatting? What are you, afraid? I thought powerlifters were supposed to be big, tough guys. Strap your cock on, leave your pussy at home, put a bar on your back and bend your knees! -Kirk Karwoski

/thread[/quote]

Yes, " leave your pussy at home" because there is so much wrong with being a woman, right? Powerlifting rules, but the community is way too full of quotes like this that normalize misogyny.
[/quote]

Oh give it a rest Captain Equality. No one is trying to disparage women. Do you think Kirk Karwoski is a misogynist? Seriously? You’d be an idiot. You are so hyper sensitive to political correctness that you let it get in the way of common sense.

[quote]EveryLastingScar wrote:
People can flame me or make fun of me all they want, but i’ve decided to switch from full powerlifting to bench only, the main reason being to keep from messing up my back that I feel is in danger with my current training path. I want to be able to enjoy life when I’m older and be able to take walks with my wife and enjoy vacations and life, but I still want to compete and lift something heavy. I just feel too destined for injuries and future pain training for full powerlifting meets.

I’m wondering how bench only guys structure their training. I was thinking of a westside style template, just keeping the lower body stuff a little higher rep (The main goal of lower days being to strengthen without hurting bench workouts and without messing up my back). I’m wondering though if there’s something better that is more tailored towards bench only lifters. Also any suggestions on bench shirts would be appreciated. I’ve always lifted raw, but if I was doing bench only I could afford a bench shirt since I don’t need a squat and deadlift suit too.

My bench is by far my worst lift. My personal best is 265 at 181. I have a long road ahead of me to bring it up, but I’m up for the challenge.[/quote]

Why in particular are you worried about your back?

[quote]toh wrote:
I understand you OP. My buddy hurt his back from doing rack deads. Ever since then, he has been getting sharp lower back pain whenever he has to lift something heavy…even something like a box when he was moving house. People need to understand before throwing around quotes like they know something. [/quote]

My last two vertebraes are fused by birth. When I was twelve, I had a makor breakabout and had to stay in bed for 10 days. A doctor actually said that I will difficulty playing any kind of sport for too long because this. I live with lower back pain constantly. But you know what? I squat more than 500 and deadlift close to 600. Also, after breaking one and a half vertebraes, Mike Hedlesky deadlifted over 800 pounds I believe 3 times until now. So yeah, I know something. What you do when you get and injury is rehab it and move on with your training. If the damage is too big, with doctor’s orders to not lift anything heavy again, then I will understand. Otherwise, I stand by Karwoski’s moto.

how many days a week you want to train? I think if you’re training just for bench, you should bench at least 3 times a week. you could do speed work, Max effort, rep effort. Speed work at the start of the week, so you’re the most fresh, get your form nice and your nerves happy. Then max effort, work up to a heavy 3 2 or 1, drop back for a bunch of heavy doubles or triples with nice form. Then rep effort, you could do something like 5/3/1 - start it extra light and hit that final set for a ton of reps, and if you want more volume, after hitting the final weight for a max set drop back and hit the two other “work weights” for a max set as well.

If you want to train only 3 days a week, you could do a pulling upper body movement afterwards, then do whatever leg work and core work you want to finish out your workouts. If you want more days than that, just add more upper body assistance and make some days where you specifically do legs.

And don’t forget to strict press, please.

Anyways, that’s how I would do it. Not that I know much hahaha. Good luck friend.

If you want to go crazy here is a bench program that as always worked well for me and my teammates

I plan on doing a full Smolov cycle with bench sometime next year. Should be fun.

are you disabled? if not, squat and deadlift

For all the people who want to call the OP out for wanting to protect his back… I’m guessing most of you haven’t felt how debilitating a back injury can be. Like someone else said, competing or not, this is a hobby for all of us. There is no career in powerlifting, and there is no guarantee of longevity either. Dude can prioritize however he wants.

There are too many people jumping to conclusions. All you have to do is ask simple questions and respond to the ones he asks. The OP said he intends to continue training lower body simply with higher rep ranges. He said he intends to compete in bench only meets which doesn’t immediately forgo the incorporation of other lifts in his training.

It’s clear the OP isn’t ultimately decided on this and is merely seeking guidance (not in the sense of being pulled in multiple directions, but in the sense of receiving feedback with respect to his questions [not statements] and making judgements based on what he figures out). Everyone just needs to calm down a bit and address the matter in a level specific manner.

Even if he decides to commit to this venture, there is no guarantee that this will be a lifelong commitment for the OP. He can change his mind whenever.

Some thoughts.

  • become a technique nazi
  • What is your goal in terms of weight class? Choice determines part of the training - more or less hypertrophy work.
  • If you don’t mind getting bigger/heavier you need to hammer the upper back, front delts, arms; use BB methods to make them bigger
  • Benching seems to respond very well to high-frequency (lowish volume) training - 3x-4x per week
  • do lower body work LAST during sessions
  • I don’t have personal experience with bench shirts but they appear to change the dynamics of bench training compared to raw training: finding the right shirt for YOU; learning the groove of the shirt; training more the lock-out portion etc.; multiply shirts seem to demand much more attention in this regard than singly ply shirts
  • not sure whether jumping right into shirted benching is optimal because it seems to take a lot of time and energy to learn the shirt that cuts into the raw bench work

Good luck.