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Training for Raw Bench vs Shirted?


New to the Forum

I have a question on Raw Benching vs Shirted. I donâ??t really care for geared benching myself. Most of the benching articles Iâ??ve read are geared more towards using the shirt. I have looked over the "So you think you can Bench" and have used these suggestions as a raw lifter. I have also looked at Westside and Metal Militia. All seem to be more shirt geared training.

Does anyone have a link or suggestions for a raw lifter? I work rack presses (pin press), Boards, bands, Floor presses, Chains, Lots of triceps work and I throw in a great deal of forearm work. I read that some time back that strong forearms help. I do heavy back work and shoulders.

Are these efforts wasted due to this being more of Shirt type training? If so what would you suggest a raw lifter to work on to increase the bench.

Second questionâ?¦..
If I fail 2-6 inches off the chest, would this be a front delt weakness? I feel like I get a good pause and the initial acceleration is there, and then I hit a concrete wall about 2â?? up. If I can make it past that spot my lock out smokes it and I make the lift.

Thank you in advance


A raw lifter will typically need more work off the chest.


For most of my PL career I was mainly a bench specialist. I always squatted and DL'd but not with real focus. For me, I found that to improve my BP, I had to BP. I would vary my assistance work, and I would vary my speed work between full range bench with chains, or full range bench with bands. Lockout stength you get from boards, pins, etc... is important, but if you cannot explode the weight off your chest, it does not matter if you can lock it out or not.

Some of my most consistant gains came when I went through a few cycles in which I used chains on my speed and heavy days. On my heavy day, I would only use about 20lbs, which seems light, but I just wanted the gradual increase in resistance it gave me to help me lockout. On my light day, it was heavy chains and moderate bar weight.

For me, the more movements I added, the less gains I saw. I had to keep it simple. It was more of a blend between PL type training and BB training. I was also under 25 years old at the time... so maybe anything would have worked... My best raw bench was 455 at 165lbs.


I agree with a lot of what you said here. And your bench was pretty good considering that would be a top 3 bench press since 1997 in the 165 weight class according to Powerlifting Watch.


Thanks Frank. I will note though, that the most I was able to put up at a meet raw was 425. I hit the 455 shortly before getting out of the game after a shoulder surgery. I am coming out of "retirement" next month.


Thanks Frank. Ill give that a go. Im not sure what my problem is. I hit the 300 mark and fall all to hell. Ive never hit 315 due to this issue. I think it could be mental but it feels physical


425 bench in a competition at 165 lbs body weight raw is pretty pretty impressive! Share more!!!!


you need to get a vid up of you benching a heavy attempt for me to give you advice. I've found that often times when people fail off their chests it's because of a lack of tightness and using the lats effectively. get a vid and i'll be more than happy to help.


will do


When you press in training do you ever pause the bar on your chest? Paused benching has helped my bench more than anything else.


When I get about 4-6 weeks out from a meet, I will start pausing my first rep of my triples. Also, sometimes I will throw in some cluster sets of pause reps. Kind of a 1 rep every minute on the minute thing. I will try to get through 5-6 of those at or above 90% of my 1rm.



Yes, I have been pausing lately and I actually have notice a difference in my explosive power off the chest. I dropped weight to get it correct and make sure to stay tight. Working on my stance too do to the flexibility it requires. I think my hip flexors are tight as hell but Im working on it.


Thank you all for your suggestions. ill try to get two angles of video up soon.