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Unsure Why Bench is So Weak

I have been “working out” for “2.5 years.” More like off and on and just seriously started around 2ish months ago.

Some stats:

6’1" 190 lbs, 35% body fat, 38" waist :frowning:

I am running the 3x5 version of 5x5 because I literally could not progress on 5x5 and I have stalled on 150lbs bench lol :frowning: :frowning: :frowning: :cry:

Today I went in and did 150x5 1st set then 150x3 2nd set then 150x2 3rd set all to failure with 5 minutes in between each set as the program describes.

I am unsure how to feel or what to do. I am running a proven program’s 3x5 version and eating 2 chicken breasts with other protein bars, shakes (around 200g protein per day)

What’s worse is the fact that it gets depressing to see yourself being 190lbs struggling to put up 150 for 5… :crying_cat_face:

Any advice/tips as to what I can do? Judging from my bicep insertions I probably don’t have the best genetics (I’m Indian), but 225 is naturally attainable for everyone isn’t it?

Thanks and I look forward to your response!

Technique probably. Might be training related also. While it seems you won’t be setting any world records in future you should still be able to progress for many years.

Turn this into a formcheck thread by posting a few videos of you benching from different angles. A couple of sets of 150 should do the trick.

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That’s a pretty good reason why your bench hasn’t improved much. I also agree with khangles that your form might be preventing improvement. Lastly, as someone who has followed a 3x5 linear progression program, you need to eat A LOT to avoid stalling out, but you will still stall out rather quickly. I’m glad I did the program because my numbers went up a ton for a few months, but I wish I hadn’t stayed on it as long as I had because I was just grinding into a wall.

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You’re running a proven program…


But 3x5…

But 3x 5 reps, 3 reps and 2 reps?

Sounds like your problem is chasing weight on the bar for a few months instead of getting quality, consistent work in for years.


What would you say the solution is in this case?

Every time I try 5x5 I add 5 lbs for one week and then stall for 3-4 weeks.

So I tried 3 sets of 5 reps instead. I was able to progress until now, where I have stalled on 150 lbs lol. I am around 190 lbs, and 35ish% body fat I’d guess. I dont think I should be bulking so I am trying to do some form of recomp instead.

Yeah I am definitely not going to be setting any world records lol.

I am just trying to get in shape, and increase muscle mass, I don’t care as much about powerlifting/strength but as a natural I suppose its important to get stronger for size.

Ok, I’ll try recording a video next time I go to the gym.


I think the problem is that no man who has ever used crying cat emojis has ever put up more than 150lb, and now you fit this category. Also, I would never, ever, mention or think about bicep insertion points again.

It takes time and consistency to get this lift to move, and there’s a lot more technique than you’d think. The article “Bench Press - How To Set Up” on Jim Wendler’s site helped me a lot to get the lift to feel more like a full body movement, which really got things moving for me:

(Edit: ok, apparently external links are not ok, but Google “Jim Wendler Bench Setup” and it will come up)

For programming… I don’t really have much experience with anything other than 5/3/1 but if the 5x5 you’re doing is that stronglifts crap I’d at least feel comfortable saying you’d be better off with pretty much any 5/3/1 variation.


Without sounding too harsh, the description of your training history sounds terrible. You have not been training with any type of consistency for even remotely long enough.

The description of your diet sounds terrible, around 140g of your protein is coming from bars and powder. Eat some real food, I can only assume the rest of your diet is way off the mark.

From the description of your physique you are carrying a lot of fat but yet your pretty light for your height, that means very little muscle mass. How can you expect to move decent weight? The inconsistent training and poor sounding diet is responsible for this.

I don’t think worrying about your bench press at the minute is productive, take a look at your diet and get your arse and keep your arse in the gym.

Lower your weights and get your prescribed reps, do that week in week out for the next 2 years whilst slowly increasing weight on the bar. If a programme says 5x5 you pick a weight that you can do, not one you want to be able to do but fail at.

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As above dont go to failure, keep one rep in the tank.
Also could switch to madcow or Bill Starr 5x5, start off very light

what is your full routine? are you just benching? how often are you training?

So youre fucking up a program that is notorious for producing poor bench results.

Unsure what the mystery here is.

  • Get ALL your volume in
  • Do a more rounded program
  • Do it for longer than 2 months
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lol. That is all I have to say on this.

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