T Nation

What Is A Good Rate Of Progress For An Intermediate?

Started messing around with a brosplit from September 2012 to March 2015 then I got on a proper upper lower split dialled in my nutrition and then transitioned to a PPL routine in September 2015.

So you could say I have been lifting very seriously since March 2015.

I can’t seem to reach a 225 bench to save my life. Ill end up adding a rep then losing it later in the week. The goal is hypertrophy but I know I will get a lot bigger once I am knocking out 225 for reps.

My progress over the last two weeks has been:

Workout 1 (Weights In KG, all sets one rep shy of failure)

Workout 2
97.5X0 (Accidentally put wrong plates on the bar and the bar collapsed on top of me after getting 1/3 of the lift)

Workout 3

Workout 4

Weight: 184lb
BF%: See Avi
Height: 6 2’



DAY 1: Push 3x4-6 (Compounds)/10-12(Isolations)
Bench Press
Incline DB Press

Shoulder DB Press
Lateral Raise

Rope Pushdown
Tricep Extension

DAY 2: Pull 3x4-6/6-8
Pull Up
Barbell Row

Rear Delt Raise

Hammer Curl

DAY 3: LEGS 8-12/12-20
Leg Press
Leg Extension
Leg Curl
Calf Raise

If you want to get your bench up, I would suggest pulling up Dave Tate’s 6 week BP cure on this site and follow the program. It is a PL program and you will have to learn to bench like a PLer for a few weeks but it will carry over when you go back to benching like a BBer.

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Day 3…

Not sure what to say about that one.

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I am but I don’t want to be too mean yet.

OP, just a couple of things about your bench.

  1. You want to go from 85 kg for reps to 100 kg for reps. That’s big jump. How about 90 kg for reps? Even that is a sizeable jump. Be realistic.

  2. At your height and weight, adding kilos to your bench won’t be easy. You’re currently repping very close to your bodyweight, which isn’t bad. You want to rep close to 1.25 times your bodyweight. See above. Be realistic. In particular, you say you know you’ll get bigger when you’re knocking out 225 for reps. I’m pretty sure you’ve got it the wrong way round: to knock out 225 for reps you’re going to need to get bigger. Even going to 190 would probably help a lot.

  3. You do very little rowing. As a guy who used to have a shitty bench and managed to improve it to merely sucky and is working to make it average, you cannot underestimate how important a big, strong upper and middle back is to benching. For every set of presses you do, a set of rows must be done.

  4. Start squatting. Front, back, high bar, low bar, box, goblet, landmine, I don’t care and it doesn’t matter. Just do some squats.

I have hit 90kg4 on the bench and my left elbow was sore for 2 weeks after. This was about a month ago.

As far as rowing motions go I’m pretty strong at them.

Weighted pull up is 41.25kgx4
Barbell Row is 100kgx5

You want to add size, but you haven’t really talked about your diet plan to gain weight. Your macro’s look fine, but is it putting you into a surplus? If you don’t gain any weight to go along with benching 225 for reps you’re not going to have built muscle. You’ll be stronger, yes, but your goal is hypertrophy, right? Gain weight.

And 3x5 is not any good for hypertrophy. I currently do a higher volume 5/3/1 which gets me ~40 work reps just for the main exercise, followed by 5x10 of a complimenting exercise. For example, bench press followed by wide grip incline bench.

I’d also forget about the Dave Tate Bench Press cure.

1.) You can’t even bench 225 once. You don’t need a specialization routine.
2.) Following a powerlifting program when your goal is hypertrophy is a dumb idea. (Sorry, OldOgre)

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That’s all well and good, but to give you an idea of how the two relate when I was doing 225x5, I was comfortably rowing 225x10.

Get bigger, row more. Your bench will go up.

Thanks for the detailed reply.

I maintain my weight at around 3300, diet on 2500-2700 and bulk at 3400-3500 since staying lean is a major goal of mine. I don’t want to have to do some 16 week cut when I could be slowly gaining.

Adding weight to my barbell row is becoming pretty difficult too, I hit 102.5 for 3 before but the form was sub par which led be dropping it down to 95 again.

Should I try reverse pyramid to get more reps in on the main exercise ?

I would start maybe at 87.5x4 82.5x7 77.5x9

Try hit 3-5 in the first set 6-8 in the second and 8-10 in the third. I will add weight when I hit the top part of the range in the set. So if I got 87.5x5 82.5x6 77.5x10 I would add weight only on the first and last set.

I hear about guys hitting 225 for reps on bench after a couple of months or within a year of training while my bench trails behind my other lifts. :sob:

If you want to get stronger you have to train to get stronger VIA 1-3 reps. And you don’t need to get bigger.

Here’s a good article on rep schemes for pure strength

Gain some weight if you want your bench to go up. I’d also suggest adding some size to your arms mainly in the triceps area. People don’t realize how much of a full body press the bench is.

This is dependant on individual leverages and overall technique. Your main goal is size so constant progression in weight lifted is more important than the actual number itself. Does this make sense?

Yeah. Everyone is different. I’d say a 225 bench is going to take 6-18 months for most. There will be outliers. There’s a lot of variables that determine how long it takes; weight gain is a big one. Stop worrying about it. 6-18 months isn’t long.

But… you need to really think about this: do you want to bench 225, or have a bigger chest/shoulder/triceps? You could get the latter without ever even doing flat barbell bench press.

Whether your goal is hypertrophy or strength, doing 3x5 every time you bench is a terrible way to achieve it.

My recommendation:

Buy the Beyond 5/3/1 book. Do a main chest pressing exercise twice a week, following the 5/3/1 template with AMRAP pyramid sets. First day, bench press. Second day, incline bench press. Pick a 5x10 pressing exercise as accessory, but do close grip bench on one of the days. You can do shoulder press as accessory, but don’t do it as a main exercise; you’re replacing it with incline bench.

Don’t rest less than 2 minutes on your work sets unless you have to (tight time constraint). You’ll be able to use more weight/do more reps that way.

Eat enough to gain 1lb ever 1-2 weeks. Get to 200lbs in ~20 weeks. This is important.

Be consistent. Don’t under eat. Don’t miss gym days.

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You’ve gotten some good advice so far.

What was your bodyweight in May of last year? What about 6 months ago?

6 months ago I was about 78-79kg, now Im 83.5, I look leaner and bigger now so I’m led to believe most of the gain was lbm.

16lb in 20 weeks will surely lead to a gain in several bf% which does not contribute to my goals. In 20 weeks I would attempt to gain 10lb.

How about a compromise: 12.5lbs? Heh. 10lbs would be fine. But just keep in mind that is your goal: hypertrophy. You’re not going to build muscle if the scale isn’t going up, so it’s important to track and make sure you’re progressing.

In my opinion 5/3/1 is not a good program for “pure” strength. The main reason its popular is because who wrote it and the fact that he has you start so light it seems like its working. 5/3/1 is a middle of the road program that will get you strong slowly with added muscle, which in reality is what most people want. But its NOT a good “pure” strength training program.

Rumour has it that the original “5/31 ebook” was supposed to be the powerlifting 3/5/1 ebook but they felt the 5/3/1 would sell more books. 3/5/1 is a lot better for strength.

Edit: I did just a little research the “joker sets” mentioned in the beyond 5/3/1 is bit of a game changer for me. That program sounds a lot better then the original 5/3/1. Never heard of the term “joker sets” though. :slight_smile:

Are you defining “pure strength” as absolute strength? I’d agree in some ways with you if you are, but 351/531 certainly makes you stronger. Last cycle i repped 330 for 8 in Deadlift, this cycle i just hit 340 for 9. I guess i dont really know how much my 1rm is affected as i haven’t tested, but even if i didn’t get stronger, which i think it’s hard to refute that I did, i definitely increased my ability to do work.

Yeah your 1RM. Good work.