T Nation

What to do on Bad Workout Days?


Today I had a horrible bench press session. In the previous workout, I benched 187 for 3 cluster reps from the bottom (chest touching bar) position. Today, I managed to get only 1 rep with 187.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNbgvkOOUqw
Should I deload? Or add in more sets/exercises for volume progression? What do you do when you have a bad session due to stress or inadequate recovery?

P.S. I also felt a lower back strain on my 2nd attempted rep, I kept my butt on the bench, maybe the powerlifting arch isn't that good to lower back afterall..

Here are the workouts:

JULY 26th (3rd workout using this routine)

A) Bench press from the bottom position (cluster set of 3 reps) *11blocks
175x3, 180x3

B) Regular bench press
165x3, 177x3, 185x3, 190x3

C) Speed pushup

D) Back work
BW pullupx9, 70kg row x4, facepull 16kg x9, J down 16kgx16

JULY 29th (4)

A) Bench press from the bottom position (cluster set of 3 reps) *11blocks
185x3, 192 NL, 187x2

A2) Hammer chin up *cluster reps
40x3, 45x3

B) Regular bench press
175x3, 187x2

B2) Regular hammer chins
30x3, 35x3, 40x2.5

C) Close grip BP
135x10, 155x4, 155x5

D) Speed work
135x 2x3, 105x 3x3, chin up bw 5x3

E) Incline flies

August 4th (5) Todays workout was shit, regular weights felt a lot heavier.

A) Bench press from the bottom position (cluster set of 3 reps) *11blocks
177x2, 187x1

B) Regular bench press
155x8, 165x4

C) Speed BP
105 6x3

A2) Hammer chin up *cluster reps
40x3, 45x3, 50x .75/.75/.75

B) Regular sternum chins


Usually when I have a bad session like that, I didn't eat enough carbs that day and the day before. But if you just had a bad day, don't worry too much, we've all had 'em. If it gets to be a habit, take a closer look.


yeah, what Jay said. Take a nap, eat some more and come back again focused on moving forward, and not the past.

You will be fine, everyone has shit days.


Whenever i have a bad workout day or start to , i get angry at myself for being a bitch and start lifting heavier and it becomes a good day :smiley:


You bench three times per week(and multiple pressing exercises per session)?


I'd have bad sessions too if I trained like that.

What the fuck are you doing?


I just did something simlilar, I was doing 190 lbs. for 5x3. Last week I hit failure on the 5th set after 2 reps, this week I hit failure on the 4th set after 2 reps.

When going heavy with low reps, sometimes you just mis-fire. I chalk it up to CNS mis-fire or just a simple balance issue, sometimes you just don't grip the bar right and it doesn't work.

I was cussing the rest of the work out, all of my other lifts were fine, I'll just have to load it up again next week and try it over.

I refuse to give up.....


Its three sessions over 9 days if you looked at the dates of the workout as noted.


Whats wrong with it?


If this is a specilization routine, there is a lot lacking(and specialization is not for beginners, IMO).

If this is just your normal workout there is no:

leg-work whatsoever
very little back work(with the exception of chins). No posterier chain work.

Another problem there is no incline, decline, dips, military press. IE other exercises to help support and strengthen your flat bench(which seems to be your goal).


Example of my last leg workout:

Snatch grip DL on 4 inch platform
217x1/1/1, 217x1/1/1, 217x1/1/1, 222x1/1/1, 227x1/1/1, 232x1/1/1

Speed Pull
185 6x1

Core work

Glute Ham raise

I added regular benching and dynamic benching to support my flat bench. I considered adding in more dips/inclines, but that would seem like too much of a volume to recover. I think I should add in more supportive exercises.

Would westside be a good workout to follow or would that be too advanced? Accordin to the erx net I am an intermediate.

I bench 200, deadlift 315, squatted 225x4 @160pounds. Now that my current gym doesnt have a squat rack, Ive been focusing on benching and deadlifting. I bench once and deadlift once every 5 days and I switch routines after following it for six times.


You are a beginner, and are probably trying to do things way more advanced than you need to, and (not surprisingly) it isn't working for you.

Why don't you just train normally dude?


What would you recommend? I was thinking of possibly doing 5/3/1


You aren't strong enough in my opinion for 5/3/1. get that squat up to 300+ and the pull up to 400+ and then think about it. I considered myself the bare minimum of strength to get stronger on that program. You should be ramping weights into 1-2 work sets, plan your program correctly, bust ass, eat, and progress each workout. That is all.


What are you opinion on west side for skinny bastards? I'm thinking of giving that program a good run.


You don't need "cluster reps", or blocks, and you definitely don't need any kind of speed bench training.

If I were going to recommend a routine to you it would probably be a Legs/Push/Pull routine, 2-3 exercises per muscle group, ramp up to 1-2 work sets, and don't go below 5 reps. And no weird exercises either, just the traditional ones.