When the Program's Finished?

Hello everyone,

I have just completed a bench press program and was quite happy with the results, and I’m interested to find out what other people do following the completion of a program.

Should I take a week/s off completely? Or do light training? Or jump straight into a another program?

My joints feel quite good still, even though the program called for the use of heavy negatives, and heavy benching twice a week. I feel that I could jump straight into another program - maybe a hypertrophy program to consolidate some of the strength gains made.

I took my bench from 100kg to 120kg, BW = 83kg, 5’9", 27yrs old (if anyone cares haha).


Just wanted to add that for squats and deadlifts, the bench program I did called for fairly low volume (to save recuperative abilities for bench gains most likely) so I was more or less maintaining those lifts.

I’ve decided I want to get my DL moving up and up again, it’s been a while since I’ve pulled 4 plates.

How long should I be waiting before I plunge headlong into another strength program?

You may want to have one back-off week of low volume and slightly lower (90% or so) intensity for your upper body. You can start with the lower body strength work immediately.

The biggest thing is knowing your long term goals (which are?) and ensuring that your training is moving you towards them.

Hi Steel Nation, thanks for your reply.

At this stage, my goals are to get stronger in the powerlifts, and maybe one day compete. I live in Australia, so PL is not a big sport over here. But I have always been impressed more by someone who can move a lot of weight (with good form of course).

Around 2003 to mid 2005 I was doing Westside style training at a commercial gym, and managed to get a 137.5kg bench, 165kg squat and 190kg deadlift, done at a bodyweight of around 95kg before some nagging shoulder and lower back injuries set in. Looking back, I’m pretty sure the injuries were a result of:

a) lack of stretching (I did virtually none)

b) lack of deloading (maxing out every week unless I was too injured to do so)

c) not properly understanding my weaknesses (eg too much tricep work for bench when I was a raw lifter and should have been working on my pecs and shoulders more since my sticking pt was a few inches off my chest).

I got frustrated with those injuries and took some time off from lifting and came back to the gym months later a lot weaker and not as driven to making stregth gains. I basically farted around doing various supersets just looking to stay in shape.

Fast forward to today and now I lift at home, having recently bought some equipment (powercage, oly bar + plates, adjustable dumbells - real old school) after being through commercial gyms for ages. The one I was at only had 1 squat rack and 1 flat bench, so I got fed up with it. Training at home is so much better. I feel I have my drive to get strong back again, I’ve cleaned up my diet and I now stretch religiously and do a lot of prehab work to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again. Injuries suck. I’m really pleased I gained 20kg (maybe a little muscle memory was involved) in the 7wks I was doing the bench program. When I started it, I had just returned after a 1 month o/s holiday and I tested out at 100kg for the bench.

So today, I’m a little wiser about how I train and more conscious of preventing injuries before they happen.

The backoff week sounds like a good idea. I think I’ll do 1 week of light sessions, followed by 2 weeks of slightly more intensity, then I’ll start my next program for the deadlift.

My shoulders used to be a mess. Now, I do the YTWL and stability ball pushup plus before every upper body training session. Nothing crazy, just one set of 12-15 for each. It’s just enough to warm my shoulders up for training. They have felt a lot better since I started doing that.

Warmups are essential to staying in the game for me, even though a lot of people ignore them.

Agree 100% on the warmup for the shoulders. Before I do a heavy bench session these days, I grab a 5kg plate or DB and crank out 3 sets of 15 for external rotations.

I’ve also really concentrated on trying to bring up my 1 arm DB rows, my back was weak when I was benching 135kg - I could only handle the 32.5kg for about 10reps. Today, I can do 50kg, and along with lots of facepulls and ext rotations, my shoulder problems have gone (touch wood). My posture has also improved greatly as a result.

I also bench with a wider bench grip now…I used to bench quite narrow, like index about 2 to 2.5 inches from the smooth part and still had shoulder problems. Today, I have pinky on the rings (I have fairly short arms so this feels quite wide for me).

[quote]dan81 wrote:
At this stage, my goals are to get stronger in the powerlifts, and maybe one day compete. I live in Australia, so PL is not a big sport over here. [/quote]

what part of australia are you from? your right its sad about PL not being big over here ahh welll just saying gday