T Nation

Worst of T NATION: Bench


I'm nominating myself for the award, I believe I'm yet to see anyone claim any less then around 225x6 on these boards? Certainly outside the beginner section.

I've gone from 133 starting weight to about 192 since I started training. The rest of my lifts are within reasonable range in comparison. I will say this may be a large part down to avoiding direct arm work for more then half of my training career. Anyhow, am I the only serious (training 5+ times a week, eating to gain) trainee with such a truly terrible bench press? I bench 80kgx7 full rom (plate and half), whilst it doesn't make it any more respectable, I like to think I'm doing more work then those "bro benching" every rep of 90kg... It's a fairly average weight at a gym in England full of athletes & bros..


Edit: I'm a noob and take back my statement.


What do you do on days you bench?


That bench would be well above average in 99% of gyms in England. Obviously on here it isn't. I think its due to Americans having it bred into them at school / seeing the NFL combine etc. From what I gather, they're encouraged to weight train for sport at school. I was discouraged because I wouldnt grow blah blah blahhh. All throughout age group levels of rugby I was told to only do press ups and situps, strictly bw exercises. I can't even bench 100x 6, but I will in the next few months. Until the schooling is changed, imo, and we're encouraged to weight train then things won't change much over here. That's just from my experience though.


I'm not saying any numbers but I'm not at all proud of my bench, considering I'm 255lbs and been training for 20 years.


Day 1: Chest & Triceps
-BB Bench- 3x6-8
-Incline bench- 3x8-10
-Bench Flyes- 3x8-10
-CGBP (few inches off chest)- 3x6-8 [actually dropping these, no chance after chest work]
-Close-grip EZ tri ext.- (bar doesn't come past eye level) - 3x8-10
-Tricep rope extensions- 3x8-10

Day 4: Shoulders & Triceps
-Standing military press- 3x6-8
-Seated DB shoulder press- 3x8-10
-Standing lateral raise- 3x10-12
-Weighted dips- 3x6-8
-Close-grip EZ tri ext. - 3x8-10
-Tricep rope extensions- 3x8-10

Highly tempted to stick to no more then 8 reps, or at least no more then 10, on all exercises, but then, for isolation exercises especially, strength should increase on these rep ranges fine I assume.. my last bench session I did: warm up 1-3 reps ramping up, 70kgx8, 75kgx8, 80kgx7.

@rugggby: I pretty much agree with your here, we are definitely not a country that's bred for sports, certainly not anything other then football (soccer) was pushed on me AT ALL... I do think we, as a country, have come leaps and bounds in strength training because of the amount of rugby players training seriously.. it is sort of like the NFL, but scaled down and definitely no 'Defranco/Cressey style training centers' hence why rugby players from England went to train with Joe in his film "strong". Unsurprisingly they struggled like hell before they were up to standard. This might be worth a thread in itself though for discussion in the differences in sporting ways outside America. You look bigger then me though, so it's reassuring to know it's not some sort of requirement to pass 200lbs that you bench shitloads..

@Nards: Seems that a 300lb bench probably isn't just a given here after-all..


Best bench with shit form - 92.5kg x 3
Best bench with good form - 90kg x 3 (6 weeks ago, hoping to beat it next week, assuming I beat the flu first....)
Current max training weight - 82.5kg x 3

When I started training I think I was doing 20kg + light bar (partly counterweighed) in the smith....

As pathetic as my bench is I'm just happy it's moving up slowly but steadily now. I'm hoping to pass 100kg x3 soon and then on to 120kg and beyond.

I agree about low strength levels in a lot of English gyms. I can't comment specifically on the bench, since I usually do it in the squat rack (no power rack here and I don't like the "bench press" bench they have), but I think I've only seen two or three other people squatting in the couple of months I've been going to this gym. Weights were not impressive and no one got anywhere near parallel.


@rugggby: I've been looking into convincing my university to set up a small weightroom in the building for the people interested in some serious training for sports or just their own benefit, since the current uni "gym" pretty much sucks. Obviously, I need to find a group of people interested in it before I take it higher up. So I talked to one of the guys from the uni rugby team and (in his own word) they wouldn't be interested because they are a bunch of lazy fucks who are only interested in drinking...


@jake Im about 197 lbs mate, been training for a year and benching for about 6 months. I dunno how long youve been at it, but what is really helping me atm, is 5x5. The weight is gradually increasing by 2 kgs each week. I used to do my own thing, loads of sets, drop sets, 1 reps... and i was going nowhere fast.

On your rugby comment. From my experience playing at regional level, they only take the weights seriously once you're 18 . And even then, its not essential in rugby. They have strength targets you 'had to reach' but it wasnt nessecary if you had the skill and technique and size. Size was the most important thing. If you looked big you would get further than most who were smaller but alot stronger.

BIP@ Uni rugby culture has a lot to do with drinking mate. I never went, but my friends from old clubs go, some to top rugby unis (loughborough), and it is alot about bonding and the social side. But they take the weights beyond seriously, loughborough is one of the best gyms in the country. I think it depends on your uni and what level theyre playing at. Obv top tier of rugby unis are gonna have fantastic gyms.


@rugggby: My uni is not really known for rugby, so that probably explains it :slightly_smiling:


And I think the general idea of rugby players at uni (in England) is that they're a bunch of drunken idiots trying to get laid and generally thinking they're the shit. Speaking very generally of course.

I haven't trained my bench in a long time, but I found that when I did, regular bench training stopped helping. I became frustrated, stopped focusing on it, and after a couple of weeks focused on training the deadlift, I hit a big PR, gave it everything (only 400, but a LOT for me) - a short while after that lift, I walked over to the bench, asked someone to spot me and hit 176 (a PR by about 20 pounds) without problems.

My point is that the bench-press is a good gauge of overall strength. Look at pro-olympic lifters, they never train the bench but when they give it a try, they always hit about the same weight as they regularly hit in the clean and jerk. There are a few vids of pro-oly lifters benching 225 kg with ease. The important point here is that it doesn't work the other way round. A powerlifter could never clean and jerk what he is regularly able to bench.

My point is, training the bench (in the most direct ways) might be what's now holding you back in improving your bench.


[quote]yarni wrote:
Look at pro-olympic lifters, they never train the bench but when they give it a try, they always hit about the same weight as they regularly hit in the clean and jerk. There are a few vids of pro-oly lifters benching 225 kg with ease. The important point here is that it doesn't work the other way round. A powerlifter could never clean and jerk what he is regularly able to bench.

I'm not convinced that's strictly true. I've it on fairly good information that someone with a 200kg CJ may find challenge in a 300+ pound bench.


try increasing your overhead press numbers and do power tricep pushdowns (saw MMeat doing these). it helped my bench a lot.


I'll add this: I stopped doing direct arm training a couple years ago and my max bench has gone from 235 to 340. Unless you're failing at lockout I doubt direct arm training would make a ton of difference.


OP: How long have you been training?


I'll agree with the benching standard in English gyms being pretty poor. Only two or three guys can press over 100kg at my gym.

As for myself I've just hit 100kg (220). When I started I couldn't bench the bar - i have a massive wingspan. The thing that helped me most was DIRECT ARM WORK. Decline close grip bench press focusing on keeping the weight entirely on my triceps, and pushdowns. Also Dumbell shoulder press with the bells paused on my shoulders has been effective. Hopefully I'm going to hit 275 before the end of the year


If you got a big chest who cares? I've stopped benching and my chest development is far better for it, too many times people that bodybuild get caught up in numbers when they mean very little.


Statements like this are pointless from posters without public progress to be honest.

While you may be a jacked up motherfucker, we don't know if you are or not...

So saying how well something worked for you is pointless, because your perspective of "chest development is far better" may be much different than mine or others.

I'm not calling you out, and if you don't want ot post pics, fine. Just making an observation.


Got 225X10 on Wednesday. Sadly, didn't catch on video as it was a beautiful set.


195 so far has been my best