I just want a higher bench!

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username823573
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Training seriously for about a year and I train for strength (also interested in some powerlifting) and I'd like to compete in some meets if I find any going on. Title of the blog just reflects the fact that (I think) my bench press is comparatively weak and ideally I want it to increase more in line with my squat and deadlift.

Starting stats as of 14/04/2014:

Age: 19
Height: 5ft 11"
Weight: 75 kg

Bench 1RM: 75 kg
Squat 1RM: 120 kg
Deadlift 1RM: 170 kg

Current as of 10/06/2015:

Weight: 82 kg

Bench: 85 kg / 80 kg (PAUSED)
Squat: 160 kg / 150 kg (4RM) / 145 kg (5RM) / 130 kg (10RM)
Deadlift: 200 kg / 190 kg (3RM) / 180 kg (5RM)
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username823573
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Chest today, decent workout - got a lot done.

Bench: 55 kg (4*8) - pretty comfortable. Much easier than 60 kg on 5*5
Incline dumbbells: 20/22/24 kg (3*8) - haven't done this in months. First 2 sets were okay but really struggled on last one
Pec deck: 45 kg (3*8) - easy
Chest press machine: 40 kg (3*8) - not the plate loading one, but the one with the stack. Supersetted it with pec deck. Wasn't bad
Dumbbell seated shoulder press: 20 kg (3*8) - haven't done these in ages. Was doing 20s before. When I came back to do these they were much easier on the same weight which is a good sign

Reverse grip pulldown: 46 kg (3*10) - easy
Dips: bodyweight (3*10) - never done dips properly before - when I did I failed after 2 reps or I just couldn't get form right. This was comfortable, if a bit of a grind on the last reps
Pushdowns: 35/50/60 kg (3*12) - this was on the assisted dip machine - stood on the floor and pushed the platform down. This was easy
Rope pushdowns: 46/32/21 kg (3*8). Did triple dropset on these, 3 times over. Good finisher, killed tris at the end
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username823573
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Back day. Started doing 3*3 on deadlifts now as opposed to 3*5.

Deadlift: 150 kg (3*3/3/5) - last set was easy so I went for more reps. I easily could've got 8 reps out of that last set which would've been a new PB
Seated row: 54 kg (4*8) - gym's now got a proper seated row machine. Felt it a lot in my lats, slow reps
Lat pulldown: 55 kg (3*8)
Low row hammer machine: 35 kg per side (3*8)

EZ bar preacher curl: 10 kg each side dropset with 5 kg on each side (3*8/8) - this killed me
Hammer curls: 16 kg dumbbells (3*8) - mad pump!

Workout was pretty good, especially deadlifts. I've never done it for triples before - only ever for 5 reps. Usually I do 3*5 and for the last 6 weeks I was doing 130/135/140 kg which was quite comfortable. Decided to switch to triple to pull more weight so I did straight sets of 150 kg which was sick. Definitely notice a big improvement in strength and I'm more confident hitting 180 kg for my max in a few weeks.
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King Leonidas
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In.
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username823573
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(Original post by King Leonidas)
In.
Thanks
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Nvmthename
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Nice man, if youre bench is slacking alternate your work out to atleast keep it interesting, switch between intensity, volume, decline and flat.

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username823573
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(Original post by Nvmthename)
Nice man, if youre bench is slacking alternate your work out to atleast keep it interesting, switch between intensity, volume, decline and flat.

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Cheers! Yeah def... I think I need to start doing OHP again. Hopefully doing 4*8 on bench for a bit will be beneficial as opposed to 5*5
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username823573
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Hit legs and shoulders today. I did:

Squat: 130 kg 1RM. Tested max properly for the first time - the last time I did it was really to gauge my overall strength. I'm happy I hit 130 kg on here. It wasn't too bad - didn't need a spot and I went parallel if not slightly below. I built it up slowly doing 60*5, 80*5, 90*3, 100*3, 110*2 and then did 130 kg which I'm pleased with
Pause squats: 80 kg (3*5). Held it for 1-2 seconds at the bottom. Felt these a lot in my legs compared to normal ones, especially in glutes and hams. These were quite easy. Gonna do 85-90 kg next time
Seated calf raises: 60 kg (4*12). Because calves.

Strict press: 35 kg (3*5). Haven't done these in approx. 6 months so I thought I'd be weak. Granted it isn't that much but generally by upper body in terms of bench press/shoulders is weaker compared to back/lower body. These were easy, though. Definitely gonna increase weight next time.
Lateral raises: 10 kg (3*8)
Face pulls: 36 kg (4*8). Good, easy. I felt them a lot in rear delts
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Legs again & arms today.

Squat: 95 kg (3*8). These were okay - got all my reps fine
Good morning: 40 kg (3*8). I just go light on these because I do them straight after squats. Having done them for a few months, I've noticed a big difference in my hamstrings

Close grip bench press: 50 kg (3*8)
Dips: Bodyweight (3*10). So this is the first time I've properly done dips i.e. on a dip station. On YouTube, it shows people going down to the point that their upper arm is parallel to the floor but I couldn't do this because it didn't feel comfortable on my shoulder. I went as far down as I could so as not to feel it on my shoulder which I think was about 50% of the way down compared to depth I've seen on YouTube videos (I don't know if this is a major issue or not). Anyway I felt them in my tris a lot and I was happy with them given that a few months ago I was hopeless at them. Other than that I felt my form was decent, if a bit wobbly at times
Kickback: 12 kg (3*8). Did these on each arm. I like doing these - feel it a lot in my tris, especially in the long head

Dumbbell curls: 16 kg/10 kg (3*8). Did these alternating and dropsetted with the 10s. I've never been motivated to do dropsets on my own so I tried it today and they destroyed my arms. Never felt it so much in my arms ever before. Got an amazing pump though. Got all my reps eve n if I did resort to swaying on the last few
Pulley curls: 36 kg (3*10). Went lighter on here than usual seeing as I just did dropsets before. This is like the hammer curls except on the cable machine

I liked this arm routine. The pump was crazy :eek:
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username823573
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Chest!

Bench: 60 kg (5*5). This was pretty easy but I'm not sure if I'll end up plateauing on this weight or not. I usually do on bench
Incline dumbbells: 16 kg (22/17/11). Ok so my friend found this workout where you pick a weight and over 3 sets, try and get 50 reps. This killed my shoulders. They were so sore
Dumbbell seated shoulder press: 22 kg (3*8). Bit of a grind having just done the incline above. If my shoulders weren't so tired I would've got the reps much easier.
Pec flyes: 20 kg (3*8). These were on the machine. Only went light on these
Chest press machine: 40 kg (3*8) - not the plate loading one, but the one with the stack. Supersetted with pec deck.

Dip pushdowns: 60/70/70 kg (3*10). On the assisted dip machine except I pushed the platform down. This was tough but felt good
Reverse pulldowns: 46 kg (3*8)
Rope pushdowns: 46/32/21 kg (3*8). Did triple dropset on these. Was gonna do 3 sets but only did 1 because I really cbf ha
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Scoobiedoobiedo
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How do you bench press? Touch and go or paused?

Have you tried incline barbell benching with a pause? Definitely helped my chest grow/increase my bench.
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username823573
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(Original post by Scoobiedoobiedo)
How do you bench press? Touch and go or paused?

Have you tried incline barbell benching with a pause? Definitely helped my chest grow/increase my bench.
It's touch and go but try to make sure I don't bounce it... if that makes sense. That's when I do 5x5 anyway. When I do higher reps I tend not to touch and go.

I've never been a big fan of incline bench - I prefer either barbells or the hammer machine but I might try it when I'm back at uni. Did it make a big improvement in transferring strength to flat bench?
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Scoobiedoobiedo
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(Original post by Pavzky)
It's touch and go but try to make sure I don't bounce it... if that makes sense. That's when I do 5x5 anyway. When I do higher reps I tend not to touch and go.

I've never been a big fan of incline bench - I prefer either barbells or the hammer machine but I might try it when I'm back at uni. Did it make a big improvement in transferring strength to flat bench?
I don't think it has made too much of a direct improvement to my flat bench strength, flat benching has done that, although obviously if you put 10-20kg on your incline 3X5 / 5X5, your flat 3X5 / 5X5 is going to improve too. Having said that it has improved my chest size, which ultimately leads to being able to shift more weight. Bigger chest = bigger bench.

I would recommend trying out some inclining at a shallow(ish) angle, and see how it works for you. To give you an idea, my chest workout at the minute looks something like this:

Flat barbell 3 X 5
Incline barbell 3 X 5
Incline barbell 3 X 8
Decline barbell 3 X 8
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username823573
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(Original post by Scoobiedoobiedo)
I don't think it has made too much of a direct improvement to my flat bench strength, flat benching has done that, although obviously if you put 10-20kg on your incline 3X5 / 5X5, your flat 3X5 / 5X5 is going to improve too. Having said that it has improved my chest size, which ultimately leads to being able to shift more weight. Bigger chest = bigger bench.

I would recommend trying out some inclining at a shallow(ish) angle, and see how it works for you. To give you an idea, my chest workout at the minute looks something like this:

Flat barbell 3 X 5
Incline barbell 3 X 5
Incline barbell 3 X 8
Decline barbell 3 X 8
Hmm, interesting. I do want to build upper chest so I think inevitably I'll have to focus on incline a bit more whether it's dumbbells/bar/hammer or whatever. Might give it a go, cheers for the advice
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username823573
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Back day today. I was pretty tired so I wasn't looking forwards to deadlifts.

Deadlift: 150 kg (3*3/3/5) - this was such a grind. Even on my warm up sets it felt much harder but I'm pretty happy I got the same reps as last time and it was much easier last week. This killed me but it was on the back of 2 days of heavy-ish squats and loads of volume on chest and shoulders yesterday.
Chin ups: bodyweight (25/15/10) - tried to 50 reps over the course of 3 reps. Only did half reps but definitely felt it still
Seated row: 45/50/54 kg (3*8)
Seated row machine: 35 kg per side (3*8)
Shrugs: 20 kg plate/side (3*15)

Preacher curl: 30 kg just with straight bar
21s: 15 kg bar (3 sets) - never done these before and I loved them. Got a sick pump. Only did 15 kg because it was the first time
1 - 10 curl: 15 kg (1 set) - here, my mate and I took this in turns with no rest. He does 1 rep, I do 1 rep, he does 2 reps, I do 2 reps straight after and it went like that all the way until 10 reps. This was so sick - I liked it and, again, the pump was crazy. Wasn't as hard as I thought but that just means I'll bump up the weight next time
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username369234
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If you want big numbers on the bench you'll need to work the accessory muscles hard too. Very strong triceps, lats and shoulder work. Make sure your form is bang on.
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username823573
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(Original post by commandant)
If you want big numbers on the bench you'll need to work the accessory muscles hard too. Very strong triceps, lats and shoulder work. Make sure your form is bang on.
Yeah, agreed. I've started doing OHP again now so hopefully that'll transfer over to my bench press. On its own, the bench numbers don't bother me - it's just that my bench is pretty weak compared to my other lifts and so many people I know have a higher bench than me but lower squat and deadlift which sorta bothers me lol.
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username369234
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Bench strength will come with time :-)
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username823573
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Thought I had a sick workout today. Didn't get much done in terms of no. of different exercises but it was taxing and I set a few PBs.

Squat: 110*3/115*3/120 kg *5 - decided to bump up weight and go for lower reps. First 2 sets were much easier than I anticipated. 3rd one was harder but I managed to push 5 reps out which I'm pretty happy with and it's a 5 rep PB.
Pause squats: 80 kg (3*5). The more I do these, the more I like them
Strict press: 35*5/37.5*5/40 kg *8. The second time I've properly done these in approx. 6 months and set another PB. Again happy with this - maintained strict form throughout all my reps and didn't bounce/push. Much easier than I thought on the last set
Hyperextentions: 45 kg (3*5). First time I've ever done these. Felt this a lot down the back of my legs. Gonna stick to these now when I've done squats
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silent ninja
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(Original post by Scoobiedoobiedo)
How do you bench press? Touch and go or paused?

Have you tried incline barbell benching with a pause? Definitely helped my chest grow/increase my bench.
Flyes have added nice size and shape for me, and I use only 12.5kg dumbbells lol
incline carries over nicely to shoulder pressing, but doesn't carry to flat for me. In fact, my shoulders have barely improved from shoulder exercises. Incline seems to be the most effective strength exercise for shoulders

Nice squats. What's your depth like

Sent from my HTC One
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