Bench press max

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    Bench press max


    Hey, I'm 19 years old and weigh right about 150 with 6% bf and I have been training consistently for a year now and I'm progressing in weight in every excersise except for the barbell bench press. I have been stuck at the same max for months! But the weird thing is that I can lift more doing dumbbell bench press and I'm progressing using dumbbells but my max using the barbell is staying the same. I'm just looking for some tips on how to increase my barbell bench press and an answer to why I can lift more on dumbbells but my max on the barbell stays the same.
    Thanks

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    Yes, for the next 3-4 weeks do Incline Bench Press exclusively for chest exercises. Also, for shoulders do seated military presses with the barbell under a squat rack. And finally, make sure you are doing more dead lifts and squats in general.

    Also when you do Incline Bench press, do several variations like normal grip, wide-grip, and Smith machine wide-grip as well. It is probably your shoulders and upper chest that are the problem. Target them for several weeks and continue to lift heavy in deads and squats. You should see gains then. Remember, anything from 3-7 reps would be good for strength gains.
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    What is your chest and shoulder routine like?

    Dumbbell bench isolates the chest. Compared to barbell bench it's more compound.

    Something that may help with this it decline bench it will take alot of the stress of your shoulders.
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    Ok that makes sense because my incline press has always been my weakness chess exercise. And I have just recently started emphasizing my workouts on deads and squats. So I will definitely Try more incline presses.
    My chest wo
    Barbell bench press 3 sets 8 or till failure
    I do every exercise 3 set or till failure
    Db incline press
    Db Incline flys
    Cable cross over
    Chest dips

    Shoulder wo
    Db shoulder press 3 sets 10 reps then 8 or til failure
    Upright row
    Front raise
    Side raise
    Rear raise
    Shrugs
    I alternate the raises with db and cables
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    Oh and my decline is my strongest barbell bench press
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    Quote Originally Posted by amcartxs View Post
    Oh and my decline is my strongest barbell bench press
    alright then i would go with barbell inlcine press and dumbell military press. To strengthen the front delts.
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    So many recommendations on exercises and not one mention of technique. Most people have crap technique on the bench press and think of it in terms of a muscle when it is a movement that should encompass te entire body from the toes to traps.

    Go to YT and look up the "So you think you can bench?" series by EliteFTS.
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    Regarding form - it comes with experience. Sure, u can get some tips and try some suggestions out but usually form gets better with training experience. Form isnt always bad due to lack of knowledge alone but also with mind/muscle communication. I have impeccable form on just about every routine I do but when I jump to a new workout or a workout that I do not perform very often I tend to display significantly less control over the weight. This is not a reflection of my lack of knowledge but rather my mind/muscle transmission of information and muscle strength. This is only curable with time.

    I also had a lagging chest just last year but since have seen amazing results for a number of reasons. For Incline Bench presses I would do two variations which have helped me tremendously:

    -3 sets 6-10 reps (to failure each time) on standard grip Incline Barbell presses and

    - 3 sets 10-12 reps on wide-grip Incline BB. Make sure u go as wide as possible on the grip. It isolates the upper chest very well.

    - I would also train this muscle group twice a week. One day is BB training the other is DB training. Both are needed when ur chest is the lagger.
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    gotta agree if you can bench more with D/B (which is usually slightly lower than B/B) there is something going on with your form more than likely on the bb bench.

    take a look at some of the rippentoe Youtube guides. great stuff, and definitely helped increase my still horid bb bench just by changing up my form a tad.
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    Yeah it may be form, I'll check those out but it makes a lot of sense to do the incline press more to strengthen the upper chest muscles because the incline press is my weakest bench.
    So Im going to emphasize more on incline press but with my schedule I can only hit the gym 4 days a week so I can't really do chest twice a week so should I alternate incline and flat bench every week?
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    yeah that can work, and also sub out bb or db ever few weeks.

    you could (depending on your split) do both incline and flat benches on the same day, and do either every other week or every two weeks bb / db.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    Regarding form - it comes with experience. Sure, u can get some tips and try some suggestions out but usually form gets better with training experience. Form isnt always bad due to lack of knowledge alone but also with mind/muscle communication. I have impeccable form on just about every routine I do but when I jump to a new workout or a workout that I do not perform very often I tend to display significantly less control over the weight. This is not a reflection of my lack of knowledge but rather my mind/muscle transmission of information and muscle strength. This is only curable with time.

    I also had a lagging chest just last year but since have seen amazing results for a number of reasons. For Incline Bench presses I would do two variations which have helped me tremendously:

    -3 sets 6-10 reps (to failure each time) on standard grip Incline Barbell presses and

    - 3 sets 10-12 reps on wide-grip Incline BB. Make sure u go as wide as possible on the grip. It isolates the upper chest very well.

    - I would also train this muscle group twice a week. One day is BB training the other is DB training. Both are needed when ur chest is the lagger.
    The bench press should be treated as a movement and not just trying to work out the pecs. The OP asked about getting his bench up and the number one question should always be how is his technique. At 19, I can make a safe bet that he hasn't been shown how to properly bench (e.g. scapula retracted, tuck the elbows on the descent/flare at the top, bring the bar to lower chest, tight glutes/lower back, etc.). This has nothing to do with muscular strength as the CNS is what determines the actual "strength" of a person and not the muscle.

    Even if his technique is solid, the next question should be where he fails. At the chest? Lockout? Loses the arch/tuck?
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    Ok I like the all dumbell wo or the all barbell wo I'm goin to alternate those...
    But why are my bd bench presses greater than my bb presses? Simply form on bb?
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    Well when I struggle it is right after I touch my chest and on the way back up I get stuck..if I have a spotter barely lift up maybe a inch or two I'm good the rest of the way...if I just do reps half way and not touch my chest then I can do like 8 ( i do not do this, i just tried it one day because i was wondering how many i could do without touching my chest).... so is that form or do I need to strengthen some other muscles to execute the full rep
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    Quote Originally Posted by amcartxs View Post
    Well when I struggle it is right after I touch my chest and on the way back up I get stuck..if I have a spotter barely lift up maybe a inch or two I'm good the rest of the way...if I just do reps half way and not touch my chest then I can do like 8 ( i do not do this, i just tried it one day because i was wondering how many i could do without touching my chest).... so is that form or do I need to strengthen some other muscles to execute the full rep
    It is most likely form and not engaging the lats into the initial 2-3" off of the chest. Where does the bar land? Top of the abs? Around the nipple?
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    Yes at the nipples or even a little above sometimes
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    Any suggestions for when you fail out at the top of lift like the last few inches before you rack?
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    Quote Originally Posted by amcartxs View Post
    Yes at the nipples or even a little above sometimes
    That's way too high. Increases risk of shoulder damage and decreases the strength/leverages.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolanrox View Post
    Any suggestions for when you fail out at the top of lift like the last few inches before you rack?
    Do you keep your elbows tucked and then flare at the lockout?
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    I try to keep them tucked the whole way should I try flaring them out at the top?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolanrox View Post
    I try to keep them tucked the whole way should I try flaring them out at the top?
    Yes, but keep the bar in the same plane. By that, I mean that you shouldn't be bringer the bar closer to your head. Once you master this, things like floor press and 2-board presses help to overload this area.
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    Thanks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolanrox View Post
    Thanks!
    No problem.
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    Rodja cleaning up this thread.

    Sorry, I don't really have anything to contribute Just follow what Rodja suggests.
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    Damn rodja nailed it pretty much.
    Bench is all technique. Chest is not the primary mover in the bench press.
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    Just to add a few things, and no disrespect to those who have suggested these things as there are many ways to get our goals accomplished but I caution against a few suggestions. I would tell you not to lift to failure for multiple sets. 3 sets to failure done for prolonged periods of time is a pretty solid recipe for overtraining and regression as you are probably not on gear and your diet is more than likely not optimal. I also caution against going "as wide as you can" on any form of bench press as you are really putting yourself into a disadvantaged position and also stressing the wrist by loading it in that compromised position.

    Agreed that if DB press > BB press it is a technique issue, however. Great advice from Rodja
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerdb2 View Post
    Just to add a few things, and no disrespect to those who have suggested these things as there are many ways to get our goals accomplished but I caution against a few suggestions. I would tell you not to lift to failure for multiple sets. 3 sets to failure done for prolonged periods of time is a pretty solid recipe for overtraining and regression as you are probably not on gear and your diet is more than likely not optimal. I also caution against going "as wide as you can" on any form of bench press as you are really putting yourself into a disadvantaged position and also stressing the wrist by loading it in that compromised position.

    Agreed that if DB press > BB press it is a technique issue, however. Great advice from Rodja
    So basically I'm an idiot is what you are saying. I can accept that well and still sleep ok at night considering my personal experience has been good for me. I too had lagging upper chest development not 6 months ago and can now say that I push 300lbs on Incline Bench Press @ 162lbs. Nevertheless, my suggestions always go without saying that safety is assumed a priority.

    Also, did you think I was suggesting to also go heavy on wide-grip bench? You simply cant. Not that you shouldn't...but that you cant. Widening the grip isolates the pecs by reducing the shoulders and triceps in the movement. I'm not a strength coach, obviously. But I know a thing or two about muscle development, which is one of his problems. From his previous posts, it sounds like he needs to consider muscle growth in the upper chest as he even eluded to himself.

    To the OP:

    -Wear wrist wraps.
    -Don't stack as much weight on there when going wide-grip. All it takes is a little common sense to avoid serious injuries.
    -You're 19 years old, and if there is a best time for training hard - it's that age!

    As the above fella has mentioned, apparently over-training could be an issue. I doubt it personally. I highly doubt that doing 3-6 sets to failure between 8-12 reps is gonna cause you to over-train especially if you are only training this group once a week. If you were doing it properly and not going too heavy, I'd wager money on it that you would not over-train. But I digress. Do what you want but if you would like for me to show you the progression I made last fall on a natty diet I would be glad to send the before and after pics over email or whatever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    The bench press should be treated as a movement and not just trying to work out the pecs. The OP asked about getting his bench up and the number one question should always be how is his technique. At 19, I can make a safe bet that he hasn't been shown how to properly bench (e.g. scapula retracted, tuck the elbows on the descent/flare at the top, bring the bar to lower chest, tight glutes/lower back, etc.). This has nothing to do with muscular strength as the CNS is what determines the actual "strength" of a person and not the muscle.

    Even if his technique is solid, the next question should be where he fails. At the chest? Lockout? Loses the arch/tuck?
    Perhaps, I would tend to agree that form is key. My suggestions were aimed at muscle development (size) not strength training.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    So basically I'm an idiot is what you are saying. I can accept that well and still sleep ok at night considering my personal experience has been good for me. I too had lagging upper chest development not 6 months ago and can now say that I push 300lbs on Incline Bench Press @ 162lbs. Nevertheless, my suggestions always go without saying that safety is assumed a priority.

    Also, did you think I was suggesting to also go heavy on wide-grip bench? You simply cant. Not that you shouldn't...but that you cant. Widening the grip isolates the pecs by reducing the shoulders and triceps in the movement. I'm not a strength coach, obviously. But I know a thing or two about muscle development, which is one of his problems. From his previous posts, it sounds like he needs to consider muscle growth in the upper chest as he even eluded to himself.

    To the OP:

    -Wear wrist wraps.
    -Don't stack as much weight on there when going wide-grip. All it takes is a little common sense to avoid serious injuries.
    -You're 19 years old, and if there is a best time for training hard - it's that age!

    As the above fella has mentioned, apparently over-training could be an issue. I doubt it personally. I highly doubt that doing 3-6 sets to failure between 8-12 reps is gonna cause you to over-train especially if you are only training this group once a week. If you were doing it properly and not going too heavy, I'd wager money on it that you would not over-train. But I digress. Do what you want but if you would like for me to show you the progression I made last fall on a natty diet I would be glad to send the before and after pics over email or whatever.
    300 lbs inclined for a 160 lb guy??? Thanks for making me feel like a puny little girl.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SXIPro View Post
    300 lbs inclined for a 160 lb guy??? Thanks for making me feel like a puny little girl.
    Yes but my shoulders are very, very developed. They are my genetic strong point. My triceps suck, however. If I work on them and chest over the next 6 months I hope to push 315 on incline. Then again I might weigh in at more than 162...maybe closer to 170lbs. Again, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a strength trainer AT ALL.

    And the crazy thing is I know a fella that makes me feel puny. He is 151lbs, two inches taller than me and can flat bench about 330lbs. It's hard to believe but I've seen it. He was only 5lbs shy of the state and national record in his class, too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    Perhaps, I would tend to agree that form is key. My suggestions were aimed at muscle development (size) not strength training.
    The question is about a 1RM, not hypertrophy. Does a bigger muscle have the potential to be a stronger muscle? Yes, but only if the wiring and CNS conditioning are also present. If he wants a bigger bench, then he needs to address his technical issues by recording himself while benching at ~80% of 1RM from several angles. After that, he needs to organize a template that addresses his weak areas and will also help to add size to his frame.
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    I've skimmed through the thread but couldn't find any mention of your sticking point.

    Where are you stalling out during the lift?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    The question is about a 1RM, not hypertrophy. Does a bigger muscle have the potential to be a stronger muscle? Yes, but only if the wiring and CNS conditioning are also present. If he wants a bigger bench, then he needs to address his technical issues by recording himself while benching at ~80% of 1RM from several angles. After that, he needs to organize a template that addresses his weak areas and will also help to add size to his frame.
    10-4.

    Also just for clarification, I always use an open grip on press movements. I couldn't imagine a wide or close-grip press without an open grip
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    10-4.

    Also just for clarification, I always use an open grip on press movements. I couldn't imagine a wide or close-grip press without an open grip
    That sounds a little dangerous.
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    Dont really see how it makes much difference. The only grip I'd see as dangerous would be reverse open grip or reverse grip specifically on decline. I've never personally seen either of these grips performed but as for open grip, well, all of the powerlifters around here seem to prefer it. I tried it and learned to like it quickly. Its more comfortable to me now and I feel its safer since the bar is directly centered and inline with my forearm.
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    Absolutely love close grip with a suicide grip. I tried going back to closed grip and it wasn't the same at all - in fact I tended to flare elbows more, which kind of defeated the purpose, and it felt so ... "natural?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torobestia View Post
    Absolutely love close grip with a suicide grip. I tried going back to closed grip and it wasn't the same at all - in fact I tended to flare elbows more, which kind of defeated the purpose, and it felt so ... "natural?"
    I agree! It doesnt take very long to feel natural. I initially went to open/suicide grip for wrist issues when lifting heavy. Now I find it beneficial in many other movements, especially close and wide-grip applications. It really does remove stress from the wrist.
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    I do false grip on my warm up sets to really get the triceps involved, but I still like a closed grip on my ME. However, OHP is done completely with a false grip.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gutterpump
    I've skimmed through the thread but couldn't find any mention of your sticking point.

    Where are you stalling out during the lift?
    I struggle at the chest ...once I hit the chest and am on the way back up I get stuck but if my spotter barely lifts it then I'm good the rest of the way
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    I used a closed grip always, except on ohp press. I know a powerlifter that does the same as rodja. Open on warm-ups and closed for ME.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    So basically I'm an idiot is what you are saying. I can accept that well and still sleep ok at night considering my personal experience has been good for me. I too had lagging upper chest development not 6 months ago and can now say that I push 300lbs on Incline Bench Press @ 162lbs. Nevertheless, my suggestions always go without saying that safety is assumed a priority.

    Also, did you think I was suggesting to also go heavy on wide-grip bench? You simply cant. Not that you shouldn't...but that you cant. Widening the grip isolates the pecs by reducing the shoulders and triceps in the movement. I'm not a strength coach, obviously. But I know a thing or two about muscle development, which is one of his problems. From his previous posts, it sounds like he needs to consider muscle growth in the upper chest as he even eluded to himself.

    To the OP:

    -Wear wrist wraps.
    -Don't stack as much weight on there when going wide-grip. All it takes is a little common sense to avoid serious injuries.
    -You're 19 years old, and if there is a best time for training hard - it's that age!

    As the above fella has mentioned, apparently over-training could be an issue. I doubt it personally. I highly doubt that doing 3-6 sets to failure between 8-12 reps is gonna cause you to over-train especially if you are only training this group once a week. If you were doing it properly and not going too heavy, I'd wager money on it that you would not over-train. But I digress. Do what you want but if you would like for me to show you the progression I made last fall on a natty diet I would be glad to send the before and after pics over email or whatever.
    First and foremost, that was not meant as a shot what so ever. I even addressed that there are endless methods that will get the job done. With that said, what works for one doesn't necessarily work for all and if the young man is working towards becoming stronger, frying the CNS is simply not the best answer for strength, in my opinion. Upper level strength requires an efficient neural system and therefore training purely for hypertrophy shouldn't be the only angle addressed. Obviously it needs to be addressed but not to the detriment of the other half of the equation. I'm also not saying he'll reach a level of overtraining immediately but, as I mentioned, without proper rest and nutrition, it will happen much, much quicker training multiple sets to failure than other methods. Everybody responds differently and has differing opinions. I was simply giving mine.

    As for the wide grip issues, I understand you can't load the bar with as much weight in a wide grip, but you can absolutely load it heavy, relatively speaking. In addition, with regards to proper bench mechanics (scaps retracted, depressed) the chest is often less of a limiting factor than the tri's. This is just my experiences with those I have worked with which is why I tend to avoid that particular position. I also work with contact athletes so I have to protect their shoulders a little more than your average gym go-er so, in the end, the reward a bigger pecs simply doesn't out weigh the risk. Lastly, lighten up brother. It's a discussion and most of the time there is so right answer; just tools. Just because I disagree with you doesn't make you wrong or me right. I'm wrong all the time and get called on it everyday at work.
  

  
 

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