Bench Press Plateau

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    Bench Press Plateau


    I've been stuck at a plateau in terms of my bench press max for the past year now and I've been trying various different exercises and sets/reps combinations with no results. I've also been trying to bulk for the past few weeks in hopes that it could potentially increase my numbers. My numbers have slightly increased but it's nothing really significant. Any suggestions for new chest workouts or any other possible advice that could help?

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    Put more weight on the bar, problem solved
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    We would need way more information or a video.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiktorek25 View Post
    Put more weight on the bar, problem solved
    I've pretty much trained most of the past two years with strictly low reps and high weight so as simple as it may seem that hasn't really worked
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    What program are you using? What is your accessory work for chest?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumpHouse View Post
    We would need way more information or a video.
    This is my usual workout schedule for my main chest day:

    Flat barbell bench press
    135x12
    165x4
    185x4
    225x3
    240x3

    Close grip barbell bench press
    135x10
    165x6
    185x6
    205x4

    Smith machine Lockout
    135x10
    185x4
    225x6
    235x3

    Dumbbell Chest Flyes
    30s x 8
    45s x 6
    55s x 6
    65s x 6

    I do usually train my shoulders and triceps along with chest so along with this I also do military presses and other accessory tricep/shoulder exercises
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    Recently, someone also pointed out that when I bench I grip the barbell with my knuckles over the top of the barbell. I have been told that trying out a false-grip may eventually allow me to press more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by joh408 View Post
    What program are you using? What is your accessory work for chest?
    I listed my usual chest exercises above but I have never really tried any particular program. It's pretty much always either been low reps/high weight or high reps/lower weight
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    Where are you failing on the bench?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumpHouse View Post
    Where are you failing on the bench?
    I would have to say I struggle most at roughly the 6-10 inch from my chest. I don't really seem to have an issue with the initial push off of my chest but the following few inches are my weak points. If that helps to answer your question.
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    Have you tried doing board presses? They do wonders for the latter half of a bench.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumpHouse View Post
    Have you tried doing board presses? They do wonders for the latter half of a bench.
    I have heard of them but have never tried them. I'll definitely look into them. Thanks
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumpHouse View Post
    Have you tried doing board presses? They do wonders for the latter half of a bench.
    I have heard of them but have never tried them. Ill definitely look into them and try them out, thanks.
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    T-nation article that might get you going:

    http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...ench_exercises
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    The problem is that you're training muscles and not movements. The bench press is not a chest exercise; it is a full body movement that requires a high level of technique and specific accessory lifts to strengthen the weaknesses in the kinetic chain.
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    To piggy back off of what Rodja said, start looking at other areas like the upper back and triceps, specifically. You're trying to get stronger but that routine is fairly similar to a body building chest/ triceps day. As an aside, my opinion is to get rid of the flies. I don't think they have much value for getting a bigger bench.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    The problem is that you're training muscles and not movements. The bench press is not a chest exercise; it is a full body movement that requires a high level of technique and specific accessory lifts to strengthen the weaknesses in the kinetic chain.
    What would you recommend for accessory lifts?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarchib View Post
    What would you recommend for accessory lifts?
    This depends on your specific weakness. However, I fairly confident that you could break your plateau with simple technique adjustments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post

    This depends on your specific weakness. However, I fairly confident that you could break your plateau with simple technique adjustments.
    Yeah I'm sure there are flaws that haven't been pointed out to me by anyone yet. What do you think about my grip placement? I've been told to try a false-grip.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarchib View Post
    Yeah I'm sure there are flaws that haven't been pointed out to me by anyone yet. What do you think about my grip placement? I've been told to try a false-grip.
    Irrelevant until technique has been corrected.
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    When I plateau on BB Bench, I do heavy sets of DB Bench. Problem is my gym's DBs max out at 125 lb ea, but I still find it helps. Maybe it's a mental thing with me, or maybe since the DB presses involve more stabilizer muscles it helps.
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    17 sets seems like a lot for chest, also powerlifting techniques, boards, chains, pin press, bands, etc
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    Try incline/decline bench to specifically work different parts of the chest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pypp View Post
    Try incline/decline bench to specifically work different parts of the chest.
    What does that have to do with bench press strength?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post

    What does that have to do with bench press strength?
    You can target specific areas of your bench to increase strength. My buddy plateaued at 265 and did incline decline bench for 6 months, although he had to start at lower weight with incline then regular he built it up. He weighs 160 and 1st bench coming back to flat was 315 and hits that easy now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pypp View Post
    You can target specific areas of your bench to increase strength. My buddy plateaued at 265 and did incline decline bench for 6 months, although he had to start at lower weight with incline then regular he built it up. He weighs 160 and 1st bench coming back to flat was 315 and hits that easy now.
    You realize that chest is only a portion of an effective bench press, right? His plateau is most likely to having suboptimal technique specifically a lack of upper back tightness and leg drive. The bench press is a full-body movement, not a chest exercise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post

    You realize that chest is only a portion of an effective bench press, right? His plateau is most likely to having suboptimal technique specifically a lack of upper back tightness and leg drive. The bench press is a full-body movement, not a chest exercise.
    Yes Yoda I do, I'm just giving a more practical opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pypp View Post
    Yes Yoda I do, I'm just giving a more practical opinion.
    Yeah....because correcting technique on a highly technical lift isn't practical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post

    Yeah....because correcting technique on a highly technical lift isn't practical.
    Stating what someone's doing wrong that you haven't seen bench, instead of offering what to do better is pretty unpractical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pypp View Post
    Stating what someone's doing wrong that you haven't seen bench, instead of offering what to do better is pretty unpractical.
    It's a safe bet that if he's training muscles that his technique will be bad. Trying to correct a technical weakness with exercises is erroneous. Step one in getting stronger on squat, bench, deads, Oly lifts, etc. is ALWAYS technique analysis. You can have the best template design, but without technical proficiency, it's a waste of time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pypp View Post
    Stating what someone's doing wrong that you haven't seen bench, instead of offering what to do better is pretty unpractical.
    Rodja beat me, but agreed. If he's addressing additional chest exercises SPECIFICALLY to break a plateau, I'd also wager the muscle is being trained rather than the movement.

    Lets see a vid, and I'd put dollars to donuts there are several issues.
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    Ill try to get you guys a video ASAP. I can already tell you that I honestly don't think I keep my body tight while I bench and there isn't much of a leg drive. Usually my back ends up flattening out during my sets as well. I never really paid much attention to it because I had no idea how much power I was compromising with subpar technique. However, it's also a little difficult trying to correct my own form when I can't really see what I'm doing wrong. Ill do my best to get a video soon.
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    You've changed the exercises, sets and reps... Have you tried changing the training method for example using negatives and forced reps? A few of my clients found changing their methods very useful, also taking 5 - 7 days off can also help, giving your body a chance to fully recover 9 times out of 10 you WILL come back stronger.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EllFitness View Post
    You've changed the exercises, sets and reps... Have you tried changing the training method for example using negatives and forced reps? A few of my clients found changing their methods very useful, also taking 5 - 7 days off can also help, giving your body a chance to fully recover 9 times out of 10 you WILL come back stronger.
    I have use forced reps every now and then but I haven't done much negative work in a while. Also, I haven't taken a week off in roughly a year. I'm sure it would help my whole body if I did soon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarchib View Post

    I have use forced reps every now and then but I haven't done much negative work in a while. Also, I haven't taken a week off in roughly a year. I'm sure it would help my whole body if I did soon.
    Well the eccentric contraction is a lot more beneficial so give negatives a try, you also haven't done much negative work it is new to your body simply from the change this could get you past your Plateau. but id definitely recommend taking a week of especially as it has been a year now, like I said you will come back stronger. Try some different methods, get some rest, eat some food and your problem will be solved, me and all my clients have been there and the solutions are always so simple!
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    Just to let you guys know, I took some time and watched Dave Tate's "So You Think You Can Bench" YouTube instructional videos and they greatly helped. I've been working on correcting my form and technique and I practically already broke through the plateau. Thanks for the help.
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    Full body contraction is key to bench press, there shouldn't be a single muscle in your body that is relaxed during a power bench.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigcountry08 View Post
    Full body contraction is key to bench press, there shouldn't be a single muscle in your body that is relaxed during a power bench.
    Nice to see someone else fraking gets it when it comes to maximal bench press strength.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post

    Nice to see someone else fraking gets it when it comes to maximal bench press strength.
    Yeah when I was younger I used to train at a power lifting gym in Michigan with some of the top power lifters in Michigan. Some of them even had some world records. I would watch those guys like a hawk to learn proper technique.

    That would be my advice to you op find a local hole in the wall gym where there are some experienced power lifters. Train there for about six months watching them every day. Then get on your hands and knees after six months and ask for some advice on your form. Power lifters are some of the hardest guys in the gym to get respect from, because in my opinion there the hardest working and most dedicated out there. They could care less about how they look, it's all about adding more weight to that next lift.
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