Breaking DB Press Plateau

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    Breaking DB Press Plateau


    Hey bros,

    The situation is that I have been stuck using the same weight for DB Press, and incline DB Press for weeks now. Some weeks I get an extra rep, other weeks I am down a rep or two from normal. I just don't get it. I'm up 8lbs from when I first started being able to do 10 reps with these dumbells. My deadlift has gone up 100lbs during this time, but my chest strength figures have stayed largely the same.

    Here are a few of the things I have tried:

    -alternating bench press & DB Press every other week.
    - doing a heavier weight for less reps.
    -Incorperating cable chest exercises
    - Incorperating DB flyes

    Nothing has yeilded a tangible increase. I have not been getting the best amount of sleep lately (~6 hours), but if sleep was an issue would I be up 8lbs and up 100lbs in my deadlift 1RM?

    I consider myself a "powerbuilder", but I thought I would see if you strength junkies had any ideas how to break through this bull**** I am enduring. FYI, I am 20 years old, just taking Creatine & multivitamin. No AAS / PH usage EVER.

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    Sticking points are crap for sure, but it's an opportunity to learn an alternate workout style. A chance to increase your knowledge of the metal to get you past the plateau you are currently on.

    I can't see the Cables helping you with your DB presses, really the flyes either. I like the alternating Bench and DB, that's how I do it. You could try playing with differing rep schemes for a bit, try varying your timing. For a while all I did was bench and it actually did help my DB after a couple weeks, also works the other way.

    You have to consider as well that maybe the DB Press is just not a powerful movement for you. I absolutely love DB Press I hit the 150s every workout, but my bench is crap. For me I've started training to get more refinement to the mass I have now so heavy, 5 reps or below, is no longer my goal.

    Speaking of 5 reps that's another thing I liked was doing sets of 5, and once I could do sets of 5 then bumping the weight up, this can be difficult with DBs but it's worth a try.

    Good Luck
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    when was the last time you took a week off?
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    If it were me I would try some board work or smith machine presses and work on part of the movement that is your sticking point. Possibly try switching to a TUT based routine for awhile...

    Guy's got a point too taking a week off could really help...

    Also, what's your diet like? You hear guys talking diet this and diet that for hypertrophy...but they rarely mention that diet obviously contributes directly to strength too....

    Hmmmm, I'll think some more on this....
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    I had a sticking point in my bench for the longest time. I ramped up my eating and went to a DC training routine just to try out something different though I mostly did power routines. It worked great and I blasted through the plateau. I am starting to slow again on gains so I am going to take a deload week and then try some of the westside training. IMO, Maybe you should try a totally different program than what you are used to.
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    Thanks to everyone who has replied thus far, you guys are awesome

    Quote Originally Posted by flytrapcan
    You have to consider as well that maybe the DB Press is just not a powerful movement for you. I absolutely love DB Press I hit the 150s every workout, but my bench is crap. For me I've started training to get more refinement to the mass I have now so heavy, 5 reps or below, is no longer my goal.

    Speaking of 5 reps that's another thing I liked was doing sets of 5, and once I could do sets of 5 then bumping the weight up, this can be difficult with DBs but it's worth a try.
    Good Luck
    I think I will try this 5 rep scheme and see if I can find some DBs that are just a little bit heavier. Like you said though, it can be difficult with DBs because sometimes the next ones up are like 15lbs up if your gym does not stock them all in 5lb increments.

    Quote Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
    when was the last time you took a week off?
    Actually, about two weeks back during midterms. I try to take a week off every 8 weeks. What do you think about the sleep?

    Quote Originally Posted by myfathersboy
    Also, what's your diet like? You hear guys talking diet this and diet that for hypertrophy...but they rarely mention that diet obviously contributes directly to strength too....
    Well it is basically an extension of the diet I was given back when training with Bobo. Over time I had added things and of course upped the cals The primary foods for my personal diet are: whole weat bagels, chili, chicken breast, fish, beef, broccoli, lots of milk, cheese, oatmeal, yogurt, and tuna.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterson24
    IMO, Maybe you should try a totally different program than what you are used to.
    Would DC be your best reccomendation as an alternative routine?
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    Well I have never ventured into something like DC before. I always did 5x5 routines for power. DC is more geared toward total failure at each set with things such as rest-pauses and static holds. I was skeptical at first but a good friend from college who was never a PL sweared by it. So I figured I give it a run. It was wierd because it felt like you weren't doing much as its only 3 times a week and one real work set. I just kept trying to concentrate on uping my weights and getting those work sets complete. In about 8-10 weeks of doing it, I put on about 3-5 lbs naturally and broke right through my plateau. It was enough evidence for me.
    But as it goes, "Everything works, everything just doesn't work for long" I believe your body will adapt to anything, its amazing like that. Throw it something its never seen before that is still based on basic principles of exercise and it gives you a better chance of growing. Switching my routines has usually always helped. Sometimes I will find a routine that does nothing for me, so I will never revisit it again.
    So to answer your question, I think DC is pretty good but there are other alternatives too. DC training was so foreign to what I usually did, thats why I think it helped me so much
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    what does your bench day routine look like?
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    Quote Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
    what does your bench day routine look like?
    who is this question toward?
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterson24
    who is this question toward?
    big casino, sorry about that
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    change it up. if the same thing worked forever, i'd be benching 2K by now.

    don't have to get too technical with it, just change the exercises.
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    i'd be benching 2K by now.
    With all your PR's I thought you would be. LOL
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    Poor Beez, he's got glass pecs... His shoulders are just too damned strong for the rest of him
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    touche.
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    Quote Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
    what does your bench day routine look like?

    I use Dumbells for my primary chest work, and the bench press as secondary. The reason being that I have always seen better gains using the DBs on my chest vs. bench. For a while I was using DBs exclusively, but lately I have been tossing some bench work, usually incline, into the mix.

    So it would go something like this...

    I go in, warm up by doing a set of light DBs on a flat bench, prolly 12 reps to get the juices flowing.

    From there I do 3 sets for flat DB Press, usually all the same weight, whatever I can get 3 sets of 8-10 reps with.

    Then I will do some incline work. I will either do 3 sets of incline DB Press, or 3 sets of incline bench.

    Every other week I toss in a decline bench session of 4 sets.

    Finally I finish it up with some DB Flyes.

    So basically----

    1 warmup set DB press

    3 sets flat DB Press

    3 Sets incline bench OR 3 sets incline DB Press

    Every other week - 4 sets decline bench

    When I feel like it: DB flyes
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    Superset those badboys, and go 5x5 for some fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by beefjerky
    Superset those badboys, and go 5x5 for some fun.
    I am deffiantely going to bring the rep range down to 5 this next week here Any particular superset combos you wanna suggest ?
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    There are plenty of options, just depends on your mood. If I'm doing 5 rep sets, I like to superset down to a weight that lets me do 5-8. Or you could half the weigh of the dumbbells and up it by 5 lbs and use that for your superset weight. Or try a set of pushups immediately after each of your 5 rep sets. Or how about some horribly slow negatives and exploding up in the positives?
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    why dont you do regular flat bb bench?
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    Quote Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
    why dont you do regular flat bb bench?
    Quote Originally Posted by BigCasino
    I use Dumbells for my primary chest work, and the bench press as secondary. The reason being that I have always seen better gains using the DBs on my chest vs. bench.

    That's the main reason. I've used flat BB bench in the past as my main chest exercise, but for some reason unknown to me I've always seen better muscle size increase with the DB press. I'm goign to listen to what you guys have been say though and chage it up, both the exercises and the rep range. I've been looking at some WSB benching articles as well, just to get ideas. I kind of want to keep it simple for now and avoid bringing in boards and bands into my gym, so hopefully my body responds to these little changes I will be making to my routine.

    I know that this being the powerlifting section of the board I must sound crazy coming in here talking about having DB Press as my primary chest exercise, as I imagine you all flat BB bench religiously. That said, does anyone else here like DBs, or am I the minority in that regard
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    everyone should like db presses, i use them and i know a lot of guys here use them, but when numbers stall it's time to switch it up, do regular bb bench for 4-6 weeks then switch back to db presses, i'll betcha your dbs are higher
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    Quote Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
    everyone should like db presses, i use them and i know a lot of guys here use them, but when numbers stall it's time to switch it up, do regular bb bench for 4-6 weeks then switch back to db presses, i'll betcha your dbs are higher
    And vice versa
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    Quote Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
    everyone should like db presses, i use them and i know a lot of guys here use them, but when numbers stall it's time to switch it up, do regular bb bench for 4-6 weeks then switch back to db presses, i'll betcha your dbs are higher
    Alright guys, I'll be reporting back to this thread in a few weeks to let you know how the progress is coming. My sincere thanks to everyone that offered their input. AM always comes through for me
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    Ok just an update here. So I did switch over to doing Incline and flat bench exclusively for the past 3 months. I stayed away from DBs except for flyes. During this time I increased my 8rep bench by 50lbs. The odd thing was my chest did not seem to get much bigger, but I did gain about 12lbs. The past two weeks though my bench not only stalled, it started going down. All this while my other excersises such as deadlift continued to soar. So today I decided it might be good to switch back to dumbells. Honestly I was excited to see where I would be at with them, having added 50lbs to my 8 rep range on bench.

    What a disaster, My dumbells hadn't increased, rather I was struggling with the weight I had been working with before I switched.

    I'm trying really hard to think of explanations here. I would normally just say it was an off day, but 3 "off" chest workouts one right after the other? I thought overtraining was a systemic thing, but it seriously feels like I succeed is overtraining just my chest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigCasino
    Ok just an update here. So I did switch over to doing Incline and flat bench exclusively for the past 3 months. I stayed away from DBs except for flyes. During this time I increased my 8rep bench by 50lbs. The odd thing was my chest did not seem to get much bigger, but I did gain about 12lbs. The past two weeks though my bench not only stalled, it started going down. All this while my other excersises such as deadlift continued to soar. So today I decided it might be good to switch back to dumbells. Honestly I was excited to see where I would be at with them, having added 50lbs to my 8 rep range on bench.

    What a disaster, My dumbells hadn't increased, rather I was struggling with the weight I had been working with before I switched.

    I'm trying really hard to think of explanations here. I would normally just say it was an off day, but 3 "off" chest workouts one right after the other? I thought overtraining was a systemic thing, but it seriously feels like I succeed is overtraining just my chest.
    when was the last time you took a week off from lifting?
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    Quote Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
    when was the last time you took a week off from lifting?
    About a month ago. I usually try to take an entire week off every 8 weeks.
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    ^^^^^^^^Well, i have a story for you.

    When i was doing 315 for 3 x 3, I could barely DB press 75 for 8 reps...go figure!

    When i got away from doing bench and started to work on DB presses all the time, i raised my DB press to 90 for 5 over a 6 week period.

    But, my bench had gone way down....

    BUTTTTTTTT, my shoulder strength and ability to hold the DB's steady had gone up considerably. So, I have to conclude that DB presses are governed by your stabilizer muscles/tri strength...vs bench, which is more about the tri/chest/upper back strength.
    So, i started doing mini cycles...3 weeks db presses, and 3 weeks bench...my 3 weeks db presses i'd work with 8 reps and my 3 weeks bench i'd work with 4 reps...each exercise kept a 3-4 set deal...

    After doing this for 16weeks...i'd gotten my bench up to 330 and my dbpresses were up to 105...so it took me over twice as long to raise my db another 15lbs and i only raised my bench 15lbs in over 16weeks; HOWEVER, neither lift suffered. And, i'd take 330 for 4 and 105 for reps, over either of them suffering horribly....
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardknock
    ^^^^^^^^Well, i have a story for you.

    When i was doing 315 for 3 x 3, I could barely DB press 75 for 8 reps...go figure!

    When i got away from doing bench and started to work on DB presses all the time, i raised my DB press to 90 for 5 over a 6 week period.

    But, my bench had gone way down....

    BUTTTTTTTT, my shoulder strength and ability to hold the DB's steady had gone up considerably. So, I have to conclude that DB presses are governed by your stabilizer muscles/tri strength...vs bench, which is more about the tri/chest/upper back strength.
    So, i started doing mini cycles...3 weeks db presses, and 3 weeks bench...my 3 weeks db presses i'd work with 8 reps and my 3 weeks bench i'd work with 4 reps...each exercise kept a 3-4 set deal...

    After doing this for 16weeks...i'd gotten my bench up to 330 and my dbpresses were up to 105...so it took me over twice as long to raise my db another 15lbs and i only raised my bench 15lbs in over 16weeks; HOWEVER, neither lift suffered. And, i'd take 330 for 4 and 105 for reps, over either of them suffering horribly....
    You bring up several good points bro.

    I probably shouldn't have switched to using bench exclusively, I should've focused on rotating the two in a "smarter" way. I probably oversimplified things to myself, counting them both as "chest" exercises and not thinking about the percentage of delt and stabilizer muscle involements differing.

    I think I am going to try to keep up with both of them, but focus on dumbell press as it seems to give better size gains for me. Now I need to work on getting back to making progress. I think once I start to make progress, I can sustain the momentum, it is just hard to get the ball rolling for with my chest lately. So odd, it used to be my strongest and most responsive muscle group....
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardknock
    ^^^^^^^^Well, i have a story for you.

    When i was doing 315 for 3 x 3, I could barely DB press 75 for 8 reps...go figure!

    When i got away from doing bench and started to work on DB presses all the time, i raised my DB press to 90 for 5 over a 6 week period.

    But, my bench had gone way down....

    BUTTTTTTTT, my shoulder strength and ability to hold the DB's steady had gone up considerably. So, I have to conclude that DB presses are governed by your stabilizer muscles/tri strength...vs bench, which is more about the tri/chest/upper back strength.
    So, i started doing mini cycles...3 weeks db presses, and 3 weeks bench...my 3 weeks db presses i'd work with 8 reps and my 3 weeks bench i'd work with 4 reps...each exercise kept a 3-4 set deal...

    After doing this for 16weeks...i'd gotten my bench up to 330 and my dbpresses were up to 105...so it took me over twice as long to raise my db another 15lbs and i only raised my bench 15lbs in over 16weeks; HOWEVER, neither lift suffered. And, i'd take 330 for 4 and 105 for reps, over either of them suffering horribly....

    That sounds like a good idea rotating or what do you think about this one work out flat bench incline dumbell next work out flat dumbell incline press?
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    you can do both at the same time, i know a couple big benchers that do flat bb, and then do incline dbs as an assistance move. in powerlifting dbs are use as assistance so weight really isnt that much of a factor. but say you do 2x8 on flat bench then you can go and do 2-3x8-10 on incline dbs after that
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    Quote Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
    you can do both at the same time, i know a couple big benchers that do flat bb, and then do incline dbs as an assistance move. in powerlifting dbs are use as assistance so weight really isnt that much of a factor. but say you do 2x8 on flat bench then you can go and do 2-3x8-10 on incline dbs after that

    Thank you,
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    Quote Originally Posted by mixedup
    Thank you,
    anytime
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    Quote Originally Posted by guyfromkop2
    you can do both at the same time, i know a couple big benchers that do flat bb, and then do incline dbs as an assistance move. in powerlifting dbs are use as assistance so weight really isnt that much of a factor. but say you do 2x8 on flat bench then you can go and do 2-3x8-10 on incline dbs after that

    Pretty much hit the nail on the head...either or would be fine from my experience.
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    just to switch it up with my body 1 week i do Dumbbells and the next week i use barbells...when i use the barbells i do a pyramid excercise on just the flat bench....i'll do say

    1x10
    1x8
    1x6
    1x4
    1x6
    1x8
    1x10

    when i do dumbbells the next week i feel great.... i was stuck on doing 80s and this has gotten me to 90s in each hand. Hoping in 2 weeks i'll be doing 95s which is pretty good for me considering i weigh 165 and 22 y/o Best of luck breaking your plateau
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt50
    i was stuck on doing 80s and this has gotten me to 90s in each hand.
    made me chuckle at the thought of someone trying to close grip bench a dumbell...not that I'm not going to try when i go to gym tomorrow morn...
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    Where at in your range of motion are you stalling for the DB Press? If it stalls at your chest that is either weak pecs or weak serratus muscles. Stalling midway through ******* is triceps. Also working your pullup and trying to keep your elbows glued to your sides can also help the bottom position of the bench.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicarious
    made me chuckle at the thought of someone trying to close grip bench a dumbell...not that I'm not going to try when i go to gym tomorrow morn...
    i didn't say anything about a close grip bench...i'm confused
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt50
    i didn't say anything about a close grip bench...i'm confused

    no big deal man. you said you could db press 90's "In each hand"...obviously you have one dumbell in one hand. just made me think of trying to press one db with both hands...hence the close grip comment...I'm still going to try it, probably tear my rotator cuff too...
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