Benching advice???

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    Benching advice???


    Hey guys,

    I've been having a lot of trouble increasing my flat bench press max. I've tried a whole mess of techniques, but nothing seems to be working. Any suggestions?

    thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by laxmachine View Post
    Hey guys,

    I've been having a lot of trouble increasing my flat bench press max. I've tried a whole mess of techniques, but nothing seems to be working. Any suggestions?

    thanks!
    My advice is don't flat bench. Do incline barbell presses and decline and flat dumbbell presses and flyes, as they put less strain on your shoulders and still increase size and strength.
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    there's gonna be a whole lotta guys, suggesting a bunch of different things in a minute here. the one thing i can tell you is, which ever suggestion you take, stay with it long enough to see if it works for you.....like 8 to 12 weeks, then judge the advise, you may have to try more than one thing over the course of your training to determine what is best for you and your body
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    Quote Originally Posted by mDeezy View Post
    My advice is don't flat bench. Do incline barbell presses and decline and flat dumbbell presses and flyes, as they put less strain on your shoulders and still increase size and strength.
    Definitely! In a lot of cases, the best way to break a plateau is to hit the muscle from a different angle, which can force it into new growth. I could not break 315 for the life of me, until I spent a few weeks training with a lot of incline and decline flyes. Next thing I knew, it was time for 330
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    Are you powerlifting or just wanting a bigger bench?
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    both...power lifting is important for football, and consequently a lot of your strength is judged by what you bench. I just feel that my bench isn't where it should be in comparison to my other lifts
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    What all else have you tried?

    You said you've used a bunch of other techniques that haven't worked for you.
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    i just mean like resistance training, low-rep high weight, drop sets, obscure exercises to try and shock my muscles (that's not saying that any of those are the right way to go, because clearly I am having trouble with this)
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    Where do you get stuck at in the lift? Do you just have problems w/ the lockout or are you getting it stuck on your chest?
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    I just mean in general i'm not able to put up nearly as much weight as i should be. I will say though that I never have a problem with my lock out..if i get the bar off my chest i'll get the rep
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    If you lockout is money each time then you need to work more pecs and delts.

    What do you do for chest and shoulder exercises? (sorry for all the questions)
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    no need for apologies. I do push-ups, flat bench, incline bench, pull-overs, flat and incline dumbbell bench, flat and incline flys, and rows. That's probably about it
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    What is your bench currently at, and how much do you want to increase it by?

    IMO Strength for football is better judged by squats, leg presses, deads. Don't get me wrong, upper body is important too, but I think lower body is key in football.

    ~GX
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    What about shoulder exercises?

    You really need to be doing some DB and barbell military pressing.

    Also what are your sets/reps for chest usually?

    If they are pretty high volume you may think about backing down a bit and upping the weight you're using for a change of pace.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GXbcmFTO View Post
    What is your bench currently at, and how much do you want to increase it by?

    IMO Strength for football is better judged by squats, leg presses, deads. Don't get me wrong, upper body is important too, but I think lower body is key in football.

    ~GX
    You're exactly right GX but most coaches put a ton of emphasis on bench even though it doesn't mean anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtp217 View Post
    You're exactly right GX but most coaches put a ton of emphasis on bench even though it doesn't mean anything.
    Yeah i agree with you that squatting and those other powerlifts are probably more beneficial for the sport, however we don't get tested in it for some reason.

    I do as much shoulder work as i do chest, just on different days (but i have found that my shoulders are rarely ever sore the next day). I do the standard military press, push press, and a lot of dumbbell flys.

    As far as the sets go, lately I have been doing lower rep stuff w/ higher weight. My max preseason was 2 of 245 (which works out to 1 of 265 according to my coach) but I haven't tested my max in a few months
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    Sounds like your doing the right kind of stuff. What type of form do you use? More powerlifting style (back arched, elbows tucked more to the sides) or bodybuilding style (flat back, elbows flared)?
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    Change it up. Do dumbells instead, do declines instead, add incremental weight across the weeks then drop it down and work up again.

    Look at DC Training
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    IMO its an over rated exercise. Some guys just cant bench because of muscle tie ins and skeletal structure. The same for pull ups. It could also be a physical phase your going through in weight lifting. Try pressing like 30 lb bars for 3 sets of 15, then do incline DB at 70% of 1RM for 3 sets of 8, stay with that. What matters is that you do some flat bench work and avoid injury. JMO
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    well my bench was stuck at 215 forever. after about 3 weeks of lockouts and bench with bands, my bench shot up to 235.
    Lockouts was 4 sets of 8, and bench with bands was 8 sets of 3. worked wonders
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    what are lockouts?
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    Quote Originally Posted by neoborn View Post
    what are lockouts?
    Well you would set up a bench in the middle of an adjustable squat rack. then you set the squat rack safety's so that when your gripping the bar, your elbows are slightly little higher then your chest. With this you would take your max bench weight and use that as your first set. Just press the bar of the safety's then let it down and repeat. What this does is focuses on the triceps. Its works great with board presses, board presses help break the lower bench(chest) sticking points, the lockouts help with the upper bench(triceps). No joke every time I tried 225-235 I pressed it off my chest and would fail as my arms reached parallel. did lockouts for 3 weeks, and exploded past that point with 235 like it was 135lbs. But just remember when doing lockouts you need to use huge weight, weight you could never flat bench. and don't waste energy slowly lowering the weight thats not the point explode of the safety's and drop it right back down.
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    I am kind of in an almost similar issue. I am getting stronger with my benching, but not getting that swell in my chest. The thing is, I used to have one back in the day. Might need to put an APB to see if I find it. I don't do much BB benching. I do a lot of DB. What I have never done is declines. What part of the chest does that hit specifically?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABNRanger View Post
    I am kind of in an almost similar issue. I am getting stronger with my benching, but not getting that swell in my chest. The thing is, I used to have one back in the day. Might need to put an APB to see if I find it. I don't do much BB benching. I do a lot of DB. What I have never done is declines. What part of the chest does that hit specifically?
    lower chest
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    Quote Originally Posted by laxmachine View Post
    lower chest
    I guess since I need that bulk in my upper chest, declines would not be the way to go. As I said before, I am gaining strength, but not getting any bulk in my pecs. I am going to do more intense inclines, and flyes and see if that works. I will let you guys know how it works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABNRanger View Post
    I guess since I need that bulk in my upper chest, declines would not be the way to go. As I said before, I am gaining strength, but not getting any bulk in my pecs. I am going to do more intense inclines, and flyes and see if that works. I will let you guys know how it works.
    Just because you need more bulk in your upper chest doesn't mean you should neglect the lower chest. Hit it from all angles to build overall mass. Do maybe 6-8 sets of incline exercises and only 3-4 decline, but don't abandon decline altogether.

    Also if your gaining strength but not mass make sure you are squeezing and holding for 1-2 sec. at the top of the rep and try to keep tension on the muscles throughout the rep. Using cables is really good for keeping the tension up.
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    i know this question is asked all the time, but what is your diet like. when ever i plateau, i up my cals, that always worked for me. if you eat like you always have, you will be as big/strong as you always where.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABNRanger View Post
    I guess since I need that bulk in my upper chest, declines would not be the way to go. As I said before, I am gaining strength, but not getting any bulk in my pecs. I am going to do more intense inclines, and flyes and see if that works. I will let you guys know how it works.

    Declines, with a narrower grip work well to pump the whole chest I find. I get crazy pumps like this on the hammer press machine..

    Drop the weight and focus on form...try not to use delts as much in your presses. Arch your back and don't go full ROM, don't lockout, you will get a good burn in your chest. This works the tris and delts less. Your chest should start to get fuller this way.
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    I eliminated flat bench and only did incline and decline for several months. When i finnaly tried flat bench again I was breaking the 300 mark and I was repping 265 on incline..

    I think its important to keep the two close in strength.. I see so many people who can hit heavy weight on flat but have nothing on inclne...

    Always switch things up. If you get stagnent try something new. Thats the best way to break through a platue
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    if your sticking point is at your chest get a spotter, load up the weight to lets say 270 (b/c your at 315) and do lower partial reps. In other words press the bar from your chest then up 6-7". Work up the lbs each set until you reach 300lbs, you should need a spotter to get it to lock out on the last few reps. Sets should be 8 (270), 6 (280), 6(295), 4(305 or 310, whichever you can do for 4). I used to powerlift and this exercise helped me to blast through my sticking point. Also try widening your grip a bit to recruit more of your pec muscles as the lockout portion of the lift is primarily a combo of your tris, delts and lats. 315 and 225 tend to be more of a mental block also, ignore the numbers and just press the weight...to many lifters become obsessed w/ numbers and the # of plates on each side...if you envision yourself pressing the weight it will help (sounds ridiculous but is true).


    I also liked to try negative reps and overload weight with a spotter, sometimes your body just needs to get used to handling more weight so you are comfortable handling a step up. Also when you press make sure your shoulderblades are squeezed together on the center of the bench, feet flat on the floor to drive through the pressing movement. During the lift squeeze the bar, it will help you add control to the lift and make it much easier, give it a shot.

    hope this helps
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    bulk up your chest w/ incline dumbbell presses and wide grip flat bench. Utilize dumbbells for a good solid stretch, get the blood in the pec and force a hard contraction (flex ur muscle) at the top of the rep. I personally love incline dumbbell flyes, but that is more for shaping the upper chest, not adding mass to it. Add mass w/ incline dumbbell presses sets of 6-8reps 5 sets (1 warm up set of 8 w/ a lighter weight)

    as far as injuries, i wouldnt worry too much, just stretch and have a spot. You seem like a younger guy (highschool?) so you'll bounce back pretty quick, take advantage of naturally high test while you can, eat alot train hard.

    Football most important lifts are squat, cleans, deads---basically anything that is going to strengthen your core and legs, as far as upper body triceps and shoulders are more important. Bench is good but i agree it is overrated.
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    When i played football in HS i weighed about 185lba in about 5-6 weeks i increased my bench in my senior year from 265-275 to about 305-315 with the bench like an animal program from the www.animalpak.com website, u slowly increase weights every week warming up for your last set at about 90% of your 1rm. Soon enough you will be repping your old max.
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    By pure speculation i am going to assume a few things..

    1) your shoulder strength is relatively strong by comparison.

    2) your incline and tricep excercises are stronger than flat and decline numbers.

    If these assumptions are true then you need to:

    1) keep your elbows at 45 degrees to your body and not lower the bar over your upper chest or neck during the lower portion. Lower just below the nipple line at whatever appropriate height for you.

    2) do not over extend yourself at the top of the rep (your shoulders should not rise substantially)

    3) squeeze your upper back to stretch your chest and maintain that posture while preventing your shoulders from rising by also flexing your lats. So your shoulder blades are together and down.

    4) Wide grip bench presses that focus on the bottom of your lifts since your over extention is loading your shoulders at the top.

    5) IF you have long arms do not touch your chest with the bar as this may cause a forward rotation of the shoulder when your chest has stretched as far as it can, causing once again a shoulder load, then the subsequent action of the shoulder doing the work primarily.

    You may or may not have shoulder issues (pain) or soreness following chest workouts due to overtraining when you also hit shoulders in the same week.

    Your bicep numbers may be good but development not as good due to strong shoulder interference.
    If not...
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    Quote Originally Posted by somewhatgifted View Post
    By pure speculation i am going to assume a few things..

    1) your shoulder strength is relatively strong by comparison.

    2) your incline and tricep excercises are stronger than flat and decline numbers.

    If these assumptions are true then you need to:

    1) keep your elbows at 45 degrees to your body and not lower the bar over your upper chest or neck during the lower portion. Lower just below the nipple line at whatever appropriate height for you.

    2) do not over extend yourself at the top of the rep (your shoulders should not rise substantially)

    3) squeeze your upper back to stretch your chest and maintain that posture while preventing your shoulders from rising by also flexing your lats. So your shoulder blades are together and down.

    4) Wide grip bench presses that focus on the bottom of your lifts since your over extention is loading your shoulders at the top.

    5) IF you have long arms do not touch your chest with the bar as this may cause a forward rotation of the shoulder when your chest has stretched as far as it can, causing once again a shoulder load, then the subsequent action of the shoulder doing the work primarily.

    You may or may not have shoulder issues (pain) or soreness following chest workouts due to overtraining when you also hit shoulders in the same week.

    Your bicep numbers may be good but development not as good due to strong shoulder interference.
    If not...
    it is very intresting that you say all this.. is this just a predisposed body type? All the things you say are very accurate in describing my strengths. Also your suggestions are spot on.. exactly what i have learned over the years.. I have had alot less shoulder pain after switching my shoulder day from the day after my chest workout to five days after my shoulder day. I was wondering about the bicep development issues. Why is it that development is not as good as numbers would suggest? would isolation excerises be better for development for this problem?
    Last edited by bigzach1234; 10-18-2008 at 07:55 AM. Reason: confusing sentence
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigzach1234 View Post
    it is very intresting that you say all this.. is this just a predisposed body type? All the things you say are very accurate in describing my strengths. Also your suggestions are spot on.. exactly what i have learned over the years.. I have had alot less shoulder pain after switching my shoulder day from the day after my chest workout to five days after my shoulder day. I was wondering about the bicep development issues. Why is it that development is not as good as numbers would suggest? would isolation excerises be better for development for this problem?

    It may be the result of a taller or ecto type individual but common among many guys who focus on weight rather than form, which is many people myself inlcuded at one point.

    Keep in mind your body is an amazing machine that independent of your bodybuilding dreams, uses what it has to most efficiently accomplish the task.

    It is up to you to interfere with the neurological and physical factors causing this repeating pattern.

    As for the Bicep issue...

    When performing bicep barbel curls it is imperative that you have your upper back and lats flexed to hold your shoulder joint from rotating unnecesarily and comming forward. It is likely that your lats and upper chest also facilitate a very strong bicep curl esp at the top of the movement.

    Heres how i set up to limit unexpected/unintended cheating...

    Feet shoulder width apart,

    Slight knee bend so that at the top of the lift your arm arc still has you working and limits the elbow moving forward.
    If you try to curl all the way up, while standing stright up, your upper arm (elbow to armpit) almost has to come in front of your body to allow this range of movement.
    Instead try to keep your elbows beside your body until the very top of the lift to cinch up the bicep, and with this the upper arm movement should be still very limited.

    The bicep is responsible for curling the lower arm (forearm and hand) as well as lifting it. SO incorporate a slow twist from top to bottom.

    To be continued... heading out right now.
  

  
 

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