Bench Problem...help - AnabolicMinds.com

Bench Problem...help

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    srx600's Avatar
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    Bench Problem...help


    I am 5"11 190lbs, all natural and have been lifting going on 3 years. I started at 155lbs (endo surprisingly). My bench seems to really be having problems. I don't know if it's flexibility or what but bringing the bar any closer than 2-3inches to my chest and the shoulders/chest feel really strained and it is a HUGE sticking point. A half inch difference in the depth of downward motion could make a 30lb difference in the weight I can lift.

    I see guys smaller than me moving more weight and easily going all the way down. I know I can do 185lbs for a few reps, but probably can't bring it all the way down (pitiful) . Yesterday, a guy with a very similar build put up 245lbs and I think with my experience and size I should be able to. I know that my wrist are way small and that is a weak point, but I just want to know how I can improve that lower part of the lift and maybe it can unlock some strength gains.

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    My bench is totally bull**** too. Bench has always been my worst movement. I have wide shoulders and a small frame judging by my small wrists if that makes sense. And i have the same problem, bringing it to my chest makes it so much harder. it's like once i get it down there my arms are stretched way out and i have no leverage on it. Same boat as you man, don't know what i can do to change it, or if it really matter bringning it down that extra 2-3 inches.. it feels so unnatural when i go that low, maybe we're just built diff lol..
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    Maybe lighten the load and try to do the entire range of motion for awhile?

    Is the problem still there if you were to do incline or switch to dumbbells instead of the barbell?

    Just throwing around some ideas.
    "I am legally blind and if I can Squat,deadlift and over all get myself to the gym then anyone can get their a$$ in gear and get strong!!" - malleus25
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    Try incorporating some extreme stretching..

    For the chest, you'll get 2 moderately heavy dumbbells, position yourself on a flat bench so your upper back is on, lower back and butt completely off, let your butt drop, keeping your chest pushed out, and bring the dbells as low as you possibly can towards your chest (just like a dbell bench) and hold it there for 30-60 seconds.. It'll hurt like a biatch, but it may help you out.
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    just some ideas to help bring up a bench....

    focus on pulling moves - the body naturally wants to balance muscle mass and strength. bringing up your back will actually help your bench.

    correct hand placement - this can make a 5-15% difference in the amount of weight lifted! use the circle grooved into the bar to help you position your hands. an averge grip usually puts your outside palm touching this line.

    feet flat on the floor - the bench height should be set so that your legs form a 90 degree bend with your feet flat on the floor to help stabilize so you can exert maximum force. feet should not move during the lift but use the floor to press with and get more power into your lift.

    slight arch - an arch of the trunk reduces the distance that the bar travels, increases the potential contribution of the lats and lower pecs, and creates an arc in the lift, as opposed to being straight up. all of this translates into more weight being lifted. before you start your lift slide your bum/hips up closer to your shoulders and hold this position during your lift. powerlifters use an even more dramatic arch.

    shoulder blade position - most of the load goes through your shoulderblades. learn to use your shoulder blades as nonmoving, stable points of action-reaction. shoulders should be down and back to make your shoulderblades tucked tightly behind you on the bench. keeping them in this position can add as much as 5% more on your bench.

    hold your breath - at the hardest part of the move (the sticking point) hold your breath for a brief moment. this tightens your core and assists in the expression of force and maintains a firmer structure from which to drive (more important in pushing than pulling movements). breaths during the remainder of the lift should be shallow and quick to avoid losing this firm base.
    Last edited by Hank Vangut; 04-16-2008 at 12:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by srx600 View Post
    I am 5"11 190lbs, all natural and have been lifting going on 3 years. I started at 155lbs (endo surprisingly). My bench seems to really be having problems. I don't know if it's flexibility or what but bringing the bar any closer than 2-3inches to my chest and the shoulders/chest feel really strained and it is a HUGE sticking point. A half inch difference in the depth of downward motion could make a 30lb difference in the weight I can lift.

    I see guys smaller than me moving more weight and easily going all the way down. I know I can do 185lbs for a few reps, but probably can't bring it all the way down (pitiful) . Yesterday, a guy with a very similar build put up 245lbs and I think with my experience and size I should be able to. I know that my wrist are way small and that is a weak point, but I just want to know how I can improve that lower part of the lift and maybe it can unlock some strength gains.
    You arent the only one mate. My bench sucks as well.

    I am 5ft 11 190 10% bf, close to what you are. I struggle to top 185 with good form. However I am able to do 8 reps of 100 lbs dumbells no sweat. In other words I am able to lift more dumbbell than barbell weight, go figure!

    It is more to do with the way your body is built and form I suppose. Bench would f@ck up my shoulders so stopped doing it and headed to dumbbell rack. Worked for me.
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    Some what in an opposite to you. I had trouble getting more weight when bringing it to touch my chest, so I started stopping about 1.5 inches short of my chest and my strength went up, up.

    A wider grip, might, MIGHT, help you get lower, but the weight will not be as heavy; although, in time (short time) you'll get back up in weight and probably overshoot your previous.
    Last edited by hardknock; 04-16-2008 at 12:26 PM. Reason: also
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    bench


    I really think it might be my/our build as some of you have said. Long arms + small wrists + narrow shoulders = pitiful bench. I envy the guys who are 5"10 or 5"8 and have a short RM and can put up massive weight. That last 2 inches just feels like something is going to tear when you use enough weight. DB's seem a little easier, but again it depends on how low you go....I think I can go lower with them though. How about using the smith? I will try some of the suggestions thus far on Sunday, which is my next chest day, and let you know how I make out.
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