help me increase my bench
- 06-13-2008, 12:42 AM
help me increase my bench
Hey. Ok heres my problem. I'm 6'4 with an arm span of 6+ feet. In high school i always gave the excuse that because i had long arms, it was harder for me to bench alot. However, i just figured it was because i was developed enough. But now i'm 19 and i'm lifting 4 times a week, chest being two of those days (mon and thurs). I do incline, regular, and decline bench and flys, and sometimes crossovers and pec deck machine, 3 or more sets of each. The same day i also do random tri workouts. I've gotten to the point where i'm wondering what is wrong with me. My buddy brags about how hes benchin 200 plus and hes no bigger than i am, however i'm stuck at around 145. Its actually kinda embarassing how kids in high school half my size are benchin more than what i can and i'm college. My pecs have definantly been getting bigger, however i'm not getting any strong and i have a big prob with that. I'm not trying to bench 300 lbs here, i just want to be able to say that i can bench 200 and not have to lie about it or use a max bench estimator to back up myself. So my question for you all is this: how can i achieve my goal. I'm not a *****. I have so much drive when i go to the gym and i love a good work out, but when i start to bench and plateu at a lousy 145, it diminishes everything i have. Is there a way for me to get my chest stronger. Maybe more reps less weight or more weight less reps? I just don't know whats wrong with me, but i feel pathetic. Any help? please...
- 06-13-2008, 01:39 AM
hrm... and here most of us are here happy to be getting bigger... what i do to increase strength (since i don't know how many reps you do at 145) is:
week 1 - 4x6
week 2 - 4x7 (try for 8)
week 3 - 4x8 (try for 9)
week 4 - 4x9 (try for 10)
week 5 - 4x10
week 6 - 4x6 (add 5 lbs per side)
week 7 - 4x7 (try for 8)
you see the pattern.
thats what seems to work for me. also triceps add to your bench press, so work them out harder. random tri workouts are not enough. dips, tricep rope pushdowns, reverse tricep pushdowns. do arms on their own day - i go for friday, since i can't do any serious lifting the day after an arm workout. lastly, the thing we forget most is rear delts - you might have heard a strong back increases max bench - this is why. this is what stabilizes your arms, and limits the amount of weight you can hold without injury. laying face down on an incline bench doing rear delt raises are very important for 300+ pound benches . i know you're not quite there yet, but you will be. the taller you are, the harder it is to lift more, just keep pushing yourself, and keep at it. hope this helps.
- 06-13-2008, 07:06 PM
fyi, at 145 i'm lucky to get 5 times with a spot, which is a big problem because i'm trying to ween myself off of always having a spot there. My schedule is so random that i never know the exact time i'm going to get to the gym
06-13-2008, 07:28 PM
I have a 77 inch reach and bench 365 at 28 years old (10years lifting experience off and on). Arm length is a huge factor in bench press, and I've had to work hard to get where I'm at (still not happy). The biggest tip I can give you is to use an extremely wide grip (a full hand width past the line), this will help to shorten up your stroke. The other is work tri's extremely hard, because the longer your arm are the stronger your tri's have to be. Most guys that bench what I do can't touch me on tri strength.
06-13-2008, 08:46 PM
well, if 5 is your max, drop to 135 4x6 and go from there - you've got to start at a weight you can do and build yourself up. once you can do 4x10, go to 140 4x6 and so forth.
06-13-2008, 10:01 PM
You are correct with the two day set-up. Both days should start with bench. Day 1 should be heavy, alternate weeks between sets of 3 reps and 5 reps. Get 3 at least three good sets in. Day 2 is for higher reps. Just get some volume in. On both days follow up with a dumbell press of your choice. Tricep work will help. Get you back thick with pull-ups and rows. Have at least two days rest between the days.
06-21-2008, 08:39 PM
i've kind of had a similar problem , what I've done lately is bench into my upper w/outs m&thurs, monday being higher rep, thursday is the day I try to increase strength. I've been doing just flat bench 5x3 one week, 5x4 next, 5x5 next, then up the weight and back to 5x3 etc. similar to sunclouds I guess. Also it seems like your doing too much with hitting your chest at every angle. I would say just work on upping your bench before worrying about all that.
06-22-2008, 01:37 PM
Keep your higher rep day "easy" in that on your last set you could do a few more reps. If you're already going heavy once per week, you pretty much have to do this. Also, all the fly work isn't going to help your bench. If you want to toss a little in to help the pecs grow some, fine, but don't think that pec dec or flyes will make a big bench. A huge part of benching is triceps, triceps, triceps and some triceps. I'm not talking pushdowns, kickbacks, etc, but heavy pressing.
You may want to start incorporating some pause work to build some more off the chest strength, which will be tough for you b/c initially your numbers will go down. Also work on scapular retraction (pinching shoulder blades) to build a better base to press from.
Matt Rhodes benched 475 raw and he's 6'4" and built like a volleyball player, so while your height is a factor, never use it as an excuse. Be patient, and try to do what you should do, not what you want to do. What I mean by this is that more isn't better, better is better.
06-22-2008, 03:20 PM
While I am not even close to 6'4" I can tell you a few things that helped my bench dramatically.
One of the things that worked best for me was doing decline with heavy weight.
I also try to do a lot of push ups on chest day. You would be surprised what they can do to your bench. Ever since I started doing push ups I have gotten thicker and much stronger on chest and tricep exercises.
06-22-2008, 04:14 PM
06-22-2008, 06:49 PM
06-22-2008, 07:11 PM
06-28-2008, 06:12 PM
Great suggestions as mentioned above. I am also 6'4", and in order to build up my chest, I did a combination of the things mentioned above. I used a wider grip, and built up some huge triceps. Another training strategy was to do a ton of pushups to start off the chest session, and do flat bench 10x3, decline 10x3, incline 10x3 to where the 3rd set you should fail at around the 5-7th rep. I did that twice a week with another person and gained a lot on my bench. You do have to leave your ego at the door as the weights you are doing to train that will be "less than impressive," but the outcome will be what you desire.
06-28-2008, 06:41 PM
Instead of finding more workouts to do, i would do less. I dont do any bodypart twice a week. My split is
Chest (sometimes tri's)
Back (sometimes bi's)
shoulders (sometimes tri's if not on chest day)
And its set up that way so i dont do smaller muscles before bigger ones, and i have enough time to rest between complimentary muscles. If your doing chest twice a week it's probly counterproductive, you most likely over training your chest, that would explain th increase in size. not strength. Your stressing the muscles fibers so they are inflamed, and getting bigger, but they never rest long enough to fully recover and make you stronger.
06-28-2008, 10:09 PM
To each their own on opinions. I did that from advise from a good friend that knows his workouts more than many on here, and it worked great. With 8 hours of sleep a night, I had no problem with recovery and strength increases.
06-28-2008, 10:23 PM
first off i am 5'10"...when i was trying to boost strength i'd train until i got 5x10 then up the weight....get 5x10 there and up it again, never did any inclines or declines. my max went up very quickly. form and back (my blessing) as mentioned is important too.
needless to say i long sense trained like that...you you are getting into bbing who cares about what you bench, let him stay the same size and you make constent gains, he soon will follow your leed!
06-28-2008, 10:24 PM
07-01-2008, 12:02 AM
i try eat every chance i get, low fat high protein. I've never really tracked calories so i dunno how many i consume a day.
On another note, I will say that one suggestion that i've gotten (to use wider grip) has help increase my bench. Also i've been doing lower reps higher sets, which seems to go in my favor.
07-01-2008, 12:42 AM
07-01-2008, 01:44 AM
Assistance exercises, as they are called, are very important. You neglect them and your max will be stuck.
there are dozens of other exercises you can be doing and still bring up your bench without touching a bench.
don't neglect lats either, the first 6 inches or so off the chest is assisted by the lats.
hit up the tri's in various exercises, hit the chest in all angles, isolation exercises for the chest and triceps. if you have hammer strength there, there is a shoulder machine where you can put your hand parallel or perpendicular to your chest, use the perpendicular grips.
07-02-2008, 05:37 PM
be careful with the wide grip benches. weightlifters shoulder to follow. its good for a start and to get you motivated, but you can't do that for 5 years and not have a serious problem brewing. anyone who has done ultra wide grip benches for 7+ years chime in and tell me if i'm wrong, or what other supplemental workouts you need to correct the problem.
07-02-2008, 08:51 PM
07-02-2008, 10:07 PM
07-02-2008, 10:54 PM
thanks for the response Hard Knox - just wanted to make sure we're not setting him up for future failure. i read an article about super wide benches today being the cause of weightlifters shoulder. do you do any rotator cuff exercises?
07-03-2008, 12:51 PM
this has probably been said before but....
work your back... a better back leads to more front work...
and pushups... do explosive pushups where you go down and pushup as hard and fast as you can to try to push yourself off the ground. idk what to call them but they work wonders. take some time off too. rebuild what you have ripped up and go from there
SFW and GFH
07-03-2008, 02:01 PM
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