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The Bench Press is my enemy


Pegesus
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Not sure if anyone else has experienced this but this is my dilemma. For some reason I cannot seem to get my bench up to a number I feel is adequate. I'm 165 lbs. And my 5RM is only my 165 lbs. I have made some improvements over the past couple of months but nothing to write home about. I think I've gone from 135 to 165 in the past 8 weeks. However during that time nearly every other exercise I have done has shown great improvements. My Deads have gone up over 120 lbs. My squats nearly the same. Hell even my isolation's on my triceps, biceps and shoulders have shown great improvements. But the flat bench is killing me.

 

I do flat bench twice per week 5 sets x 5 reps. Then one day a week I do Incline DB Presses 4 sets x 6 reps with Cable curls 4 x 6. Occasionally I throw in some push ups but I hurt my wrist so the only way I can do them is on my knuckles and that just for some reasons wears me out too fast so I limit them until my wrist heals fully.

 

This is the one exercise that for some reason has me aggravated. I feel I should be up higher closer to 200lbs but I don't see that happening anywhere in the remote future. I try to add 5 - 10 lbs each time i do the bench and I can never break past that 165 and complete the 5 x 5. I'm not about to half ass it either and not go down all the way just to make myself look better. I want to fully complete it with proper form.

 

Am I being to hard on myself and is this just one of those exercises that take alot of time to build up? Should I be doing more chest exercises than the 3 I'm doing now?

 

Thanks

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Try doing it once a week instead of twice a week.

 

Trying to lift heavy twice per week just doesn't work. Most of the time when a person trains a bodypart twice a week they have one heavy day and one light day. Unless you're doing Doggcrapp training, then it's a little different..

 

Do your flat benches once a week, and don't forget to allow adequate rest, and eat plenty of protein!

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I tried doing it only once a week in the past. Never made any real progression. Then I started up on a modified 5 x 5 and made the progression i am up to now. But I just can't seem to break it. I've been lifting 165 now for over 3 weeks. I mean I can put up more than that but I can't finish out a 5 x 5.

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Follow Marcina's advice. But replace the dropped second day of benching with overhead strict press, 5 X 5. Overhead strength complements benching strength nicely.

 

Drop the incline db presses, and the cable curls too (just because). I would actually try the above sequence - bench 5 X 5, press 5 X 5 - alternated every workout. So the first week you'll bench/press/bench again, the second week you'll press/bench/press again, and so on.

 

While doing this, stop the isolation work on your triceps/biceps/shoulders. You're only benching 165 for 5, you don't need isolation work - you need to be benching 200+ for 5.

 

Also, though it should go without saying, be sure to eat lots.

 

Am I being to hard on myself and is this just one of those exercises that take alot of time to build up?

 

The bench is going to improve slower than the squat and deadlift. But if you're steadily not making any progress now, that's not going to add up to anything in the future - you need to make small, but consistent, gains.

 

Should I be doing more chest exercises than the 3 I'm doing now?

 

I think I pretty much answered this above, but most definitely no. You need to be doing less chest exercises, not more.

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Thanks for the input.

 

While doing this, stop the isolation work on your triceps/biceps/shoulders. You're only benching 165 for 5, you don't need isolation work - you need to be benching 200+ for 5.

 

 

Out of curiosity is there a reason why the isolation is detrimental?

 

I do feel that lately I have been over working slightly was on 6 days a week dropped down to 5 and now to 4. 2 days I only do 5 x 5 on squat, bench, overhead and deadlift. The other 2 days were for direct back/shoulder/chest and biceps/triceps.

 

I am thinking of moving to a 3 day a week workout all 5 x 5 and see where that gets me. However for some reason I just feel that I will be neglecting my arms which I do enjoy working out.

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Out of curiosity is there a reason why the isolation is detrimental?

 

I do feel that lately I have been over working slightly was on 6 days a week dropped down to 5 and now to 4. 2 days I only do 5 x 5 on squat, bench, overhead and deadlift. The other 2 days were for direct back/shoulder/chest and biceps/triceps.

 

I am thinking of moving to a 3 day a week workout all 5 x 5 and see where that gets me. However for some reason I just feel that I will be neglecting my arms which I do enjoy working out.

 

The isolation work is bad because, coupled with the compound lifts, it's placing too much stress on your body, without contributing anything to your strength. Bench and Overhead is all you'll need for a long time for your arms and shoulders to grow. Doing a decent amount of volume on those two lifts (like the 5 X 5 program) is a recoverable stress. Your body adapts to the workouts by getting stronger. Throw in a bunch of curls, tricep extensions, flies, and delt raises, and it's much more likely that you're doing too much work.

 

The fact that you've been doing what sounds like large amounts of volume and not seeing strength gains is an indicator you're doing too much. By cyclying in overhead pressing along with the bench and ditching the upper body isolation, you should have a manageable (read: effective) workload while actually spending the same or more time doing the most effective lifts, those being benching and overhead pressing.

 

Moving to a 3 day/5X5 workout plan would be, in my opinion, a great idea. Looking at your current 4-day routine, I would think you'd do much better with a 3 day full-body plan. Right now you're doing 2 5X5 days, which is great, with 2 extra days seemingly aimed at overworking your upper body So again, ditching those last two days and subbing in another 5X5 day will net you more of the good stuff (compound lifts) and less of the stuff unnecessarily wearing your body down (isolation)

 

So, there's nothing exactly wrong with isolation lifts, but they're basically like spending your training energy and recovery ability in exchange for virtually nil. Since you are squatting, pulling, and pressing, I can only assume you want to get big and strong. And at this stage (and really, every subsequent stage of training) you need the big, compound lifts to get there.

 

Not sure what to tell you about working out your arms... they're going to be bigger if you go from repping a 165 bench to repping 200. If you go from cable curling 30 pounds to 35 pounds...not going to make as much of a difference.

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