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Old 12-06-2012, 11:26 AM   #1
KIAman
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Default Bench press questions

My bench has been stuck at 225lbs for quite a while now. The main reason why I don't progress is because I could never finish 5 reps with 225lbs, usually only going 4 reps then eventually 3 reps in later sets. About a month ago I tried 1RM at 230lbs but couldn't even do a single rep. So I figured once I could hammer down 5 reps of 225lbs, I would be ready to try 230lbs for a 1RM again.

Well, strange thing last night. I could only do 4 reps of 225lbs like typical but the first 2 reps felt pretty easy, just the last 2 felt like a struggle. I did 5 sets of 4 reps at 225lbs then just for the hell of it, I put on 230lbs. I did a single rep pretty easily. Shocked, I added another 5lbs and repped it easily again. I got a spotter and did 240lbs for 2 reps and last rep was assisted by my spotter.

So... wtf. I don't understand the relationship between strength and rep endurance. Something feels wrong here. I can only rep 225lbs about 4-5 times before it feels like failure. For over a month I couldn't increase my weight even for a single rep then out of nowhere I can push 240lbs for 3 reps AFTER I completed 5 sets at 225lbs (making me more tired). It seems wrong. If I can do 240lbs for 3 reps, wouldn't I easily be able to do 225lbs for 5 reps?

I see other guys do a 1RM at 240lbs then pump out 10 reps at 225lbs, but I just don't have the gas. What is going on, does my endurance just suck that bad?
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:51 AM   #2
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http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...zone_the_bench

I would make sure you are benching properly first. Most bench problems occur because of technique with beginners.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by surfsatwerk View Post
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...zone_the_bench

I would make sure you are benching properly first. Most bench problems occur because of technique with beginners.
Thanks for the tips but I think you completely missed my question.

TL;DR, why can I only rep 225lbs 4 times (almost failure) but can rep 240lbs 3 times.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by KIAman View Post
Thanks for the tips but I think you completely missed my question.

TL;DR, why can I only rep 225lbs 4 times (almost failure) but can rep 240lbs 3 times.
Because of a million different reasons, so I would rather offer a link that can help you bench correctly so you can eventually eliminate that as one of your problems.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:26 PM   #5
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I'm exactly the same way. No rep endurance on bench but every once in a while I can do 245 out of nowhere.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KIAman View Post
Thanks for the tips but I think you completely missed my question.

TL;DR, why can I only rep 225lbs 4 times (almost failure) but can rep 240lbs 3 times.
If you're not benching with proper form you'll exhaust smaller muscle groups faster, meaning you'll get less reps but can move more weight. I can bodybuilder bench press(wide elbows) 315x5 and 345x3 but I can power lifter bench press(narrow elbows) 355x5. The issues with wide elbows is it relies more on the pec minor and front delts more than the chest. They're smaller and have a harder time moving the same weight over and over. But they can still manage a few reps at a slightly heavier weight, 15lbs is only about a 7% increase in weight.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:25 PM   #7
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I see other guys do a 1RM at 240lbs then pump out 10 reps at 225lbs, but I just don't have the gas. What is going on, does my endurance just suck that bad?
If other guys are doing 1x10 of 225 right after getting 245 for a 1RM, they're doing something wrong themselves. They should have a 1RM closer to 300 (based off the 225 reps) or should only be able to do 1x3-4 reps of 225.

And you are probably not as far from the average rep range as you think. Just as an example, if you're able to do 4x reps @225 and 2x reps (unassisted) @240, you're right on track to have a 1RM of 245, based on the Brzycki formula. Or right on track for a 255 max using the Epley formula. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-repetition_maximum

Those estimators aren't perfect, but they're close enough to give you a good idea of what your 1RM should be, or approximately how many reps you should be able to do at a given weight.

And as surf said, it could be many things. Maybe after a couple of heavy reps you're unconsciously letting something slip in your technique? Who knows.

Last edited by tedrodai; 12-06-2012 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:58 PM   #8
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I was stuck at 315 for a long time, then I had a trainer help me with technique and cut back on the number of times I benched each week, from 4 to 2. Then I cruised right by. You may not be giving your muscles enough time to repair, often in this discipline "less is more".
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:01 PM   #9
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Ok, I spent couple hours last night reading the entire Dave Tate's article and looking through all the suggested links and videos. There is a ton of information in there.

I think my main issue is technique and some mental.

The mental was easy. I tried and failed a 1rm at 230lbs so I thought that was the most I could bench press.


As for technique, I have to admit my legs are floppy when doing the bench press and I am not tight as I need to be. I'll apply his tips on driving my heels to the floor. I still don't really understand leg drive. If I drive my heels down, doesn't that lift my butt in the air? How does that improve tightness in my upper back?!?

Also, I lift the bar off the rack rather than pull it down so I *might* have loose shoulders as a result, although my shoulders feel like a solid rock on the bench so not really sure if this is the case for me but I will make a mental note.

I do the bench press every 4 days or so, I am getty plenty of rest there, although I do work my triceps pretty hard all the time so that might be a factor.

And thanks for the calculation, tedrodai. I guess I'm not really that far off and those other guys I see are having issues of there own. LOL.

As a final note, I tried racking 245lbs and holding the weight in the air without lowering it. This weight feels REALLY heavy. I can feel my wrist and shoulders compress from the weight... I can't even imagine trying to lower that to my chest. Maybe I need to work on my wrist muscles as Pantlez said. Get my smaller muscles stronger or something. Something for me to chew on.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:08 PM   #10
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Keep at it you will make progress.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KIAman View Post


As for technique, I have to admit my legs are floppy when doing the bench press and I am not tight as I need to be. I'll apply his tips on driving my heels to the floor. I still don't really understand leg drive. If I drive my heels down, doesn't that lift my butt in the air? How does that improve tightness in my upper back?!?

no... with proper arch, you cannot lift your butt. when benching for strength, you put yourself into a rather uncomfortable position.


Also, I lift the bar off the rack rather than pull it down so I *might* have loose shoulders as a result, although my shoulders feel like a solid rock on the bench so not really sure if this is the case for me but I will make a mental note.
You need to keep your shoulders tight. they should be tight and set in place before the lift starts

I do the bench press every 4 days or so, I am getty plenty of rest there, although I do work my triceps pretty hard all the time so that might be a factor.

IMHO, you aren't getting enough rest. If you are lifting heavy and with intensity, 1 time per week is enough. what do you mean you train your triceps hard "all the time"? train arms(triceps) 1 time per week. they are getting hit on chest days as well as any shoulder trainging -> OHP, military. with a dedicated arm day, you are training them 3 times

And thanks for the calculation, tedrodai. I guess I'm not really that far off and those other guys I see are having issues of there own. LOL.

As a final note, I tried racking 245lbs and holding the weight in the air without lowering it. This weight feels REALLY heavy. I can feel my wrist and shoulders compress from the weight... I can't even imagine trying to lower that to my chest. Maybe I need to work on my wrist muscles as Pantlez said. Get my smaller muscles stronger or something. Something for me to chew on.
the negative is very important. If you get your technique down, your back will handle the negative and allow you to handle the heavier weights.... and when "I" say heavier weights, I mean 400-500 lbs
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:16 PM   #12
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Yeah, when I say I train my triceps, it is because they are impacted by all pushing and pressing movements I do. So, they get worked out at least 3 times a week with high intensity. My biceps only get worked out by rows and pullups, LOL. They feel so weak compared to my triceps.

My biceps feel soft when not flexing but my triceps are hard ALL the time even when not flexing. I'm not sure if that's normal or not, lol.

The biggest issue for me is that I really don't have a goal. Initially, it was just to get stronger so I can keep up with my boys and toss them in the air when I wanted. But now I can already do that, I'm not sure how far I want to go, LOL. I got to think this through a little more to see where I'm going with this. It's been almost 1 year since I've started lifting so maybe I'm just getting the 1 year itch.

My next benching will be Monday, I'll report back on the stuff I've learned and applied.
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Last edited by KIAman; 12-08-2012 at 12:22 PM.
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