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  1. #1
    The uncommitted christos_swc's Avatar
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    Should I bench press more often?

    I'be only been bench pressing once a week and I'm not happy with my progress although it's there.

    My current program (interested in developing strength only) is as follows:

    Day 1:
    Deadlift (or rack pulls every now and then)
    Lat pulldowns (not strong enough yet for pull ups for reps and I have to nurse my shoulder a bit)

    Day 2:
    Bench press
    Chin ups


    Day 3:
    Squat
    DB shoulder presses

    I fit all this in a week lol.

    I do some ab work with weights each time as well.

    I'm 36 and with a busy work schedule so I try to hit my body hard with compound exercises and get out of the gym.
    My recovery ability has never been great but I'm starting to feel once a week of bench pressing is holding me back.
    Maybe throw in another session doing sets for more reps than the 3-8 range I work on all my exercises?
    Or maybe back down on weight only slightly and do sets of 5-8 reps on both sessions?
    Something else?
    Not sure whats' the best option at this point, I want to get a move on with this exercise
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  2. #2
    Registered User 1ofthejuicys's Avatar
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    You could bench twice a week if you spread it out say monday go heavy bench, then thursday a lighter session, do a session of DB flys on the same days as bench, would help you aswell.
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  3. #3
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    IMO...I would put chin ups on day 1 since it's a back exc. Then on day 2 add about 2 more chest exc like d-bell presses or some incline presses of some type. Maybe hitting the chest from different angles will do the trick.
    "There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength." -Henry Rollins

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  4. #4
    The uncommitted christos_swc's Avatar
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    Well, chest development isn't exactly a goal of mine that's why I haven't added supporting exercises, looking to get stronger on the flat bench.
    Also I do not think of it in terms of Day 1 Back ,day 2 chest etc.
    It's those 6 exercises all in all so I fit them in there trying to keep a distance between squats and deads to help my lower back recuperate adequately and also avoid hitting my shoulders hard on the same day with two exercises if possible.
    I thought I'd also spread back exercises throughout the week rather than throw them in in one back session.
    After all if I did that it would leave me with little to do the rest of the week...
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    If you wanna build a bigger bench, I would bench more than once a week. Keep in mind you want to vary the weights/intensity.
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  6. #6
    Registered User silverlightning's Avatar
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    is this the mike mentzer routine? looks like a whole lot of nothing. you need at least 3 movements for each body part.
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  7. #7
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    Originally Posted by silverlightning View Post
    is this the mike mentzer routine? looks like a whole lot of nothing. you need at least 3 movements for each body part.
    You don't need 3 movements per body part. Is this from a specific program? I can understand if there's a specific regimen for a specific goal recommending three movements, but that's arbitrary when taken in a bigger picture.

    Originally Posted by christos_swc View Post
    Well, chest development isn't exactly a goal of mine that's why I haven't added supporting exercises, looking to get stronger on the flat bench.
    Also I do not think of it in terms of Day 1 Back ,day 2 chest etc.
    It's those 6 exercises all in all so I fit them in there trying to keep a distance between squats and deads to help my lower back recuperate adequately and also avoid hitting my shoulders hard on the same day with two exercises if possible.
    I thought I'd also spread back exercises throughout the week rather than throw them in in one back session.
    After all if I did that it would leave me with little to do the rest of the week...
    I take it you're going more for strength than big pecs. Give multiple times per week a shot for a couple months and see where you end up. I like the suggestion of one heavy (unable to complete more than 5 reps per set) and one less-heavy (not light, just being able to do more reps - say 8-10 per set) with at least one more set than the heavy day (the heavy day being 3-5 sets.

    Your other option is to try your normal routine with heavy singles at the end, then when you can't push singles any more, drop 5 pounds off the bar and knock out as many reps as you can. When you fail at that, drop 5 more pounds off the bar, and keep doing that until you're just done. You've been doing this long enough that I'm pretty sure you can tell when your body says it's done.

    Something to think about is where are you not making progress? Is it breaking contact, at lockout, or something else? There are a lot of different ways of improving bench, but you have to know exactly what your weak point is to address it intelligently.
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  8. #8
    Day 20 NoShave Nov. tmonkey's Avatar
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    Incline bench helped my flat bench

    i also think military presses will help your bench - but if you have a shoulder issue not sure how you would do either
    Thanks,
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  9. #9
    Registered User pastorgbc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by christos_swc View Post
    I'be only been bench pressing once a week and I'm not happy with my progress although it's there.

    My current program (interested in developing strength only) is as follows:

    Day 1:
    Deadlift (or rack pulls every now and then)
    Lat pulldowns (not strong enough yet for pull ups for reps and I have to nurse my shoulder a bit)

    Day 2:
    Bench press
    Chin ups


    Day 3:
    Squat
    DB shoulder presses

    I fit all this in a week lol.

    I do some ab work with weights each time as well.

    I'm 36 and with a busy work schedule so I try to hit my body hard with compound exercises and get out of the gym.
    My recovery ability has never been great but I'm starting to feel once a week of bench pressing is holding me back.
    Maybe throw in another session doing sets for more reps than the 3-8 range I work on all my exercises?
    Or maybe back down on weight only slightly and do sets of 5-8 reps on both sessions?
    Something else?
    Not sure whats' the best option at this point, I want to get a move on with this exercise
    You say you do not have a goal for a bigger cherst, yet you do not say what your goals are. If you are looking strictly at powerlifting, you can get by on benching once a week, but you have to have a plan and that plan should incled hitting the chest hard and heavy.

    For instance, if you look at the 5-3-1 program, you are benching once a week, but you will be hitting it hard and heavy as the weights increase.

    I do think you could add a little more assistance work to your routine. Dips would fit in nicely on your bench day, and some shrugs on shoulder day, with a couple of bb curls thrown in somewhere could work wonders.

    Ray
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  10. #10
    Registered User MACHZ's Avatar
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    I would bet you can gain more learning proper form benching. If you have good form great but 90% of the people I see really don't know how to bench and use more shoulder than chest.

    Even most the video's on you tube show guys benching with bad form so it's easy to see why so many people do it. I have started lifting with a powerlifter to try to gain strength not that I am going to be a powerlifter but I thought it the strength would help me add mass in the end.

    Anyway He started putting a towel under the small of my back, pushing my feet back, pulling my shoulders together, this has really helped my bench. I push from my toes and when I bench I keep back arched and my elbows in and bring the bar down to the lower part of my chest.

    I weigh 180 and I was stuck at 315 max for bench for the longest time and now in the lastfew weeks I have done 345 for one and I can get a few with 315 so it really has helped.

    Like I said I am looking more for the looks strong bodybuilding approach but I think gaining strength will get me there so if you want to gain a little strength make sure your form is in check and you may want to watch a few of Mark Rippetoe's video's.
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  11. #11
    The uncommitted christos_swc's Avatar
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    Thanks, some real good replies.
    The goal is to get strong, I won't be competing at powerlifting contests but I want to be able to lift heavy weights, heavy obviously being a relative term since I started out being pretty weak.
    I won't bulls*it people saying looks don't matter.
    But since strength is what I have decided to go for I remain set on that, have managed not to curl a weight in 9 months, saving my energy (and the well being of my joints) for the compound stuff.

    Originally Posted by Smelly bull View Post
    If you wanna build a bigger bench, I would bench more than once a week. Keep in mind you want to vary the weights/intensity.
    Yes, I'm leaning towards two workouts, one heavy (as usual) and the other lighter.
    At the end of the day it wouldn't hurt to try a few approaches, looking of course for the best tip to get started.


    Originally Posted by silverlightning View Post
    is this the mike mentzer routine? looks like a whole lot of nothing. you need at least 3 movements for each body part.
    No, it's self made.
    I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel but devising my own workout plan to achieve my own goals is half the fun for me.
    I really really dislike following set routines even though they've been shown to work for lots of people.


    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    I take it you're going more for strength than big pecs. Give multiple times per week a shot for a couple months and see where you end up. I like the suggestion of one heavy (unable to complete more than 5 reps per set) and one less-heavy (not light, just being able to do more reps - say 8-10 per set) with at least one more set than the heavy day (the heavy day being 3-5 sets.

    Your other option is to try your normal routine with heavy singles at the end, then when you can't push singles any more, drop 5 pounds off the bar and knock out as many reps as you can. When you fail at that, drop 5 more pounds off the bar, and keep doing that until you're just done. You've been doing this long enough that I'm pretty sure you can tell when your body says it's done.

    Something to think about is where are you not making progress? Is it breaking contact, at lockout, or something else? There are a lot of different ways of improving bench, but you have to know exactly what your weak point is to address it intelligently.
    I have done strip sets in the past.
    Along with supersets, forced reps and the like my body has shown a tendency to throw in the towel after a couple of workouts.
    They really take a toll on me, it's one or two great workouts and then a week off feeling dead tired.
    My sticky point is a few inches off the chest, I guess it's where the pecs really start to come in.
    My two strongest bodyparts are triceps and delts in this order so lock out is easy and so is getting it off the chest initially.
    Please read my reply to MACHZ on this at the end of the post.

    Originally Posted by tmonkey View Post
    Incline bench helped my flat bench

    i also think military presses will help your bench - but if you have a shoulder issue not sure how you would do either
    Unfortunately incline press is the worst possible angle for me to hit my injured right shoulder.
    It's an old injury and in check at the moment but only because I take care of it I guess.
    Lots of ice helps too.
    I do DB shoulder presses instead of BB for the same reason.
    I guess life is full of compromises...

    Originally Posted by pastorgbc View Post
    You say you do not have a goal for a bigger cherst, yet you do not say what your goals are. If you are looking strictly at powerlifting, you can get by on benching once a week, but you have to have a plan and that plan should incled hitting the chest hard and heavy.

    For instance, if you look at the 5-3-1 program, you are benching once a week, but you will be hitting it hard and heavy as the weights increase.
    I'd say yes, I reckon if I threw in a couple more heavy sets in my single workout I would be making better progress.
    I'm a bit afraid of attacking this exercise too much though, I reckon more people have done some permanent damaged benching than deadlifting.
    I'm not in real danger with the sort of weights I'm pushing at the moment but the more you add the harder it gets.
    A hardcore squat workout takes me through the whole week making some great progress, no such hardcore stuff for my bench pressing, I get a bit of pain at my heaviest weight so don't do a lot of sets.




    Originally Posted by MACHZ View Post
    I would bet you can gain more learning proper form benching. If you have good form great but 90% of the people I see really don't know how to bench and use more shoulder than chest.

    Even most the video's on you tube show guys benching with bad form so it's easy to see why so many people do it. I have started lifting with a powerlifter to try to gain strength not that I am going to be a powerlifter but I thought it the strength would help me add mass in the end.

    Anyway He started putting a towel under the small of my back, pushing my feet back, pulling my shoulders together, this has really helped my bench. I push from my toes and when I bench I keep back arched and my elbows in and bring the bar down to the lower part of my chest.

    I weigh 180 and I was stuck at 315 max for bench for the longest time and now in the lastfew weeks I have done 345 for one and I can get a few with 315 so it really has helped.

    Like I said I am looking more for the looks strong bodybuilding approach but I think gaining strength will get me there so if you want to gain a little strength make sure your form is in check and you may want to watch a few of Mark Rippetoe's video's.
    My form I'm pretty sure sucks.
    I'm pulling my shoulders together alright, chest out, back arched and everything.
    But although I tried benching with elbows tucked in as well it didn't work for me so it's elbow out for me, feels better.
    What I'm doing wrong is that I'm inconsistent with the bar path.
    I know I have to fix this though because no two reps are the same.
    I started stopping the bar a couple of inches short of hitting the chest and have kept that.

    Lately one of the new gym stuff is a very well developed bodybuilder who seems to know
    his stuff came over and gave me a couple of tips.
    He told me to never accelerate the bar hard or I would wreck my elbows.
    Also told me to stop the bar short of lock out, elbows still quite bent, then lower the bar and stop above chest like I already did.
    According to him touching the chest hits a lot of delts, locking out hits a lot of triceps.
    So I worked a few sets with this limited range of motion and for the first time I stopped through pec fatigue rather than delts giving up.
    Although no more cracking sounds from elbows.
    I know there's a contradiction in there somewhere, I'm supposed to be doing compounds for overall strength, so I do want my delts and triceps to get a good workout out of this.
    But it definitely felt like a great and safe technique and it's the exact part of the ROM I'm having trouble with.
    I'm doing more and more of my sets each workout this way.

    In conclusion I will definitely give two workouts a week a go.
    I feel pretty confident it will accelerate my progress on the lift after these responses.
    I'm doing three pulling exercises (deads or rack pulls, chin ups and pulldowns) vs only two pressing exercises (bench and shoulder presses).
    I guess there's room in there for pressing weight one more time a week anywayz.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by MACHZ View Post
    I push from my toes and when I bench I keep back arched and my elbows in and bring the bar down to the lower part of my chest.
    Like I said this hasn't worked for me, I feel disadvantaged lowering the bar to the lower part of the chest.
    But maybe I should persist with it since most people agree it's easier on the shoulders.
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    I have seen some of the videos of the big monster benches and the technique used. I think we all agree that decline benches are much easier than a true flat bench. Standing up on your toes and having your hips a foot over the bench starts to turn into a decline bench just for the sake of throwing up a big number. IMHO
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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by christos_swc View Post

    I'm 36 and with a busy work schedule so I try to hit my body hard with compound exercises and get out of the gym.
    My recovery ability has never been great but I'm starting to feel once a week of bench pressing is holding me back.
    Maybe throw in another session doing sets for more reps than the 3-8 range I work on all my exercises?
    Or maybe back down on weight only slightly and do sets of 5-8 reps on both sessions?
    Something else?
    Not sure whats' the best option at this point, I want to get a move on with this exercise
    Bench away .. 2-3x a week but make sure you alternate the bench press with a standing press, muscle imbalance lead to RC injuries..

    You can bench press in the 3-5 reps range one day, 10-15 the other day and heavy single the 3rd day
    press heavy on the 1st and 3rd day
    adjust the load accordingly so that the middle day is a light press say 60-70% your 1rm
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    if its simply getting a stronger bench press your after I think you need to throw in a shoulder press excercise, any will do(military, dumbell, barbell, sitting, standing) it doesnt matter which but stronger shoulders do equal a stronger bench definatly. Also you say you have strong triceps already but again the strongr they are the stronger your bench will get so maybe throw in a few sets of close grip bench or hammer grip presses with dumbells which will work the triceps hard and also hit the chest differently.

    In my opinion just doing flat bench to improve flat bench although the obvious aproach is the wrong approach
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    Benching once every 5th day is a start, then up the frequency and adjust load/volume weekly

    You'll need stronger lats, triceps and front delts too. So coordinate a few assistance lifts as appropriate. As mentioned above, the Military press is great if you can do it safely. I've also increased my bench doing deadstop Floor Presses.

    Also with all that pushing, you need to balance that with pulling work. Don't forget your rear delts will become a major weakness from frequent push (bench) work.
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    Some really good suggestions here for a bigger bench. I absolutely think you should bench twice a week if you can manage the recovery. I personally wouldnt use the same routine both days however. My bench strength really took off when i threw in a speed training day for chest. I was lifting chest every 5-6 days in my rotation. I simply lowered my 80%of max to about 55-65% and concentrated on the explosive movement. This took my bench press to another level.

    But of course, as stated above, heavy tricep, delt, and lat work helped as well. Standing Press FTW some may say.

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    I'd put BB rows in there somewhere. I'd also look hard at your form. If you want to put a 2nd day in there, you have a couple of options. You could 1) do it as a speed day (8 sets of 2 @ 60% of your 1RM) 2) do something like the Boring But Big aspect of 5/3/1 (do 5 sets of 10 @ 50% of your 1RM) after your bench work or in place of the speed work.
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    There's a reason why powerlifters follow a spefific program ; it works. If yours isn't ), pick onr wnd follow it.

    3 exercises for each body is the standard since the invention of weights.
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    If strength is your main goal, focus more on tricep strength and adding power movements lke speed bench press.
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