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  1. #1
    Registered User redrabbit's Avatar
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    Why am I so weak at bench press

    For months now I've been frustrated that my bench press is just not improving.

    I have in the past worked it out once a week, always starting with incline DB press and then moving onto flat barbell bench press. I did that to take the emphasis and pressure off as I was over thinking it.

    This week I have started working chest twice a week:

    Chest - A:

    Incline Barbell Press
    Decline Barbell Press
    Seated bench press

    Chest - B:

    Incline DB Press
    Flat Bench press (8 reps on each set)
    DB Flys


    So in short, my weight I'm lifting is pathetically low compared to my size and other lifts. It is actually embarrassing in a way and just won't improve.

    Any thoughts?
    GOALS for 2009:
    `````````````````````````````
    6 x 90kg (198lbs) bench & 1x100kg (220lbs)
    6 x 120kg (264lbs) deadlift
    6 x 110kg (242lbs) squat

    Cycle more for cardio
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  2. #2
    Registered User themilkybarkid's Avatar
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    cant really see exactly where you are going wrong but i can give a few suggestions: i would advise increasing your over head press and skullcrushers (or something similar) and work in the 4-6 rep range so the focus is more on explosive strength rather than hypertrophy in your shoulders and triceps.
    also, i would consider leaving incline press till the end of the workout as it uses the shoulders the most out of all bench variations and your later exercises may suffer. furthermore, i would reduce your benching to 1-2 exercises on each chest workout. e.g.

    A- decline bench, flat bench

    B- flat bench, incline bench

    often the problem when reaching a plateau is too much volume rather than too little. i do believe however that increasing the frequency will be beneficial though
    "The journey to a place worth getting to is never easy but pain is only temporary, victory is forever" - Jeremy H.

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  3. #3
    Maryland as fuk dweeegs's Avatar
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    Is it just your flat bench that's stuck or is it both incline and flat?
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  4. #4
    Registered User matjusm's Avatar
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    I too am generally frustrated with my lack of bench press strength and my long arm span certainly doesn't help. However there are things you can do to improve yourself.

    Things that helped improve my bench press:

    1) If you want to get stronger at a lift, you have to train that lift. So if your goal is to get stronger at the classic flat barbell bench, start with that first. Remember, you're training the lift.

    2) More sets and less reps. Reps of 8-10 will yield some strength gains but nowhere near as much as lower rep sets would. 5x5 is a good classic setup for strength gains. A program I did had you take 80% of your 1RM and start off with doing it 6x2. Then you move on to 6x3 and you keep upping the reps until you get to 6x6.

    3) Focus on speed. Don't push the bar up slowly, instead give it all you got and push up with maximal speed.

    4) Train more often (which you now seem to be doing), doing a lift just once a week isn't going to yield much results. Most strength athletes train their lifts multiple times a week.
    Strength + Speed = Power

    If you never fail, you aren't truly pushing yourself to the limit. If you never push yourself to the limit, how do you know what you're truly capable of?
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  5. #5
    Registered User redrabbit's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the quick and helpful replies.

    It is just my flat bench that is a problem. It is not a plateau, it is just a starting point. In other words, it hasn't even increased at all.

    I see your point about lowering the reps, as my triceps and shoulders to fatigue quickly and maybe before my chest.

    I definitely agree with training the lift. I will include it in both Chest A and Chest B.

    Thanks again
    GOALS for 2009:
    `````````````````````````````
    6 x 90kg (198lbs) bench & 1x100kg (220lbs)
    6 x 120kg (264lbs) deadlift
    6 x 110kg (242lbs) squat

    Cycle more for cardio
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  6. #6
    Ain't nothin but a peanut Kevin204's Avatar
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    If you're looking for number gains, going 8+ reps isn't the correct route, thats better suited for putting on size. Try a 5x5 program to get yourself into Strength training, and then there are countless other options to try (like 5/3/1)
    Dumbbell chest press all day
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  7. #7
    Registered User redrabbit's Avatar
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    I do want size and have gained in other areas, e.g. through back and other chest exercises.

    However, strength wise it is actually embarrassing how weak my chest is at bench press. I don't have an ego or attitude in the gym, but my size does not match my bench press at all.
    GOALS for 2009:
    `````````````````````````````
    6 x 90kg (198lbs) bench & 1x100kg (220lbs)
    6 x 120kg (264lbs) deadlift
    6 x 110kg (242lbs) squat

    Cycle more for cardio
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  8. #8
    Registered User Sprog's Avatar
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    I've always struggled with barbell bench press im currently on 100kg for 5 still. Where as my db bench is up to 52.5kg for 6.

    I switched back to bb a month ago and i got my form down as best i could and its helped me alot as i've now managed to take out most of my shoulders from the lift as they used to suck and give me pain while benching.

    Each week since ive switched back to bb and got the form i've managed to increase the weight, so i'd suggest check your form and if it needs correcting correct it because its helping me a ton.

    Also heavy shoulder/tri workouts have helped too.

    And do you warm up your shoulders before benching? I always do 5lb dbs with some Pressing movement, lateral raises and some RC work to really warm the shoulders up, it reduced the pain while benching and improved my shoulder flexibility.
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  9. #9
    Greek God Of War DJBrickman's Avatar
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    This happened to me as well. I found that my back was weak. You may look into your back strength. If your back cant support the weight you are trying to lift, you will not be able to gain in your bench as well.

    This was my experience. As my back increased in strength, my bench numbers went up fast.
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  10. #10
    Registered User redrabbit's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Sprog View Post
    I've always struggled with barbell bench press im currently on 100kg for 5 still. Where as my db bench is up to 52.5kg for 6.

    I switched back to bb a month ago and i got my form down as best i could and its helped me alot as i've now managed to take out most of my shoulders from the lift as they used to suck and give me pain while benching.

    Each week since ive switched back to bb and got the form i've managed to increase the weight, so i'd suggest check your form and if it needs correcting correct it because its helping me a ton.

    Also heavy shoulder/tri workouts have helped too.

    And do you warm up your shoulders before benching? I always do 5lb dbs with some Pressing movement, lateral raises and some RC work to really warm the shoulders up, it reduced the pain while benching and improved my shoulder flexibility.

    I am quite sure my form is good as I have done a hell of a lot of work on it in the past.

    I have been lifting for a long time now, and although some things are hit and miss, I am generally of a good size now.

    Incline Dumbell Press is: 8x 37.5KG (8 x 82 lbs)
    Barbell Bench Press: 8x 80KG (8 x 176 lbs)

    I will try:

    - switching flat bb to the first exercise
    - doing a few presses with a very light dumbell
    GOALS for 2009:
    `````````````````````````````
    6 x 90kg (198lbs) bench & 1x100kg (220lbs)
    6 x 120kg (264lbs) deadlift
    6 x 110kg (242lbs) squat

    Cycle more for cardio
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  11. #11
    Registered User darrenash's Avatar
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    What is your goal?

    If it's just to increase muscle mass, don't worry about BB bench, if it's not working for you. Stick with DB bench.

    If you are strictly looking for a higher bench, you may want to do some searches for 'power lifting' bench technique. I train more for athletics, but did give the power lifting technique a try once and was amazed at how much more I could lift by following the pointers.
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