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  1. #1
    Hewn from a dream NeinLives's Avatar
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    Bench Press - Stuck at 135 lbs?!

    Firstly: Stop laughing.


    I've been training off-and-on since late January. At that time, my bench was 100 lbs. Now, I'm stuck at 135 x 5. This is incredibly weak, especially considering that I weigh 145 lbs.

    I began Rippetoe's back in July, and haven't seen gains anywhere except for in my squats. (I started at 135 lbs, and now I'm up to 255 lbs.) Oh, and, by the way, I haven't really gained any weight during that time. I *think* I was 135 lbs at the start, but I can't be sure. Everyone tells me that I look bigger, but I can't see the difference. At one point, I was up to 155 lbs, but I ate so much then! I'd eat a small meal every two to three hours, and in betweens meals, fruits and healthy snacks (e.g., granola bars).

    Anyway, what's the matter with me? Why does my squat continue to go up, but my bench stand still?

    By the way, it is my goal to get up to 180 lbs with single-digit body fat. Is this a realistic goal for someone with my stats?

    5'7"
    145 lbs
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  2. #2
    Banned johnny87's Avatar
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    i would stick w/ rippetoe and do dips. dips have done wonders for my bench, atleast IMO.

    also, i would try to eat more. Maybe that is why u have stalled out some. To not gain weight at 145 u must be eating very little
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  3. #3
    Doesn't rep back SwagMorris's Avatar
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    No body's laughing at you benching 135, if they are, they're ass holes.

    Simple solution, go back to eating like you used to. Eat as much as you can, and don't shy away from sweets for right now. Don't go overboard with junkfood/sweets, keep it moderate.

    And yes, your goals are realistic. You can be there in a year.
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  4. #4
    Hewn from a dream NeinLives's Avatar
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    Yeah. To be perfectly honest, I work full-time and go to school full-time, so I don't eat much at all. Could that, in itself, kill my bench?
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  5. #5
    Doesn't rep back SwagMorris's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NeinLives
    Yeah. To be perfectly honest, I work full-time and go to school full-time, so I don't eat much at all. Could that, in itself, kill my bench?
    With a depleted carb diet, bench is first to lose strength/halt progress.

    Or so I've heard.
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  6. #6
    Registered User waywardryan's Avatar
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    Don't worry so much about what people think. That sort of nonsense will get you to stop going to the gym. EVERYBODY had to start somewhere. All the E-thugs started at 135 just like you so relax.

    Try switching to a 10-8-6 or a 12-10-8-6 or something, for a while. Switch things up and you'll see more progress. Also think about doing DB, it helps a lot.
    Height: 6'1 (ecto, long arms and legs)
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  7. #7
    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    so when were u 155???

    if u lost 10 lbs then of course it hurts your strength


    so how many sets of 135x5 can you do?? once you can do around 3 sets of 5 at 135 you should be able to do at least one set of 5 at 140
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  8. #8
    Hewn from a dream NeinLives's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by John Prophet
    so when were u 155???

    if u lost 10 lbs then of course it hurts your strength


    so how many sets of 135x5 can you do?? once you can do around 3 sets of 5 at 135 you should be able to do at least one set of 5 at 140
    I've done three sets of 135 lbs, and then gone on to one set of 140 lbs, but my form was so poor (and I lost the last rep) that I don't even count it.
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  9. #9
    Registered User tbush's Avatar
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    most people i see in the gym never get above 135 even over the 2 years I've been there, it seems to be a pretty standard bench so no one is laughing. Do you do incline bench press? Adding that to your routine and strengthening your upper chest, or alternating barbell bench press with dumbbell bench press may help also. If I were you and I wanted to gain weight and get to 180 then I would start eating like you used to, a meal every 3-4 hours is a pretty solid way to gain weight healthily. I go to school full-time too but I find a way to have at least 500 calories every three hours for 6 meals a day, even if it means packing two or three lunches to campus with me. Cooking at night and refrigerating it until you throw it into your backpack in the morning is the easiest thing to do. your bench could also be a function of shoulder and tricep strength like someone previously noted, so make sure those muscle groups are gaining too.
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  10. #10
    Registered User paolo2k2's Avatar
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    hey buddy...try a weight where u can do 2 reps...keep doing this for max 3 weeks...once u do 3 reps add more weight so u keep it at 2 reps...now go back to 135 and see what happens...if u wanna blast through that plateua shock ur body into lifting a weight that it has to compensate for by getting stronger
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    Bench: 205 x 2
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  11. #11
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    you have to eat!
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  12. #12
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    i'm 5'7" 165 and i can bench 205x5, there's always hope. i started off even weaker than you.
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  13. #13
    Registered User tbush's Avatar
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    So did you do the 140 on a different day or on the same day as a 4th set after the first 3 sets of 135? If the latter is the case then start with 140 as your first working set. if the former was the case then it sounds like you at least got 4 reps right? This is good, you aren't going to automatically be able to lift a weight you're not used to. Do 140 again this week or next week on your chest day and you will be able to do it a lot easier and with a lot better form.
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    Registered User oldnoob's Avatar
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    I'm in a similar boat to you. Been stuck DB pressing 70'sx5 (and 75 just won't go up) for a while whilst all other lifts creeping up nicely. No useful advice as I'm still there - not everyone here is a monster bencher.
    I did notice better gains in strength and size when I started drinking about 2 litres+ of skim milk every day. Diet is tricky 'cos I'm a veggie and have a newborn kid who takes up valuable eating time!
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  15. #15
    Registered User ASC's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by waywardryan
    Switch things up and you'll see more progress.
    You got to switch things up. If you have been doing the SAME chest exercises since July, your body might be getting used to it. As most members have mentioned...you should try using dumbbells or other exercises.
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  16. #16
    Nothin but a peanut! lachy's Avatar
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    as said , nobody is laughing, i respect you for not changing the 135 to a 235 and saying you were stuck on that, that bench is really that bad, remember that teens here ect have e-stats and that's all they will ever be, you are almost benching your bodyweight, thats good! set your goal to bench 150lbs and go up 2lbs each week.

    remember before you say, i can;t go higher, ask yourself "have i tried?"
    make sure you eat alot more aswell.
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    im not at the same weight but im in the same boat as well... i don't do 1RM so i don't know it... but I can't break above 180x8 on a upright press and on a traditional bench I am at about the same weight.... if I go for lower reps I can barely break over 200... problem with this is that i weigh 375 and though I have been very good at working out regular I have still be around the same level for a few years now. I guess I will try the reps of 2 that was stated... I have been trying different reps from 5-12 and it has worked a little bit but not to the degree I want. Also I am having problems with finding myself unable to push through the higher reps. I have had no problem in the past pushing through the last few despite pain.. but I'm not having pain.. I'm simply unable to push through the last few reps. I'm searching for it but unable to figure out what I'm doing wrong.
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  18. #18
    I need to eat darklight79's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NeinLives
    Firstly: Stop laughing.


    Anyway, what's the matter with me? Why does my squat continue to go up, but my bench stand still?

    By the way, it is my goal to get up to 180 lbs with single-digit body fat. Is this a realistic goal for someone with my stats?

    5'7"
    145 lbs
    This might be the problem. Your goal is single digit bodyfat but you want to increase your bench. You might think you're eating enough but you may not be. Post a sample of your diet.
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  19. #19
    Reality Check Doc Iron's Avatar
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    Gaining strength / size ...

    Nein,

    I used to have the same problem when I was younger. Couldn't break 200 pounds bodyweight and a 225 bench to save my life. Did up to 2 hours of weights a day and was frustrated as hell.

    Until a knowledgable trainer at the gym told me to eat MORE, work out LESS and sleep / rest MORE.

    A 135 x 5 bench isn't bad at all at a BWT of 145.

    However, if you want to see big gains, you're likely going to have to boost your protien intake significantly. Instead of granola bars and fruit for snacks start drinking milk, eating yogurt, turkey sandwiches, etc. for snacks. Load up on chicken breasts and lean red meat for your major meals. Make sure you get at least 8-10 hours of sleep a night and nap when you're feeling tired (if you can). Also, how often are you working out? I've found that for optimal strength gains 3 or 4 times a week, for an hour to an hour and half per session is plenty, if you do solid, heavy compound movements (rather than bunches of isolation exercises ... which is the other mistake I used to make).

    Good Luck,

    Doc

    (p.s. I now bench 385 for a single, 315 for 6 and weigh 252 pounds).
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  20. #20
    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tbush
    So did you do the 140 on a different day or on the same day as a 4th set after the first 3 sets of 135? If the latter is the case then start with 140 as your first working set. if the former was the case then it sounds like you at least got 4 reps right? This is good, you aren't going to automatically be able to lift a weight you're not used to. Do 140 again this week or next week on your chest day and you will be able to do it a lot easier and with a lot better form.

    exactly....if you already got 3 sets of 5 with 135 then you are ready for 140

    next time warm up some then go to 140 for your first work set....you will probably get 5.....maybe youll get 5,4,4...or 4,4,3...or 5,4,3....doesnt matter....because chances are at the next workout youll add a rep to one or all of the sets and soon enough you will get the 140 for 3 sets of 5 and you'll be ready for 145 etc

    before you know it 135 will be a joke

    but also, you have to eat and make the scale move
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  21. #21
    Registered User pineapple_guy's Avatar
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    Buy some micro weights and add them to the bar in a regular manner, bench once a week, eat more and drink lots of milk.

    If you can bench 135 x 5, try 137 or 138. And then the week after try 140. Keep on going like this.
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    NeinLives, definitely sounds like a +FOOD situation for you.
    oldnoob, possibly +FOOD but consider microloading or changing up the sets/reps . I can think of several other things that might help but would have to hear more from you. DBs jump your bench up at 10lbs a step, microloading will allow for smaller steps.
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  23. #23
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    I am not sure about the details of rippetoe's routine but following the core basics will help your bench. There are of course more detailed training techniques but at your stage they probably won't be of any use.

    So these basics rules are training similiar pressing motions, strengthening up support muscles and having a sensible balance of rest, diet and nutrition. Also adopting optimal technique.

    I'll assume you are benching raw and use a typical elbows out technique [I say this because different styles will vary what emphasis you need to put on certain muscle target areas].

    Strong forearms will also aid the stability of the barbell while lowering.

    You're looking to get strong lats for stability and intitial drive, along with your rear and front delts. This means you need to row, row and row some more. Iso work for delts are fine, incline and OH pressing will help with your shoulder strength aswell. Pull-ups and chin-ups will also help with your shoulders and back, especially your rear delts.

    For the top 1/3 portion your triceps are taking over. You want to do extensions, JM presses, skullcrushers and dips. Dips are a vital support exercise for bench, dips ARE the upper body exercise. Close-grip bench presses will aid through shoulder and tricep improvements.

    Don't always train flat bench, for one cycle maybe add in incline bench presses or CGBP/ Keep support exercise to a 8-15 and swap up your main bench pressing between more CNS training schemes such as 8x3, 10x3, singles and I guess 5x5.

    ------------------------------------

    Lastly, technique. I could type an essay but here up some basic pointers you can checklist.

    *Using legdrive: your lower legs should be angled back. They aid in pushing, and you should be tensing them along with your glutes.

    *Get into your mind that you are pushing yourself AWAY from the barbell, instead of thinking you are a still body pressing it up.

    * When gripping the barbell make sure you try tear it apart horitzonally. This engages the triceps more

    * Depending on your body type, if you have a big stomach region try keeping your elbows in more and lowering to your top stomach, while maintaining a safe and perfectly fine arch.

    *Keep your shoulders blades push together the whole time

    -------------------------------------


    These are just a few, a lot of technique issues are also subjective to a persons body mechanics and tendon strength, but these are some of the more important ones.

    Basically, once you are past newbie or even semi-newbie gains it is a matter of increasing muscle mass and recruiting more motor units in your training. You will actually end up flat benching hardly ever.

    I must stress, FOOD is paramount. Muscle hyertrophy aswell, along with strengthening tendons and ligaments [remember you are only as strong as your weakest link].

    It's not all about low reps, your need better tissue leverage, large muscle cross-fibers and hey, reducing ROM through thickness is a bonus

    Good luck buddy, I wish you the best
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  24. #24
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    ill add to everyone saying MORE FOOD. but also you could be doing too many warm up reps with a lower weight. i found out that problem with myself, now i can lift 10-15lb heavier than i used to because basically i was warming up too much and wasting my time on weights i could already lift.
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  25. #25
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    http://www.geocities.com/elitemadcow...croloading.htm

    i am not sure if anyone mentioned this yet, but i think this could really help you. going up 5 pounds on bench is not an easy task....especially when you are still at a pretty low working weight (don't worry that will change).

    think about it, that is somewhere around a 3-4 percent increase in working weight from week to week. it is unlikely to continue to succeed like that. check my link, i think it might help you push out of your plateu
    WHO DAT
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  26. #26
    Hewn from a dream NeinLives's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help, guys! I'm up to 3x5x145 lbs, and I've gained 5 lbs.
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    Originally Posted by johnny87
    dips have done wonders for my bench, atleast IMO.
    Good advice. I also agree that Dips (and tricep work in general) has helped with my bench progress.

    I'm a lot bigger than you dude, and I don't bench that much more than you. Keep with it and screw the negative people (who also just so happen to be the people with the huge E-stats)

    Cheers ~
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  28. #28
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    Originally Posted by NeinLives
    so I don't eat much at all. Could that, in itself, kill my bench?
    Be careful with this. You must eat properly in order to see gains. Changing routines can only get you so far. If you don't have a proper diet, your gains will stall.
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    Thumbs up

    Originally Posted by waywardryan
    Don't worry so much about what people think. That sort of nonsense will get you to stop going to the gym. EVERYBODY had to start somewhere. All the E-thugs started at 135 just like you so relax.

    Try switching to a 10-8-6 or a 12-10-8-6 or something, for a while. Switch things up and you'll see more progress. Also think about doing DB, it helps a lot.
    When I started two years ago I was benching around 140lbs. at the age of 32 and lastweek I got up 255 bro. You'll get stronger bud. Here's what works for me. Try doing dumbbells... Keep your reps under 10 as well. I would also consider doing drop sets during flat dumbbell bench press. If you don't know what drop sets are do some research and don't care what people think about how strong you are. Keep lifting brother before you know it you'll be doing 300lbs on the bench.
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  30. #30
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    Originally Posted by oldnoob View Post
    I'm in a similar boat to you. Been stuck DB pressing 70'sx5 (and 75 just won't go up) for a while whilst all other lifts creeping up nicely. No useful advice as I'm still there - not everyone here is a monster bencher.
    I did notice better gains in strength and size when I started drinking about 2 litres+ of skim milk every day. Diet is tricky 'cos I'm a veggie and have a newborn kid who takes up valuable eating time!



    I worked out every other day on my bench and went from 175 to 210 in about 3 months. All I did was max out then go to failure, 5 lb.s off after each set I did. It was a total of 8-10 sets. Despite what people say it works because I did it. I recently changed it up but for weighing 148 lb. Im in a nice boat now. Im glad I did it and will use this method again when I get stuck on my bench. Best of luck
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