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  1. #1
    Registered User Xpiro's Avatar
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    Bench press: alternating strength and hypertrophy

    What’s up community?

    I’ve got a problem: my bench press has plateaued for 2 months. Taking a week off didn’t help, and traditional volume deloads never help me break through plateaus either.

    I’m on Viking’s Bare Bones upper/lower, so the volume is pretty high. I’ve been progressing relatively steadily for a year, adding 2.5 lbs every 2 weeks or so. I’ve also been recomping for a while, so I’m in and out of a (200 cal) deficit on rest days and a similar surplus on training days.

    I want to reset the weight by 10% as instructed in the program, but I’m worried I’ll lose my hard-earned gains due to my alternating deficit days. Would it make sense to reduce the weight on upper day 1, shooting for high reps, and keep the weight the same if not higher on day 2 to jam with 4-5 reps per set? Reduce the sets maybe?

    The volume is rough on my body all around so maybe a strength day will give me a bit of a break, even.

    Sleep and macros are on point and I’ve had great success with my recomp so far. Lifting for 4.5 years FWIW.
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    HeMB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Xpiro View Post
    What’s up community?

    I’ve got a problem: my bench press has plateaued for 2 months. Taking a week off didn’t help, and traditional volume deloads never help me break through plateaus either.

    I’m on Viking’s Bare Bones upper/lower, so the volume is pretty high. I’ve been progressing relatively steadily for a year, adding 2.5 lbs every 2 weeks or so. I’ve also been recomping for a while, so I’m in and out of a (200 cal) deficit on rest days and a similar surplus on training days.

    I want to reset the weight by 10% as instructed in the program, but I’m worried I’ll lose my hard-earned gains due to my alternating deficit days. Would it make sense to reduce the weight on upper day 1, shooting for high reps, and keep the weight the same if not higher on day 2 to jam with 4-5 reps per set? Reduce the sets maybe?

    The volume is rough on my body all around so maybe a strength day will give me a bit of a break, even.

    Sleep and macros are on point and I’ve had great success with my recomp so far. Lifting for 4.5 years FWIW.
    Depending on your benchnumbers, you could try Andy Baker's 8 5 2 approach. So that's one bench day a week, and another day with your optional bench variation (incline, floor etc.)

    I really preach this approach, it plowed through my plateau like crazy when I had one.
    Skwat bench ded
    but still DYEL?
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    You won't lose muscle from resetting 10%. You should actually realize more strength once your fatigue goes down.
    160 lbs and jacked is about as impressive as D cups on a 300lb woman
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    Registered User Oleg1975K's Avatar
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    The problem is not with you, but with your program. Program has exhausted herself in terms of progress in the bench press.
    In this program, both for a week, when you press, with the same heavy load.
    For more experienced athletes, a scheme is better suited when 1 training in a weekly microcycle is developmental (more in volume and / or intensity), and the remaining 1-2 workouts should be less stressful.
    And of course, a more experienced athlete should not expect a power increase every 2 weeks.
    bench press 165 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
    overhead press 100 kgx1, 82,5 kg 4 sets х 5 reps
    deadlift 230 kgx1, 200 kgx4, 190 kg 3 sets x 5 reps
    raw squat 180 kgx1, 150 kg 5x5
    chin-ups +25 kg x10 reps
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    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Oleg1975K View Post
    The problem is not with you, but with your program. Program has exhausted herself in terms of progress in the bench press.
    In this program, both for a week, when you press, with the same heavy load.
    For more experienced athletes, a scheme is better suited when 1 training in a weekly microcycle is developmental (more in volume and / or intensity), and the remaining 1-2 workouts should be less stressful.
    And of course, a more experienced athlete should not expect a power increase every 2 weeks.
    Good Post. Though I'd say there's room for two higher stress bench sessions in a week for intermediates and advanced. So long as your non benching pressing is minimal.
    4 to 6x a week benching in 4 sessions has been ideal for me in the past. 2 heavier, moderate volume, 2 supplemental moderate intensity and volume. 1 to 2 accessory, low ish intensity, low to moderate volume
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  6. #6
    Registered User Oleg1975K's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Good Post. Though I'd say there's room for two higher stress bench sessions in a week for intermediates and advanced. So long as your non benching pressing is minimal.
    4 to 6x a week benching in 4 sessions has been ideal for me in the past. 2 heavier, moderate volume, 2 supplemental moderate intensity and volume. 1 to 2 accessory, low ish intensity, low to moderate volume
    Bench press 4-6 times a week? Cool!
    When I specialize in a bench press, I press 3 times a week.
    With difficulty, but recovering between workouts. But I am 44 years old. In youth, of course, you can train more often.
    ---
    P.S. On 2 medium-heavy bench presses, as you say, Andrei Butenko's bench program was quite popular with us.
    There, from auxiliary exercises, they usually recommend mild OHP on one of the days.
    bench press 165 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
    overhead press 100 kgx1, 82,5 kg 4 sets х 5 reps
    deadlift 230 kgx1, 200 kgx4, 190 kg 3 sets x 5 reps
    raw squat 180 kgx1, 150 kg 5x5
    chin-ups +25 kg x10 reps
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  7. #7
    Registered User Xpiro's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I’m trying to wrap my head around all of these strategies as I’ve never really strayed from an established linear program before.

    So, to address alternating bench press variations: Currently I Bench 3x per week, Flat barbell (4x8) On upper days 1&2 and incline dumbbell (3x10) on day 1. Maybe I could switch to flat dumbbell on day 1? Although... my weakness is not off my chest but before lockout, and 1 arm always fails before the other. Therefore I wonder if I’ve got lagging triceps, one worse than the other, so dumbbells sound like a good idea but which variation is best for triceps? Floor press?

    As for alternating intensities and volume, what % might be considered high or medium intensity and what might be considered medium volume? Currently I work within the 6-8 rep range and no less, the goal being 32 reps across 4 sets (bench is unique in that 8 across has worked better than say 9,8,8,7). Where might I add another few pressing sets if the goal is to increase frequency?

    For the record I OHP twice per week as well, days 1 and 2 (25 reps across 3 sets). Skull crushers, Lateral raises (3x10-12) and cable triceps extensions (3x11-12) are on day 2 if it’s relevant.

    A few things I forgot to mention! Lately I’ve been having a lot of trouble bringing (“pulling”) the bar down after unracking it. I feel as though I’m going to hurt my arms (on and off tendinitis and left bicep pain) so I bring it down REALLY slowly, probably slow enough to waste a lot of gas.

    I’ve been playing around with grip width and I find I’m strongest with my pinkies just inside the rings, but it might be a bit rougher on my elbows than a slightly narrower grip. I also have really small hands so it’s basically impossible to grip the bar in my palm, so my wrists have the tendency to roll back even with wraps.
    Last edited by Xpiro; 11-16-2019 at 08:07 PM.
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    Registered User DCSpartan's Avatar
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    We do you think that strength and hypertrophy are mutually exclusive goals?
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    Registered User Xpiro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DCSpartan View Post
    We do you think that strength and hypertrophy are mutually exclusive goals?
    I guess I should have specifically said “alternating high rep/lower intensity and low rep/high intensity.” I get that they can work in junction, but from what I understand high rep training lends itself more to growth than low rep training?
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    Originally Posted by Xpiro View Post
    I guess I should have specifically said “alternating high rep/lower intensity and low rep/high intensity.” I get that they can work in junction, but from what I understand high rep training lends itself more to growth than low rep training?
    Hypertrophy is the adaptation of the body to strength training. Competent resistance training with a sufficient amount of energy from food will always lead to an increase in muscle mass of trained muscles. And it doesn’t matter, training is 5 reps or 10-12 reps.
    bench press 165 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
    overhead press 100 kgx1, 82,5 kg 4 sets х 5 reps
    deadlift 230 kgx1, 200 kgx4, 190 kg 3 sets x 5 reps
    raw squat 180 kgx1, 150 kg 5x5
    chin-ups +25 kg x10 reps
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    Registered User Xpiro's Avatar
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    Hmm... well that being said, I’m in the gym right now and I’m wondering if this program has just run its course as a whole, because I’m not doing too hot in general. A year is a long time to be on a program, especially something as strenuous as this. Anyone have any recommendations on how to progress from this program to one more suited for.. say... the amount of fatigue I’ve accumulated? I can only get to the gym 4x per week so I like upper/lower splits. Though I may be at the point in my training now where I have to educate myself a lot more in new techniques to get everything moving again. I’ve made great progress but I’ve still got a lot to learn.
    Last edited by Xpiro; 11-17-2019 at 12:01 AM.
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    Evil gurus sh/./ttt in the brains of the fitness community, that for progress it is necessary to switch to complex splits and training with a frequency of 5 or more times a week. Clancy Ross trained 3 times a week, Reeves and Grimek too. What muscle development did they lack? ))) You can’t look at some competing modern nattis without tears. Condition of prisoners of Dachau or the main character from the movie "The Machinist". What did the difficult split give them? Arms, legs, like twigs and ass in the form of a washboard? )))
    bench press 165 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
    overhead press 100 kgx1, 82,5 kg 4 sets х 5 reps
    deadlift 230 kgx1, 200 kgx4, 190 kg 3 sets x 5 reps
    raw squat 180 kgx1, 150 kg 5x5
    chin-ups +25 kg x10 reps
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    Originally Posted by Xpiro View Post
    Hmm... well that being said, I’m in the gym right now and I’m wondering if this program has just run its course as a whole, because I’m not doing too hot in general. A year is a long time to be on a program, especially something as strenuous as this. Anyone have any recommendations on how to progress from this program to one more suited for.. say... the amount of fatigue I’ve accumulated? I can only get to the gym 4x per week so I like upper/lower splits. Though I may be at the point in my training now where I have to educate myself a lot more in new techniques to get everything moving again. I’ve made great progress but I’ve still got a lot to learn.
    You could also train full body 4x a week. That's my preference when I'm consistent and what I was doing at my strongest and biggest.


    This is a set up from the same methodology I tend towards (Mike Tuscherer programming)
    http://www.calgarybarbell.com/free-16week-program

    I link this one in particular because its free, and a decent example
    Also a solid example of my preferred bench frequency for oleg
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    Originally Posted by Oleg1975K View Post
    Evil gurus sh/./ttt in the brains of the fitness community, that for progress it is necessary to switch to complex splits and training with a frequency of 5 or more times a week. Clancy Ross trained 3 times a week, Reeves and Grimek too. What muscle development did they lack? ))) You can’t look at some competing modern nattis without tears. Condition of prisoners of Dachau or the main character from the movie "The Machinist". What did the difficult split give them? Arms, legs, like twigs and ass in the form of a washboard? )))
    Bad examples. Nazi prisoners weren't fed and the machinist hadn't slept in a year. Otherwise you are probably right. Then again, the Bulgarian system seems promising, at least as a mesocycle to promote neural efficiency, thereby increasing the weight used for submaximal training. Nuckols, among others claims to have increased his already substantial PL total by 3 figures in 8 weeks doing so. And it seems reasonable, as it's essentially greasing the groove.

    Of course, I am very much in noob territory, so I don't have any firsthand experience. I mean, it definitely works in the untrained, but pretty much anything will
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    Nuchols Bulgarian manual is pretty cool. I wasn't disciplined enough to autoregulate and drop accessories, so I didn't get the most out of it. But I still added 5+% to everything in a month. It was temporary too.
    160 lbs and jacked is about as impressive as D cups on a 300lb woman
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    Originally Posted by WakingOp View Post
    Bad examples. Nazi prisoners weren't fed and the machinist hadn't slept in a year. Otherwise you are probably right. Then again, the Bulgarian system seems promising, at least as a mesocycle to promote neural efficiency, thereby increasing the weight used for submaximal training. Nuckols, among others claims to have increased his already substantial PL total by 3 figures in 8 weeks doing so. And it seems reasonable, as it's essentially greasing the groove.

    Of course, I am very much in noob territory, so I don't have any firsthand experience. I mean, it definitely works in the untrained, but pretty much anything will
    A few words about how the so-called "Bulgarian system" ... Abadzhiev personally attended secondary schools and selected promising children. (one of the tests there was a triple long jump from a place). After 1 year, half of the selected children in the sport remained. Those left over from childhood were fed steroids so that they could withstand inhuman tensions. This is where the 16-year-old Olympic champions in the Bulgarian team. Those. it was an artificial selection for the initially specified training format, and not training on empirical data. In the Soviet weightlifting system (Medvedev, Vorobyov, Chernyak, Prilepin), lifts with a weight of 90% from 1RM and above account for only about 10% of the volume, and the maximum effort method occupies a very small part of the preparation. And such training methods are much better suited for the average athlete.
    ---
    Regarding prisoners and other things ... My example showed that modern natti bodybuilders look no better than dinosaurs from the silver era and do not have those muscle sizes. Why? It would seem that the modern science of training has gone far ahead (smart diets from Lyle, etc., super split from Israel and Norton), but in fact the results are not visible better than from the good old fullbody ...
    bench press 165 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
    overhead press 100 kgx1, 82,5 kg 4 sets х 5 reps
    deadlift 230 kgx1, 200 kgx4, 190 kg 3 sets x 5 reps
    raw squat 180 kgx1, 150 kg 5x5
    chin-ups +25 kg x10 reps
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    If you want to get stronger at bench, drop your entire program, or what you think is a program. Do bench on mondays and Thursdays (less volume and limit ROM - board press). Periodize. Start at hypertrophy 10 reps for working sets. add 5 lbs per week. When you cant get the desired rep, give it another week. Try again. If failure, increase intensity, lower volume, say 5s. Periodize this way downward until you need to come back to hypertrophy. Whatever working sets you choose in your program, it should leave you on the bench for ~1.5+ hours, with ~5 min at least rest between sets. You should feel pretty drained. Finish with an AMRAP, and try to PR it. Every week you should attempt some kind of PR, or at least that's the mind set.

    When your body starts adjusting to the work load, cuz yea you're going to feel drained, then slowly add accessories, very very slowly, limit 2-3 sets. dont get stupid with shoulder exercises. Eat plenty of carbs and stay hydrated.
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