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  1. #1
    Registered User triton321's Avatar
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    Extremely weak bench press compared to squat and deadlift

    I am 6', roughly 182 lbs, and 20 years old. Ever since I started lifting (3.5 years ago), I made very fast progress with my squat and deadlift, but my bench has always been incredibly weak. In August 2018, my best lifts were 355 lb squat (with belt), 200 lb bench, 500 lb deadlift (with belt), I weighed roughly 178 lbs at the time. Shortly after this, I started my first year at college and went through a lot mentally and unfortunately stopped lifting for roughly 5 months and weighed 163 lbs. Since then, I have made steady progress over the past 1.25 years and am close to where I was before. My current lifts are roughly 315 lb squat (beltless), 205 lb bench for 3 reps, 425 lb deadlift (beltless).

    With all that said, I have been putting a lot of emphasis on training my upper body (more than my lower body) over the past year and I still can't bench 225 for a single rep. Considering there are people who hit a 225 bench within the first months of them starting lifting, this has been extremely demotivating to me. I was wondering if anyone would be able to refer me to a program that can help me break my bench plateau, or if anyone has had similar experiences with a weak bench compared to squat and deadlift.
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    Do you have long arms?
    That can be a hindrance with a long press from chest to lock out.
    Work on developing strength on the muscles that contributes to your BP.
    Delts,triceps,upper back,forearms.
    Examine your BP technique.
    If you can have a qualified PL coach eye ball you.
    There may be some minor adjustments that can help you.
    Examine the program your on.
    A good program will help you steadily gain strength but you must be patient.
    A PL coach can advise you on that also.
    It will be worth paying for this assessment if you can.
    Sometimes videos and articles just aren't enough.
    Good luck.
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    ^ what he said...
    Look at your form. Post a video here.

    At 205 for 3, you are pretty close to hitting 225 for a single.

    What program are you currently using?
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    My advice is from personal experience only, use at your own risk, lol
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    Dont forget heavy rows and direct triceps work!
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    Originally Posted by triton321 View Post
    I am 6', roughly 182 lbs, and 20 years old. Ever since I started lifting (3.5 years ago), I made very fast progress with my squat and deadlift, but my bench has always been incredibly weak. In August 2018, my best lifts were 355 lb squat (with belt), 200 lb bench, 500 lb deadlift (with belt), I weighed roughly 178 lbs at the time. Shortly after this, I started my first year at college and went through a lot mentally and unfortunately stopped lifting for roughly 5 months and weighed 163 lbs. Since then, I have made steady progress over the past 1.25 years and am close to where I was before. My current lifts are roughly 315 lb squat (beltless), 205 lb bench for 3 reps, 425 lb deadlift (beltless).

    With all that said, I have been putting a lot of emphasis on training my upper body (more than my lower body) over the past year and I still can't bench 225 for a single rep. Considering there are people who hit a 225 bench within the first months of them starting lifting, this has been extremely demotivating to me. I was wondering if anyone would be able to refer me to a program that can help me break my bench plateau, or if anyone has had similar experiences with a weak bench compared to squat and deadlift.
    Thing is, typical PL programs forces you to gain on the squat and the pull alot more than bench. When I was following lots of PL programs I had the same lifts as you bro.
    Sounds simple but its true; focus more on your upper body and increase your frequency or volume or whatever. Guaranteed youll gain alot. Good luck 💪
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  6. #6
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by weezystrong View Post
    Thing is, typical PL programs forces you to gain on the squat and the pull alot more than bench. When I was following lots of PL programs I had the same lifts as you bro.
    Sounds simple but its true; focus more on your upper body and increase your frequency or volume or whatever. Guaranteed youll gain alot. Good luck
    Not sure what you were running but doesn't sound like powerlifting programming.

    Most bench 4x, 4-6 movements.
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  7. #7
    Registered User weezystrong's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Not sure what you were running but doesn't sound like powerlifting programming.

    Most bench 4x, 4-6 movements.
    Candito
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  8. #8
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by weezystrong View Post
    Candito
    6 week?

    much as I like the guy, not a fan of that one at all
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  9. #9
    Registered User weezystrong's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    6 week?

    much as I like the guy, not a fan of that one at all
    Yup , what is a good program? Havent powerlifted for a long time because of my back injury. I got my bench decent tho these past couple of years.
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  10. #10
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by weezystrong View Post
    Yup , what is a good program? Havent powerlifted for a long time because of my back injury. I got my bench decent tho these past couple of years.
    Real answer.
    One tailored to the history and current lifestyle and training requirements of the person running it

    However, calgary barbell 8 and 16 weeks are very good for free general templates.
    There's also some interesting sub max programming on Exodus Strength forums, labelled Montana Method.
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  11. #11
    Registered User xRequiem's Avatar
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    I can make you feel better.

    My best squat is 495, bench bench is 245 and best deadlift is 605. Next time I test I'll be going for 545, 265-275, 635. As you can see bench is only ~18% of my total while your bench is roughly 22% for reps.
    trying to get strong again

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  12. #12
    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    6 week?

    much as I like the guy, not a fan of that one at all
    I'm curious why you don't like that program. I've had good success with it, ran it a lot in 2018 and running it again now. I can see its limitations now that I've got more experience, especially the way it pushes the trainee hard and then harder, grinding up the mountain, but it's still a solid program.

    Yes the Calgary programs are outstanding too.
    Currently running Calgary Barbell 8 Week again: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=175647011&p=1611786081&viewfull=1#post1611786081
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  13. #13
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    I'm curious why you don't like that program. I've had good success with it, ran it a lot in 2018 and running it again now. I can see its limitations now that I've got more experience, especially the way it pushes the trainee hard and then harder, grinding up the mountain, but it's still a solid program.

    Yes the Calgary programs are outstanding too.
    Purely on a strength and specificity basis now.

    I don't like the lack of direct variation, I think close assistance work is more valuable than repeating comp/main movements more than 1x a week, especially in development blocks (which this isn't neccesarrily).

    I'm not a huge fan of the upper lower format for strength, for hypertrophy I think it's much better but that's not really the main goal of this program as I see it.

    6 weeks is a solid block, but a little short for an overall development plan for me, we'll about half short at least tbh. And too short to be tapering too a peak unless you ran something that was intended to run into this 6 week block already.

    There's increasingly good arguments and data that traditional periodisation where rpe gets higher throughout as we taper down reps is not productive for strength, as it is the reps further from failure that produce greater force. This is a weaker critique as lots of programming retains this for now, so it's not solely a critique of candito 6.

    I also think overall intensity (rpe not %1rm). Is probably a bit high on average.

    None of these are crazy deal breakers. I'm not going to be like OMG you're on candito 6 week stop immediately, I just wouldn't recommend it in light of more strength tailored set ups, I won't go into why we wouldn't recommend it as a pure hypertrophy block as that's probably obvious enough to everyone.

    Overall. It's an okay stenght/hypertrophy hybrid that's a bit vanilla and falls into some old habits of traditional periodisation.
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  14. #14
    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Purely on a strength and specificity basis now.

    I don't like the lack of direct variation, I think close assistance work is more valuable than repeating comp/main movements more than 1x a week, especially in development blocks (which this isn't neccesarrily).

    I'm not a huge fan of the upper lower format for strength, for hypertrophy I think it's much better but that's not really the main goal of this program as I see it.

    6 weeks is a solid block, but a little short for an overall development plan for me, we'll about half short at least tbh. And too short to be tapering too a peak unless you ran something that was intended to run into this 6 week block already.

    There's increasingly good arguments and data that traditional periodisation where rpe gets higher throughout as we taper down reps is not productive for strength, as it is the reps further from failure that produce greater force. This is a weaker critique as lots of programming retains this for now, so it's not solely a critique of candito 6.

    I also think overall intensity (rpe not %1rm). Is probably a bit high on average.

    None of these are crazy deal breakers. I'm not going to be like OMG you're on candito 6 week stop immediately, I just wouldn't recommend it in light of more strength tailored set ups, I won't go into why we wouldn't recommend it as a pure hypertrophy block as that's probably obvious enough to everyone.

    Overall. It's an okay stenght/hypertrophy hybrid that's a bit vanilla and falls into some old habits of traditional periodisation.
    That's a fair assessment. So much recent research and work by RTS, Nuckols, RP, Flexx, Helms, and others (even Candito's other programs) all make the 6 Week look pretty basic. It's still very effective, though.

    The percentages are very tough sometimes, particularly week 4. The 2nd leg day could/should be shifted to RPE.

    In the 6 weeks, I guess there's not much room for exercise variation. Sort of like an express budget flight: from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible, no time to relax, spread out, or enjoy the flight.

    He's releasing another intermediate program soon. Will be interesting to see how his programming has changed in the 6-7 years since the 6 Week Strength.
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  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    That's a fair assessment. So much recent research and work by RTS, Nuckols, RP, Flexx, Helms, and others (even Candito's other programs) all make the 6 Week look pretty basic. It's still very effective, though.

    The percentages are very tough sometimes, particularly week 4. The 2nd leg day could/should be shifted to RPE.

    In the 6 weeks, I guess there's not much room for exercise variation. Sort of like an express budget flight: from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible, no time to relax, spread out, or enjoy the flight.

    He's releasing another intermediate program soon. Will be interesting to see how his programming has changed in the 6-7 years since the 6 Week Strength.
    Yup It works, I just don't like it personally and wouldn't put others on it.

    I imagine it has changed significantly, the difference between the TGIP days of RTS and now is huge
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    Registered User dTwenty's Avatar
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    I think I may be in the same boat with a weak bench. 240 squat, 315 dl, 140 bench as of two weeks ago. Is that normal? 6'0 and 170lbs, started lifting my senior year of high school and I was consistent with it until I left for the military that summer. After about 5 months I got back into lifting and I had been keeping it up until a shoulder injury that prevented me from doing anything. That healed and now I've been consistent again for the past 2.5 months. Most of my friends were benching at least their bodyweight after their first year of lifting so I'm wondering why I haven't seen remotely similar results.
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    Really focus on strengthening the upper back/lats, rear delts, & triceps. These will get your bench moving
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    Originally Posted by dTwenty View Post
    I think I may be in the same boat with a weak bench. 240 squat, 315 dl, 140 bench as of two weeks ago. Is that normal? 6'0 and 170lbs, started lifting my senior year of high school and I was consistent with it until I left for the military that summer. After about 5 months I got back into lifting and I had been keeping it up until a shoulder injury that prevented me from doing anything. That healed and now I've been consistent again for the past 2.5 months. Most of my friends were benching at least their bodyweight after their first year of lifting so I'm wondering why I haven't seen remotely similar results.
    Your lifts make me think you have long limbs?
    And your weight tells me you don't eat that much

    so a weaker bench is normal in these cases
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  19. #19
    Registered User dTwenty's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Your lifts make me think you have long limbs?
    And your weight tells me you don't eat that much

    so a weaker bench is normal in these cases
    My wingspan is 71" +/- an inch which should be normal for my height. As for the eating I've been tracking my calories consistently for the past 2 years, but Ive been at about a 200 calorie deficit from maintenance for the past 3 months.
    Last edited by dTwenty; 07-24-2020 at 05:49 AM. Reason: Corrected some words
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