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  1. #1
    Registered User diamantkung3n's Avatar
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    Unhappy Bench press plateau

    Hi, I'm on a bulk between 2000-3000 calories and doing the 5x5 stronglifts program and I'm 18 years old. I'm doing great on squats and deadlifts but my bench press is so weak, so I'm stuck between 137-143 lbs able to bench 5 reps and I've been benching since at the end of March this year. I upped my calorie intake because I suspected that was the cause for the plateaus in my lift when I first made the mistake by not eating enough. Even people who don't have the greatest diet and bench with crappy form are able to bench more than me. Am I gifted with lousy genetics? I was able to bench press 110 lbs untrained at first.
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    Registered User IronKrazy's Avatar
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    Start hitting a top x1 for the day and then drop to your 5x5. Also how hard is it to get through those 5 sets of 5? And how often are you able to hit that 5x5? Your CNS needs a new stimulus. Start waking it up with a heavy single, double or triple (NOT MAXIMUM!) at the start of your session and then drop to your working weight.

    If the last 2-3 reps of each set is too failure or damn close, you are only getting 10-15 working reps a week. And if it's not to failure or easily done then you're getting nothing from that set and rep range.
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  3. #3
    Registered User diamantkung3n's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by IronKrazy View Post
    Start hitting a top x1 for the day and then drop to your 5x5. Also how hard is it to get through those 5 sets of 5? And how often are you able to hit that 5x5? Your CNS needs a new stimulus. Start waking it up with a heavy single, double or triple (NOT MAXIMUM!) at the start of your session and then drop to your working weight.

    If the last 2-3 reps of each set is too failure or damn close, you are only getting 10-15 working reps a week. And if it's not to failure or easily done then you're getting nothing from that set and rep range.
    I was able to bench 143 lbs 5 reps 2 sets and 137 lbs 5 reps 3 sets last week on monday. It's hard to get through 5x5 lifting 143 lbs, so I'm forced to deload in order to succeed 5x5. But even then it takes forever to increase the weight.
    Last edited by diamantkung3n; 08-30-2021 at 11:35 AM.
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  4. #4
    Registered User nightanole's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by diamantkung3n View Post
    Hi, I'm on a bulk between 2000-3000 calories and doing the 5x5 stronglifts program and I'm 18 years old. I'm doing great on squats and deadlifts but my bench press is so weak, so I'm stuck between 137-143 lbs able to bench 5 reps and I've been benching since at the end of March this year. I upped my calorie intake because I suspected that was the cause for the plateaus in my lift when I first made the mistake by not eating enough. Even people who don't have the greatest diet and bench with crappy form are able to bench more than me. Am I gifted with lousy genetics? I was able to bench press 110 lbs untrained at first.
    Power lifting has 3 lifts for a reason...

    "alot" of folks chase their 5-10 rep bw bench, it doesnt go up unless they go up...

    1/3 of gen pop burn out on strong lifts after 90 days

    Alot of folk dont want to even run the program as intended, they dont like reseting constantly, even though their bench is going up 10lbs every 60-90 days for a year...

    Aside from that, i can think of 2 alternative patterns you can try.

    greyskull LP. start with your 10 rep max. 2 sets of 5 with a minimum of 3 minute rests. and a final AMRAP set. As long as you get at least 5 reps on the AMRAP, you add 2.5lbs next session. If you fail to get 5, you instantly deload, which will cause the AMRAP count to go through the roof next session. And if its a false negative, then you will get more than 10 reps, and go up double progression to 5lbs next session.


    The next pattern is the 10 sets of 3. You again start off with your 10 rep max. You do sets of 3 with 30 seconds of rest. You stop at a sloooooow good form rep. If you get in all 30 reps, you go up 5-10 pounds, or whatever it takes to knock you down to 5-6 sets next session, the progression is a bit of trial and error at first. This pattern will edge you up to about 80-85% of your 1rm, and doing 30 reps in about 7 minutes. At that point you will feel like dying, and odds are need a 10% reset, or a week off deload of 50% of working weight.
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  5. #5
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    If I were you, I’d fix the “between 2000-3000” cals a day issue.

    At 18, you are going to need to EAT! 2000 is not bulking….

    You would do better at somewhere around 20-23 calories per pound of body weight. Why not CONSISTENTLY eat between 3000-3500?!

    My own son is 15, he’s eating 4000 cals a day and lifts 3-4 days a week.
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by diamantkung3n View Post
    I was able to bench 143 lbs 5 reps 2 sets and 137 lbs 5 reps 3 sets last week on monday. It's hard to get through 5x5 lifting 143 lbs, so I'm forced to deload in order to succeed 5x5. But even then it takes forever to increase the weight.
    My advice still stands. Start working up to a top x1 each time you go to lift. Nothing crazy. Then reset back down to 95lbs 5x5. Then on the last set do an AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) So 4x5 1x5+. Ideally you could do 2x5 1x5+ 2-3 times a week. Then add 5lbs and do it again. What was the last amount of weight you completed with 5x5?
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  7. #7
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    Lots reasons.

    First, I'd check your set up, form, execution.

    2,000 calories is pretty low. The range of 2,000 - 3,000 is too large. Narrow that gap, and be more consistent with eating more food. Aim to gain 2-4 pounds a month.

    You didn't say how long you've been doing 5x5 for, so it might be time to switch it up and try a different approach.

    Also make sure you're recovering well.

    Be consistent, patient, realistic. Bench doesn't go up for most people like their squats and deadlifts do.
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  8. #8
    Registered User diamantkung3n's Avatar
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    How's my form? Sorry for failed rep, but this was the only video I had.
    imgur.com/wzeUm9G
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  9. #9
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    You're touching too low and aren't using leg drive. Hard to really judge when you're using a bigger weight than you can handle.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by diamantkung3n View Post
    How's my form? Sorry for failed rep, but this was the only video I had.
    imgur.com/wzeUm9G
    Needs more tightness everywhere, shoulders back and down and pulled together hard.
    Legs creating tension through hips and keeping your lower body stable throughout.

    Gripping bar harder, and probably lower in the hand too though that's hard to see.

    Then being a bit more controlled with the eccentric and touching where forearms stack in line with elbow and wrist.

    Try big benchas on YouTube for queues to help with all those.
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  11. #11
    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Needs more tightness everywhere, shoulders back and down and pulled together hard.
    Legs creating tension through hips and keeping your lower body stable throughout.

    Gripping bar harder, and probably lower in the hand too though that's hard to see.

    Then being a bit more controlled with the eccentric and touching where forearms stack in line with elbow and wrist.

    Try big benchas on YouTube for queues to help with all those.
    Also, sounded weird to me at first, but the "bending the bar"/"pushing the bar together" cues do add something, as well.

    Getting leg drive is hit or miss for me though... I can stay tight and push my feet tight towards me, but this seldom seems to translate to power on the bar, at least in an obvious way. I wouldn't be loose underneath though.
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