What are realistic Bench Press gains for me?
So basically I was just wondering what I can realistically expect/ what goals I should be making for my bench press gains. I've been working out for about a year and a half now and have made pretty significant gains since when I started. I started out doing around 105 for a triple and now I'm doing a max triple of around 235. I also started out around weighing about 330lbs and am down to around 219 right now(aiming for 201 so I can train and cut quit to compete in 198's) As far as workouts go, I alternate chest work outs between Heavy and light weeks. My last light workout went something like 10X135 10X135 10X155 10X170 10X185 15X190 20X165(I was trying for a max 15) For light work outs I typically do 10-12's and then finish with either a low burn-out or a 15-20 rep set. My last heavy week went something like 10X135 8X155 8X175 5X190 5X205 3X220 2X235(Failed) 2X240(got it) 6X215 17X170(I was going for 18... pretty upset : ( ). For heavy I usually go 10,10,8,8,6,3,3,3,and then a 12-20 or a burn out, the most recent time I was dropping to doubles just for a little shock and to get used to new weight. Anyone know what some good goals for me to set are within a reasonable time span. I have some ideas but am looking for some input. Also, if you need more specific information about anything I do, just ask.
It looks like the sets leading up to your top weights would be pretty fatiguing, which is going to make the top weights harder, which is going to limit performance in each session, which is going to make it harder to progress. Something to consider. Another thing to consider is that most people (this is, of course, a generalisation) seem to have a lot of difficulty progressing on bench press if they're only doing it once a week. You may benefit from having a heavy and light session every week, rather than alternating between the two each week. That being said, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, so if what you're doing is working, then keep it up.
Given that you can already get 240 for a double, you're probably at the stage where boosting your 1RM (which it sounds like it's your goal, given that you mentioned competing -- I'm assuming you mean to compete in powerlifting/bench competitions; correct me if I'm wrong) by 5lb every 2-4 weeks is probably the best you can hope for while using a program designed to bring up your max, so use that as a guide for projecting any improvements.
Ryan - Diploma of Fitness. SQ 142.5kg - BP 92.5kg - DL 177.5kg
Yea I've been considering doing light Wednesdays and heavy Sundays. And yes, I am planning on training for power lifting competitions, bench just happens to be my weakest event.
I would say every power lifter I have known who did well had Bench as their weakness. There are a number of systems in place to make the press easier but it's still horrible.
Sorry if this is already known, but if there is one bit new it could help. I have a pathetic bench and this was the system I used to get the best I could, long limbs are not a power-lifters friend.
Start position. High arched back, feet planted, legs and hips pulled taught, arms straight ahead of your shoulders or slightly lower down your body, never above, shoulders as relaxed as possible, wide grip.
Get a spotter to load the bar to you, not you reach for the bar, impossible to be used to if training alone. The position to be in really cannot be attained as effectively with the bar in your hands and you would be red-lighted for even trying it in competition.
The down should reach the highest point on your chest, as in furthest from bench not closest to neck, in a smooth curved motion, gradually releasing some tension from your legs as you go, bar control is supper body, stability of body is legs.
Pause at bottom of the movement, holding the bar touching, not resting on the chest, relax the hips and legs as much as practical. Elbows may be a bit further up the body than the bar, if they are do not correct.
Push off. Slight tension with the legs, bring elbows under the bar and drive with your upper body.
Sticking point. Know where yours is, as you approach it fully engage the hips and legs to give you drive through this weak spot.
Finish. Once through this point the legs become stabilisers again to ensure you are holding the bar at full arms length and stable. Some judges will allow a little instability during but none will at the end. Hold until told or spotters take the bar.
There are various bits of advice on the best bench form and technique. this one worked for me because I have long gangly arms and legs, great for running and climbing, and a liablity in power events. The breakdown by section helped because each became prep for the next part and I can use everything to overcome my genetics.
Training wise there are many systems for powerlifting and all of them are good. I am doing a version of one at the moment, badly due to time constraints.
555s five exercises five sets five reps. One weight per exercise, if too easy increase it and don't reduce. Long rests are essential and you should be as fresh on the last set of the session as possible. Very long sessions.
Pyramids. Virtually what you are doing reps usually run 12-10, 10-8, 6-4, 4-2, 2-1 then back up the reps but usually only a couple of sets going up. Never repeating rep quantity in either direction, rep max only as dropping weights and from 6 or below, above and on the way back up should be more comfortable but still hard. Failure is always an option as the mythbusters say.
Simple sets 3x6 reps per exercise. Number of exercises undefined. The idea is to use 6RM each time, this uses fatigue to make the weight feel heavier each set. So set 1 feels hard, 2 feels barely possible and 3 requires some assistance or can result in failure on 6. If all three are done without assistance weights go up next session.
Drop sets. I do like these. Start with bar loaded with small denominations loaded to your 1RM, lift it, try for a second if comfortable, stop if not, take weight off, do as many as you can, likely 1 or 2, and keep going until you run out of small weights and energy. On bench I normally finish with 30 or 40Kg, squats and deadlifts 60Kg, start weight sometimes doesn't move, but will use masse of energy even so.
There are many others those are just a few.
If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you're probably right - Henry Ford
Yea.. I'm getting the importance of form drilled into me by my benching partner every time we are at the gym. Right now I'm trying to gauge when I should start looking for competition. I'm on track to be at my ideal weight (198) in about 5 weeks, and I'm trying to gauge how far into the future I should plan an event. I want to at least open with something like 255-265 and would really like to do at least 300 for my final (100lbs over my body weight), which I feel would at least be respectable, albeit no where near good. I've tripled 475 on deadlift so I feel confident I can at least pull 500 under competition setting (I hear being in competition has a huge psychological effect on maximizing what you can do). Squats I'm a little unsure, I have really been neglecting leg work outs (I've only done like 8 since I started working out), but I have done 315 for 8 before, and I figure being I'm so inexperienced with them, I'll probably get a good amount of quick growth just from shocking the muscles. I'm Aiming for a 1250ish total, just not sure what kind of time table I am looking at. I don't know if this is relevant to mention, but I am completely natural (no supplements) and am pretty poor(about 16-20 dollars a week to spend on food) so my diet is pretty awful.
The time I did the most and some of my best training was when I was next to broke, no big deal.
I have just started re-using creatine after a few years off it, the only supplement I would generally recommend and take multivits in case there is a lack somewhere in my diet, kind of insurance likely not needed. This is personal preference, but supplement says what it means accommodating for loss in diet. Creatine however is something so lacking in food you would never get enough without adding to your diet unless you are gifted, I am not.
Everything else can be done well and cheaply by following the food pyramid and buying basic food in volume. Takes a bit of education but ends up cheaper than junk.
Competition is something that makes you go to the max or nervous. My approach was to go to a few contests first as an assistant, learn from those there when to eat, how to prep etc. Stuff you will not really see the point to without being there.
It may be different there but often judges here in UK tend not to be lifters themselves until at national contests. They are not empathetic at all and simply see a slight discrepancy and red light you, nice chaps that they are. Knowing this I made sure I had some really fussy people watching my form and basically dismissing lifts that had a flaw, foot moving on bench, not quite parallel on squat, instability or pause on deadlift etc. This way when I did enter I was prepared, and only failed lifts I knew were no good.
For almost a year my whole life was about the competition and I had ensured I was at best form for the day. I hit all three PBs on the day, one I had never done before or matched since. I got my invite to the next level but considering the only reason was the PB I haven't got again since, decided not to embarrass myself by turning up to a contest where I could end up lifting less than qualification. I was tallest in my weight class, never good, and didn't come bottom which was good, the winner of my class was however warming up on substantially more than I lifted. The overall winner was literally a midget and the only person I have ever seen to do classic deadlift without bending his knees to 90 degrees.
I enjoyed it and still keep an eye in that direction with my training, but will never go purely for power lifting again. I like the variety of skills I have too much, and love seeing people assuming me being competent at one thing has to mean useless at another reacting to realisation they are wrong.
If you are going to specialise, go to a contest first, if you can help out do so. If not at least take note of how long the contests are and the time between lifts, work out your eating and warm up times so you are ready but not worn out.
Your training will need to be centred around the 3 lifts as mine still is predominantly. There is no substitute for doing the moves themselves. My legs built strength fast and easy compared to the rest of me, but I found that without doing squats there were others weaker squatting more.
If you vary the session style keeping these 3 lifts in the training will not cause stagnation, just familiarity.
If you are naturally broad this will help you immensely. There are naturally slim people doing powerlifting and we are to be watched as most of us have serious issues and an unhealthy level of insanity. We do however get beaten thoroughly by genetically gifted lifters who don't need to be as mental and lift more by formula with ease without looking as lean, because they can.
If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you're probably right - Henry Ford
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