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getting past a flat bench plateau?


dijos

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Hey, all, 

 

I need some help working through a bench plateau. I think I need to tweak my workout some.

 

Tuesday is chest day for me, and my bench is suffering lately. A few months ago, I wanted to increase my bench, so I started eating like crazy. from 225, i went to 240~ish, then hurt my shoulder and chest with weighted dips. I took some time off, and I'm back up to 225, but I can't break through. I usually start with flat bench at either 195 or 205, 5x, add 10 lbs, 5x, add 10 lbs, 5x, then reverse that, back to my original starting weight. then, bring it down to 135 for close-grip bench. 

 

I think that part of my issue is that my shoulder is scaring me. not in terms of injury, but i'm afraid of dropping weight on myself. 

 

The rest of tuesday, it's dumbbell incline, cable fly, weighted dips, and decline depending on which gym i'm at- they don't all have the correct bench or a setup where I can rig it at all of them.

 

Sorry if this is a rambling post. It will be the first of a few trying to target some problem areas for me.

 

 

I realize I have an unhealthy attachment to my jump rope.

 

TRX opened my eyes to new levels of discomfort.

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Where do you miss? Do you bench like a bodybuilder (flat back, loose shoulders) or like a powerlifter (some degree of arch, packed shoulders)?.

 

My bench plateaued at 205 for about 6 months. It didn't start moving until I adjusted my form and started doing a bunch of floor presses, DB floor presses, and JM presses. I always miss at the midpoint, so floor press makes sense.

My training log

Spoiler

 

2016

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (USS), April 16th Contest report

2015

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (NAS), April 18th Contest report

Eighth Annual Vis Vires Outdoor Strongman Competition (Unsanctioned), August 1st Contest report

 

"What's the difference between an injury that you train around and an injury that you train through?"

"A trip to the hospital"

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If you are missing at lockout then it is likely your triceps that are giving you problems. Hammer the close grip bench.

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My training log

Spoiler

 

2016

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (USS), April 16th Contest report

2015

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (NAS), April 18th Contest report

Eighth Annual Vis Vires Outdoor Strongman Competition (Unsanctioned), August 1st Contest report

 

"What's the difference between an injury that you train around and an injury that you train through?"

"A trip to the hospital"

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On top of what El Exorcisto said, some other plateau busters that might help include:

 

• Incremental Increase: Go to a gym equipment store and buy some tiny plates (you can get some as small at 1/4lb and they're very cheap) and increase your lifts very very slowly.

• Heavy eccentrics: Add 10-30% to your max and perform only the downward phase of the lift. Do this with spotters (preferably two on either side of the bench) and safety arms on the rack.

 

• Partial reps: Add 5-10% to your max and only work within a limited range of motion (finish off these sets with full ROM sets). More than anything, I find these help build confidence handling the new weights.

 

• 60x1 Workouts: I do these once every six weeks- basically I pick a big lift (squat, deadlift, bench) and a challenging weight (>80%RM) then I do 1 rep, on the minute, every minute for an hour, 60 reps with a solid weight is a lot of stimulus.

 

• Variation Training: Forget your flat bench for a few weeks and try to increase your PBs on the incline, decline, close grip and wide grip press as well as cable flys, weight pushups and dips. If you can increase strength in all these phases, it will carry back over to your flat bench.

 

• Uneven training: If John Doe's max is 100lb worth of plates and he loads on side with 45lb and other side with 55lb, then it will cause him to work harder without having to increase his max weight- which in turn will help increase how much he can lift. This is an advanced technique so use a spotter and start slowly with both weight and the amount of variation you use per side and remember to alternate which side lifts the heavier load.

 

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"No-one tells a T-Rex when to go to sleep".

- Jim Wendler

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Those 10 set days used to smoke me for squats. I remember being physically unable to get out of bed and calling in sick with acute legdayitis.

 

I haven't done Smolov Jr. for squats yet but I did a thrice a week widowmaker program for 12 weeks. I think that on the last day of the program, I was exhausted and extremely relieved (the first time ever!) to be done with a program. I think I didn't squat for another fortnight afterwards. My quads and hip flexors felt like jelly.

Ancalagon The Black. Half Dragon Spellsword

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If you are missing at lockout then it is likely your triceps that are giving you problems. Hammer the close grip bench.

this is exactly what I was going to say- and dips.

 

Also if you're having some fear about the weight- perhaps benching in the power cage will give you some freedom in terms of mental stability and also not having to harass everyone around you for a spot when you are feeling uncomfortable. I work alone and I sometimes know that my 6 sets of 3 at higher percentages can smoke me - a wrong lift all can cause me to fail and it can be hard to ask for help- THAT many times. 

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Thanks, everyone. I hammered arms on thursday, I realized I had been taking it really easy on them. Tomorrow's chest again, so I am working on changing things up. Likely, I'll lay off flat bench, and do dumbell work, and this. 

 

On top of what El Exorcisto said, some other plateau busters that might help include:

 

 

• Partial reps: Add 5-10% to your max and only work within a limited range of motion (finish off these sets with full ROM sets). More than anything, I find these help build confidence handling the new weights.

 

• 60x1 Workouts: I do these once every six weeks- basically I pick a big lift (squat, deadlift, bench) and a challenging weight (>80%RM) then I do 1 rep, on the minute, every minute for an hour, 60 reps with a solid weight is a lot of stimulus.

 

• Variation Training: Forget your flat bench for a few weeks and try to increase your PBs on the incline, decline, close grip and wide grip press as well as cable flys, weight pushups and dips. If you can increase strength in all these phases, it will carry back over to your flat bench.

 


 

 and add in El exorcisto's and other's incremental advice when I do it again in a month~Ish.

I realize I have an unhealthy attachment to my jump rope.

 

TRX opened my eyes to new levels of discomfort.

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