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Breaking a bench plateau

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by petvan, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. petvan

    petvan Active Member

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    So I've been doing mostly crossfit style workouts for about 8 months - in other words, huge variety, 75% metabolic conditioning. We do strength work though but rarely do we bench press (bench isn't a CF WOD friendly workout, nor is it something you should really be doing for time ;-)

    Anyway, my squat/pulls and other presses are progressing, but I've been benching exactly 205 for 4 months. For whatever reason, 210 won't go up. Maybe I should go for 207, but I'm thinking about taking a month or two and dedicating one day a week to some bench assistance work to try and get through this.

    Assuming I did so, I wondered if anyone had any tips of what to work on other than just doing lots of 3RM/5RM type workouts and incrementally upping poundage. I'm thinking stuff like pendlay rows to keep the back rolling, and maybe some dips / tri work?

    Might be a bad idea anyway, but thought I'd throw it out there in case anyone had tips.

    Thanks,

    P
     
  2. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    I'd go for some weighted Dips in the plan......elbows close in and go heavy. Go for a set of 2 reps by 4 sets.

    When you bench try only lowering the bar so your upper arms are parallel to your body. Probably work out to something like 4 or 5 inch gap between bar and chest.

    Every once in awhile set the bench safeties so if the bar falls it won't crush your chest....then.....load the bar up with as much weight as you can get off the rack when you initially pull it off with your arms extended and lower it about 2 or 3 inches and then try and put it back.

    If you fail try and slow the descent to the safety bars.


    If you can bench 205 right now.......I'm guessing you'll be able to hit just north of 300 in the last example I just gave. Over time your bench will go up.

    I never stick to prescribed rep plan for too long.

    Doug Hepburn (the first guy to crack 500 bench) would do 4 sets of 2 (after some warmup reps ).....and he was going heavy.


    Strength is strength and reps are reps.
     
  3. petvan

    petvan Active Member

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    Thanks! Some good ideas in there. I'm definitely into weighted dips and like the idea of the partials or pure negatives. Will try and scope something out.

    P
     
  4. Jaer

    Jaer Well-Known Member

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    I can't offer much advice on the matter, and Hevy's gotcha covered I think, but I'm curious if you are warming up and how much?

    I have had times where I felt not enough warm-up has kept me from me hitting a PR, and other times when too much might have tired me out.

    At a 210 rep, here is what I would probably warm up with.

    45lbs for 8 reps, 135x6, 185x4

    And then I would for 210.

    Everyone is different, of course, but I always start with a higher rep count with an empty bar to focus solely on the movement, and then start adding the plates until I get close to desired weight. I find it helps me prep the muscles, acclimate to the heavier weight, and yet it is not so much lifting that I am tiring myself overly much.

    Jaer
    wishes you luck! Crush that 210!
     
  5. digitalnebula

    digitalnebula Plagiarist

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    This ^^


    Also....crush some standing BB press....

    Most people hit a ceiling on bench due to lack of strength in their shoulders...:nod:....its rarely triceps and pecs that are what is holding it back...

    The first time I took pressing and dipping seriously, my bench went from 245 to 295 in like 4 months.
     
  6. petvan

    petvan Active Member

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    Good ideas guys. Jaer, my warmup is pretty similar to what you describe. bar/1 plate, add the 25's, go for 1RM.

    That said, I don't try 1RM very much - maybe once a month or every 6 weeks.

    Definitely like the idea of adding the weighted dips, and already do a lot of shoulder work - crossfit loves the shoulder - hand stand pushups, push press, push jerk, strict press, thruster, wall walks and various other junk hits the shoulders pretty hard. Maybe if I do a one day strength setup though I'll add some heavy db strict presses though.

    Thanks again for the tips.

    P
     
  7. Jaer

    Jaer Well-Known Member

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    I will say that I am doing weighted dips this round of my heavy lifting cycle (last year when I was going heavy, I did not have the equipment for dips in my basement) and my bench is doing better than last time.

    I think I hit 4 reps at 275 and could not get more than 3 at 280. This morning, 6 at 275, and could have done another. Bumping to 280 next time, and if I get over 280, well, I'll be hitting bench numbers I have not seen in like 5 years, not since before I wrecked my wrist.

    Jaer
    thinks the weighted dips are helping.
     
  8. Fader

    Fader Active Member

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    Personally I think the very best way to bust through plateaus is to do a 2-3 week specialization of that bodypart. People worry too much about the "overtraining nonsense" and I can guarantee you now if you that if you do a 3-week "5-day a week" bench press variation mix-up of reps you will increase your bench.

    An example of what I use would be :

    Week 1 :
    Monday [15 x 5]
    Tuesday [3 x 5]
    Wednesday [15 x 5]
    Thursday [3 x 5]
    Friday [15 x 5]

    then on week 2 and 3 you would go more for pyramid of 10 x, 8 x , 6 x,4 x, 2 x mixed with big 3 x 5 sets.

    All you would do with this are assistance exercises to not fry you such as bent-over rows and rear delt flys. It works everytime for me. I do this for Chest, Shoulders and legs I have also done this for.
     

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