Bench Press - Once a Week or High/Low better for over 50 lifter ? Bench Press - Once a Week or High/Low better for over 50 lifter ?

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Thread: Bench Press - Once a Week or High/Low better for over 50 lifter ?

  1. #1
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    Default Bench Press - Once a Week or High/Low better for over 50 lifter ?

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    I'm 56 and have been lifting for 12+ years. Had a couple surgeries on my left hand in 2018 and 2019, and with gym stoppage from coronavirus I'm now building my bench and other lifts back up. I have made great progress in the past doing 1x a week for dead, squat, and curl but my bench press has been a mystery as to what will drive it upwards fastest. Before the age of 53 I was doing 5/3/1 once a week with pushups on another day and made decent progress but nothing great. In my mid 40s I did Westside and built my bench to 335 lbs. but really beat up my elbows and shoulders from dynamic and constant heavy 1-2 rep maximum effort stuff. But the last few years have been frustrating with my hand injuries and my bench has gone down 50 lbs. In 2018 before surgeries I used my own homebrew program of doing once-a-week 2 x 5 bench followed by 2 x 5 incline and this increased my bench 30 lbs in 8 weeks, but plateaued and started going backwards in weeks 9-10.
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    SO MY QUESTION is for the 50+ lifters who have tried different programs with success, should I try a Heavy/Light 2x a week bench program, or stick with 1x a week and just rotate to a different program every 6-8 weeks? I do enjoy doing some higher rep stuff along with 3-5 rep range to keep muscle mass. Andy Baker's Heavy/Backoff routine is what I would do if I wrote my own program for 1x a week.

    One program I'm looking at is by Jennifer Thompson, 325 lb/135 bodyweight raw bencher. She alternates 3 x 5 sets across on week 1, 3 x 1 85-95% singles week 2, both followed by 3 x 6-8 close grip bench and shoulder assistance.

    I currently have 250 1RM that I tested last week. I appreciate all your feedback.

  2. #2
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    Have you read The Barbell Prescription?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayden-William Courtland View Post
    Have you read The Barbell Prescription?
    Nope. Just Practical Programming.

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  5. #5
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    I did buy Barbell Prescription and have read thru it. I also spoke with a numerous 1st place/gold medal winning raw drug-free powerlifter who competes at 155 and 170 with bench press of 400+ pounds who just turned 38. His routine looks best for me to get my bench back up and then possibly try something else later, or eliminate one of the workouts and do twice a week:
    M - work up to single at 92-93%, then triple at 87%, five+ at 82%
    W - work up to single at 95-96%, then triple at 87%, five+ at 82%
    F - work up to single at 92-93%, then triple at 87%, five at 82%, ten+ at 70%
    Starting week 3, week 5, week 7, etc. Wednesday top single is 100 - 104%, depending how good you're feeling. Feeling great = try for 104%, feeling mediocre = 102%, feeling not so great = 100%
    He has been doing this for 12+ years and does not see any recovery difference at his age because of submaximal top sets for 5 out of 6 workouts, and only Friday workout will have soreness afterwards with the 10+ set. He said if I find that I cannot recover I should drop the Friday workout and do 2 workouts a week - Monday & Thursday

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tall T View Post
    I also spoke with a numerous 1st place/gold medal winning
    Quote Originally Posted by Tall T View Post
    drug-free
    cute

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    A 2x a week heavy/light program seems like a good idea to me. I appreciate the examples of the lifters you mentioned but it must also be remembered that those people are exceptionally gifted bench pressers. I would try to look at the programs of someone who sucks at benching and still built up to respectable numbers even if they aren't record breaking. This is why SS is highly thought of - it produces results for regular humans. If you're not sure where to turn, why not turn to a program that caters exactly to that?

    You are 56, I am 54 - we both know there is a world of difference between 38 and mid 50's. It's not even the same ball park. I didn't hurt anywhere at 38, I hurt everywhere at 54, lol.

    Best of luck in your training!

  8. #8
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    Mar 2019
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    starting strength coach development program
    You are correct. I tried his routine for last 2 weeks, and lifting heavy twice a week is not working. I will go to a heavy/light or the Texas method 2 day (volume day, intensity day). I'm not even sure I could have handled doing his routine when I was 38 or younger, to be honest. My 24 year old son has been doing the TM 2 day for last 5-6 weeks and making good gains, and he also could not handle lifting over 90% multiple times a week! I guess I should know better.

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