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Thread: Hitting a plateau on bench press

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt James View Post
    This isn't a programming problem, it's a psychological one. But, your squats are probably starting to get hard, given your very low bodyweight when you started. The "Advanced Novice" section in Practical Programming has some good strategies. BUT-- this assumes that you actually loaded 5 more pounds, walked it out, and squatted it, and missed a rep or two on your last set. Multiple sessions at the same weight is not productive at this stage.
    Thanks, I'll read the Advanced Novice section. I did start failing my sets on the last rep when I hit 285LB. I use the safety bars so I can fail safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt James View Post
    This still doesn't make any sense. How are you not able to touch the bar to your chest, whether or not you can complete the rep afterwards?
    I am proactively pushing the bar up before it touches my chest. I did that because I was sure I wont be able to lift the bar up once it touched my chest. I adjust the safety bars on the squat rack when I do bench press so I am not worried about getting hurt. I do not have a spotter.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bharath Mukkati View Post
    Should I target to do 4 reps with an additional set to complete the total 15 reps? Or should I only count a full 5 rep set to call my workout complete and discard any set that is lower than 5 reps from the equation? The latter would be extremely hard to achieve for me since the fatigue will accumulate making it impossible to hit a 5-rep set the longer I re-attempt the set.
    You have fifteen reps to do. If you miss a rep on a set, make that rep up on as high a volume set you can. If you get 5,3,3, then you might try for a set of 4 to make them up, but you might do 5,3,3,2,2, or 5,3,3,3,1, or 5,3,3,2,1,1, riding each of those later sets to the pins. Failing a relatively light bench with pins is damn near zero downside and all upside, provided you are authentically trying to push each rep (which is psychologically much easier to do than, for example, on the squat). And keep in mind failing on the bench is usually due to losing control of the bar ("misgrooving"), not necessarily absolute strength deficits: I had many workouts that went like 4,5,5,1 or 5,4,5,1. I didn't repeat those weights and got 3x5 the next few increases.

    Your target every time is 3x5, but if you get pinned by the bar, rest a little and get the rep done. Reason being that if you stop doing reps because you miss them in a set, you are reducing stress (as I said, a workout of 5,3,2 is less stressful than a workout of 5,5,5), which is the opposite of what you want. The point is to get weight on the bar, and ensure you are inflicting a heavier weight on your body than last time, even if the sets become shorter. You don't need to consider a programming change until you are consistently only able to get doubles or singles (i.e., 2,2, and 11 singles), mostly because of time.

    You also might be at the point where you need to progress with triples (5x3). You're over 40, and describe being a weak bencher, so this isn't all that surprising. If you can consistently get 3s, just get 5 sets of 3 and progress as normal, adding weight to the bar each time. Do *whatever you can* to increase weight on the bar. That is the most important thing, even more than keeping the proscribed rep range. That is what leads to strength increase. 5's are the *means* to produce the strength increase, not the end. If they stop working, use a different means.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bharath Mukkati View Post
    Reason I don't want to attempt 165LB in the next session is because I am certain that I will fail in the first set to even do 2 reps.
    You are in fact, NOT certain. Repeating 160 to get you head on straight might be the move, but you have to be unracking 165 pounds in 2 bench workouts from now, regardless of whether you think you can do it.

    As has been stated, you also need to gain twenty pounds immediately. Bench is very sensitive to bodyweight.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bharath Mukkati View Post
    After 270LB I知 repeating multiple sessions with the same weight until I知 able to gain some confidence to add 5 more lbs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bharath Mukkati View Post
    Reason I don't want to attempt 165LB in the next session is because I am certain that I will fail in the first set to even do 2 reps.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bharath Mukkati View Post
    I did that because I was sure I wont be able to lift the bar up once it touched my chest.
    You need to address the mental side of the equation before you can even thinking about making programming changes.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maybach View Post
    You have fifteen reps to do. If you miss a rep on a set, make that rep up on as high a volume set you can. If you get 5,3,3, then you might try for a set of 4 to make them up, but you might do 5,3,3,2,2, or 5,3,3,3,1, or 5,3,3,2,1,1, riding each of those later sets to the pins. Failing a relatively light bench with pins is damn near zero downside and all upside, provided you are authentically trying to push each rep (which is psychologically much easier to do than, for example, on the squat). And keep in mind failing on the bench is usually due to losing control of the bar ("misgrooving"), not necessarily absolute strength deficits: I had many workouts that went like 4,5,5,1 or 5,4,5,1. I didn't repeat those weights and got 3x5 the next few increases.

    Your target every time is 3x5, but if you get pinned by the bar, rest a little and get the rep done. Reason being that if you stop doing reps because you miss them in a set, you are reducing stress (as I said, a workout of 5,3,2 is less stressful than a workout of 5,5,5), which is the opposite of what you want. The point is to get weight on the bar, and ensure you are inflicting a heavier weight on your body than last time, even if the sets become shorter. You don't need to consider a programming change until you are consistently only able to get doubles or singles (i.e., 2,2, and 11 singles), mostly because of time.

    You also might be at the point where you need to progress with triples (5x3). You're over 40, and describe being a weak bencher, so this isn't all that surprising. If you can consistently get 3s, just get 5 sets of 3 and progress as normal, adding weight to the bar each time. Do *whatever you can* to increase weight on the bar. That is the most important thing, even more than keeping the proscribed rep range. That is what leads to strength increase. 5's are the *means* to produce the strength increase, not the end. If they stop working, use a different means.




    You are in fact, NOT certain. Repeating 160 to get you head on straight might be the move, but you have to be unracking 165 pounds in 2 bench workouts from now, regardless of whether you think you can do it.

    As has been stated, you also need to gain twenty pounds immediately. Bench is very sensitive to bodyweight.
    Thank you for the detailed response with examples. I think I知 very clear on the next steps. I値l be trying them in the coming sessions. I値l update this thread a few weeks later to share the outcome. This forum has always been helpful in my journey which I really just started. I致e been doing 6 day workouts for the last 3+ years and only switched to NLP 11 weeks back. I知 able to lift more than I ever did in the last 3 years. In fact my gym colleagues are stopping to see me do my squats ) and I really feel strong.

    Regarding weight gain, I知 trying my best. It痴 a difficult thing to eat in surplus and stay full all the time. But I知 trying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt James View Post
    You need to address the mental side of the equation before you can even thinking about making programming changes.
    I agree. NLP is something I値l do multiple times over the years. This is my first time, as I repeat I値l do better.

  5. #15
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    you should put up a vidieo, maybe someone can see if your doing some things wrong, you need to touch your chest every rep, you wont develop strength off the chest and it will never go up.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maybach View Post

    You are in fact, NOT certain. Repeating 160 to get you head on straight might be the move, but you have to be unracking 165 pounds in 2 bench workouts from now, regardless of whether you think you can do it.

    As has been stated, you also need to gain twenty pounds immediately. Bench is very sensitive to bodyweight.
    Just following up on this suggestion you gave. I did 162.5LB sets previous session and my reps were 4,3,3,2,1,2. I completed 15 reps across 6 sets. Today I bumped my weights up to 165LB and I was able to only do total of 8 reps across 4 sets - 2,2,3,1 and my 5th set I failed to do even a single rep.

    I am not sure how to progress, but my plan is to repeat 165LB and hit 15 reps total first before increasing the load. Do you think that is reasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darracq View Post
    you should put up a vidieo, maybe someone can see if your doing some things wrong, you need to touch your chest every rep, you wont develop strength off the chest and it will never go up.
    I'll try to get hold of a gym colleague to take a video and send it when I get the opportunity.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bharath Mukkati View Post
    Just following up on this suggestion you gave. I did 162.5LB sets previous session and my reps were 4,3,3,2,1,2. I completed 15 reps across 6 sets. Today I bumped my weights up to 165LB and I was able to only do total of 8 reps across 4 sets - 2,2,3,1 and my 5th set I failed to do even a single rep.

    I am not sure how to progress, but my plan is to repeat 165LB and hit 15 reps total first before increasing the load. Do you think that is reasonable?
    Once again, this is pointless.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Once again, this is pointless.
    That's okay. I guess the message is for me to stop asking questions and follow the program as it is in the book. At some point I plan to attend the seminars, when time permits and when I complete my NLP. Hopefully that will help me get better at this thing.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bharath Mukkati View Post
    Just following up on this suggestion you gave. I did 162.5LB sets previous session and my reps were 4,3,3,2,1,2. I completed 15 reps across 6 sets. Today I bumped my weights up to 165LB and I was able to only do total of 8 reps across 4 sets - 2,2,3,1 and my 5th set I failed to do even a single rep.

    I am not sure how to progress, but my plan is to repeat 165LB and hit 15 reps total first before increasing the load. Do you think that is reasonable?



    I'll try to get hold of a gym colleague to take a video and send it when I get the opportunity.
    Look up the articles "The First Three Questions" and "YNDTP".
    Or better yet, find an SSC that can help you, preferably in person.

  10. #20
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by Bharath Mukkati View Post
    That's okay. I guess the message is for me to stop asking questions and follow the program as it is in the book. At some point I plan to attend the seminars, when time permits and when I complete my NLP. Hopefully that will help me get better at this thing.
    I think you should get a video of your lifts on a heavy weight 162,5 or even 165 pounds to see if there is some technical issues that you are struggling with cause your experience when it comes to not being able to progress does not make any sense.

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