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Júlíus G. Magnússon
12-02-2008, 10:25 AM
Wanted to get some advice on Bench Press programming (since that's the only thing I'm able to go heavy on, at the moment).

I've been Texas-Method-ing it for a couple of months now. Started rather conservatively on 70kg, with a 5RM of 82,5kg, with volume days being 5x5 across on Mondays, Wednesdays recovery with 2x5 light weight and 1RM, 2RM or 3RM on Fridays for intensity day.

First go through, I added 2.5kg every workout until I reached 87.5kg and only got 5-5-5-4-1 reps.

What I did was reset back to 80kg and kept going until I hit 87.5kg yesterday and managed all my sets. Those sets took all I got and some, both physically and mentally, and my arms and shoulders are still toast.

The thing is I'm pretty sure 90kg won't be going up for five sets of five next week unless I start injecting myself with something illegal. And before you say it, don't suggest smaller jumps because I've searched basically everywhere for smaller plates. Even washers, but haven't found anything with more than 30mm holes and with Iceland's economy in the toilet, ordering micro plates online is not an option (even though I never actually found a company willing to ship just a pair of 0,5kg plates).

So, what would be a feasible next step?

Try and fail on 90kg next week and then restart again?

Change up the rep scheme to something like seven to eight sets of three and try to move on?

Or should I go the one step backwards, two steps forward route? Back off to 85kg, go for 87,5kg again and then 90kg?

Something else? Any suggestions appreciated. I wanna make the most of my bench pressing time now since I'll probably drop it completely once my back is healed up properly.

Steven Low
12-02-2008, 12:29 PM
Hmm, what's your weight compared to the 82.5 kilos?

Unless you're like below 70 kilos or something you should still have pretty decent progress. I wouldn't go to smaller plates at this point.. that's just a waste of time.

There's a couple things you go do at this point:

1. Increase the frequency of days lifting and decrease the volume. Almost like heavy GTG/PTTP with like 2x5 or something 4 then 5 days a week then maybe 6 if you're up for it.

2. Alter the rep scheme for consistent work with something like 10/6/2 or 5/3/1 or whatever. Texas method does this as well partially, but I'm curious as to why a 5x5 bench press fried you so bad. 3x5/5x3/8x1 rarely fails me if I need to put up heavier weight (with like dips and pullups though).

I know you're probably not used to bench having only done this for now since you're injured, but still it seems a bit weird to me.

3. Go super heavy multiple days in a row.. (make sure you have a spotter) then let yourself supercompensation some..


Yeah, up to you really..

Allen Yeh
12-02-2008, 12:32 PM
I'd say first stop thinking you are going to fail before you even start. If I sit here and convince myself that there is no way I'll be able to front squat X pounds later today....then yes I will fail.

IF you do fail next week then that is the time to be thinking about changing it things up. I'd think about subbing flat bench in for something else like incline for a few weeks while still working flat with some speed stuff @50-60% of your 1RM. then going back to flat after a few weeks.

Steven Low
12-02-2008, 12:51 PM
Oh yeah, speed work will work as well. I personally haven't had much results with it, but may work well for you.

Dave Van Skike
12-02-2008, 01:27 PM
you'll learn a lot more by 90kg not going up that you will by avoiding finding out if its going up or not.


positive failure is no big deal. i wouldn't build my life around it but occasional overreaching is how you find out where you really are. knowing where you actually are is valuable information. You'll know where and when to reset, back off, add volume, etc.

take a run at 90 with a competent spotter and give it a shot, use whatever tools yuou have. the right music, psych up, no psych up, rest a day before..whatever then take a shot. it either works or it doesn't..

When it works congratualte yourself and move on.

If it doesn't then thats what back off sets are for.

Gant Grimes
12-02-2008, 02:33 PM
How are your triceps? Do 4 sets of 15 overhead DB presses after your benching is done and report back. Alternating ME and DE days might not hurt, either.

Júlíus G. Magnússon
12-02-2008, 03:18 PM
Thanks for the input guys.

To answer your weight question, once I started I was like 75kg. Right now I'm almost 80kg, with that 5kg difference seemingly sitting around my belly area.

I guess I'll do my best with the 90kg next time. Cut back on my swimming and make sure to eat and sleep well this week.

I like the incline bench idea... I've never actually done incline bench pressing but it sounds like a good idea for some back off.

Quick thought on that matter for those of you used to incline benching: What's a normal flat bench to incline bench ratio?

Gant, 4 sets of 15? Wouldn't that just mean some hyperthropy and basically no strength gain?

Allen Yeh
12-03-2008, 06:56 AM
Quick thought on that matter for those of you used to incline benching: What's a normal flat bench to incline bench ratio?

I've seen some numbers thrown around but I don't think I've ever seen a general consenus as an absolute percentage. I'd say try 75-80% of your flat and see how that feels. When I was benching a lot, I was able to hit 90% of my flat 1RM on incline, but then again it's not as if my flat was that impressive either, I've flirted with 295lb's many years past.

Allen Yeh
12-03-2008, 06:58 AM
Oh yeah, speed work will work as well. I personally haven't had much results with it, but may work well for you.

It helps once your bench is past 100#'s

:D




Seriously though, speed stuff is overrate when the poundages are lower overall but once you hit a certain threshhold I think it's a good thing to throw in there.

Gant Grimes
12-03-2008, 07:21 AM
Gant, 4 sets of 15? Wouldn't that just mean some hyperthropy and basically no strength gain?

The two are not mutually exclusive. Great bodybuilders are very strong. Great powerlifters are very muscular. Learn from them. Size begets strength begets size as long as you eat for it.

Júlíus G. Magnússon
12-03-2008, 12:01 PM
I've done speed sets before. Two times before actually, when I didn't have a spotter for my intensity day. Not enough to see if it was really working for me, though.

Gant, any special reason to do them straight after the bench instead of just Wednesday? I just did three sets of 8 of weighted ring dips today... wouldn't that serve a similar purpose or am I better of doing them after Monday's volume workout?

Dave Van Skike
12-03-2008, 01:21 PM
The two are not mutually exclusive. Great bodybuilders are very strong. Great powerlifters are very muscular. Learn from them. Size begets strength begets size as long as you eat for it.

higher reps work. apply the 80/20 rule as needed.

I find that when the 1-5 rep, multiple set stuff isn't working, forays into sets of 8-20 will do it. My dead got stuck hard for solid month and the thing that got it going again was trainign axle dead, max reps with 365 in a minute. Boom progress. I don't know if I growed or what but things moved northward.

Gant Grimes
12-03-2008, 01:55 PM
I've done speed sets before. Two times before actually, when I didn't have a spotter for my intensity day. Not enough to see if it was really working for me, though.

Gant, any special reason to do them straight after the bench instead of just Wednesday?

Yeah, because it worked for me.

A better answer might be that it's an auxiliary exercise, and training your triceps in the hypertrophy range to failure will produce a different adaptation, blah blah blah. But I like the first answer (worked for Westside, too).

Toy around with OH DB presses or JM presses as needed. Find what works for you. Like Dave said, varying the set/rep schemes helps, too (the point of which is to produce a different adaptation, hence the DB work).

Júlíus G. Magnússon
12-03-2008, 03:28 PM
Good enough for me. I'll add them to Monday's workout for the next few weeks.

Júlíus G. Magnússon
12-08-2008, 12:46 PM
I went for the 5x5x90kg today and actually got every rep up. My butt left the bench a little bit on the last rep of set four, but I'm counting it. I'm pretty happy about this. Especially since my triceps and neck were sore as fuck from a combatives session yesterday.

I'm thinking dropping all the swimming during the week probably allowed for better recovery, so I'll keep up with the no-swimming policy until next week when I go for 5x5x92.5kg

I did 4 sets of 15 overhead dumbbell presses afterwards with 12.5kg in each hand. Getting full extension was a bit of a struggle on the last rep on all the sets, but felt good otherwise.

Thanks for the advice, guys.

Jamie Crichton
12-08-2008, 01:58 PM
You never know until you try, eh? Never underestimate the power of positive thinking. Get under that bar and fucking blast it up for every rep, maximum aggression. When all else fails, get you rage on!

Allen Yeh
12-09-2008, 02:18 AM
Nice! What'd I say?