Training to Max our - Bench Press

BenchBoi

My Third Post
I recently got my 225 bench press reps to 11, which I was pretty excited about because that should put me in the neighborhood of 300. My goal is to hit 315 and with just 4 months of lifting I’m making progress.

However, and unfortunately, when I bench say 245 I am only managing 4 or 5 reps, which is a much worse set than 225 x11. Any idea what gives or what I can do to translate my strength into better numbers at the higher weights?

FYI - I am 6’, 220 lbs. I only lift in the mornings, fasted, after running 4 miles. I do bench once or twice a week and work all secondary muscles (shoulders, tris, back, and biceps on dedicated days).

Thanks!
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
I do bench once or twice a week
With a 1RM goal, you'll want to practice heavy singles/doubles at some point. It requires some different skills and can also expose some tension leaks or bar path error tendencies that you might have. A while back I was bench pressing twice a week; a fairly standard rep scheme (sets of 5) and a moderate weight on Mondays, and sets of 2 (and later, singles) with a heavier weight on Fridays. Just an idea...

I would also try lifting not after running, and not fasted. Maybe not all the time, but at least sometimes. You might be inadvertently shortchanging your strength-building efforts.

What does your current program look like?
 

BenchBoi

My Third Post
With a 1RM goal, you'll want to practice heavy singles/doubles at some point. It requires some different skills and can also expose some tension leaks or bar path error tendencies that you might have. A while back I was bench pressing twice a week; a fairly standard rep scheme (sets of 5) and a moderate weight on Mondays, and sets of 2 (and later, singles) with a heavier weight on Fridays. Just an idea...

I would also try lifting not after running, and not fasted. Maybe not all the time, but at least sometimes. You might be inadvertently shortchanging your strength-building efforts.

What does your current program look like?
I run 4 miles before each workout then this is roughly my program:

M: Bench - 225, 4 sets to failure. Machine bench, drop set, each to failure. Lat pulldowns, 3 sets of 6.

Tuesday. Shoulders. Military press on smith machine, 3 sets of 6. Lateral dumbbell raises, 6 sets of 6. Front dumbbell raises, 6 sets of 6. Dumbbell shrugs, 3 sets of 6.

Wednesday. Biceps and triceps. Superset: barbell curls and tricep pushdowns, 60 reps each total. Superset: dumbbell curls and overhead dB extension, 3 sets of 6. Superset: preacher curl and dips, 3 sets of 6.

Thursday: Same as Monday. Trying for higher weight and lower reps on bench though.

Friday: Misc Shoulder/bicep/tricep work. Some combinations of Tuesday and Wednesday work.

I was thinking of adding some bench work on Saturdays or Sundays. But focused on load training, like putting 290 on the bar and pausing halfway down and doing negatives with a spotter. To better train my body for the extra weight.
 

Antti

More than 2500 posts
Train what you want to do. If you want to get better at lifting 11 reps, lift 11 reps. If you want to lift singles, lift singles. If you can't only lift singles, lift close to it with maximum carryover. Typically this means that one has to change the rep range with time and keep the range closest to your goal when you're closest to the goal in time.
 
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kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I bench say 245 I am only managing 4 or 5 reps, which is a much worse set than 225 x11. Any idea what gives or what I can do to translate my strength into better numbers at the higher weights?
Warm Up Information

It's hard to say without seeing what your Warm Up progression is to 245 lbs,

Running 4 Miles Before Bench Pressing

As Anna stated, "I would also try lifting not after running..."

I'll punctuate it by stating that running prior to your Bench Press Training ensure that you're going to lift less than you should/could.

Fasting

I disagree with Anna on this. I been lifting fasted for years without any repercussions.

Your body's glycogen stores are primarily full upon waking. The predominate fuel source during sleep is fat; the lower the level of activity, the more body fat used for fuel and the less glucose. However, sleeping doesn't burn many calories unless hibernate like a bear.

Sleeping is the lowest aerobic activity there is.

Adaptation

Fasted Training is dependent on becoming adapted, which requires some time.

Many individual who have "tried" fasted training, usually haven't allow enough time to adapt to it.

Anna

As per Anna, "...Practice heavy singles/doubles..."

That because the muscles involved in performing lighter loads, how the motor units fire (Rate Coding) vary with the load (Training Percentages).

Antti

"If you want to get better at lifting 11 reps, lift 11 reps."

Think of it like...

Hitting A Baseball Pitch

Bench Pressing 225 lbs X 11 Repetitions amount to practicing hitting a 60 mile per hour pitch.

You become good at hitting a 60 mile per hour pitch.

However, it doesn't make you good at hitting a 90 mile per hour pitch. To do that you need to practice hitting a 90 mile per hour pitch.

That means you need to perform the Bench Press with load of 85% plus of your 1 Repetition Max.

"Some bench work on Saturdays or Sundays."

I admire your ambition. However, more is not necessarily better.

That may work or lead to Overtraining; getting weaker in the Bench Press.
 
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Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
I run 4 miles before each workout then this is roughly my program:

M: Bench - 225, 4 sets to failure. Machine bench, drop set, each to failure. Lat pulldowns, 3 sets of 6.

Tuesday. Shoulders. Military press on smith machine, 3 sets of 6. Lateral dumbbell raises, 6 sets of 6. Front dumbbell raises, 6 sets of 6. Dumbbell shrugs, 3 sets of 6.

Wednesday. Biceps and triceps. Superset: barbell curls and tricep pushdowns, 60 reps each total. Superset: dumbbell curls and overhead dB extension, 3 sets of 6. Superset: preacher curl and dips, 3 sets of 6.

Thursday: Same as Monday. Trying for higher weight and lower reps on bench though.

Friday: Misc Shoulder/bicep/tricep work. Some combinations of Tuesday and Wednesday work.
This sounds... Bodybuilder-ish. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's not generally what people here are specialists on, and it's not generally aimed at attaining a new 1RM. Have you looked at pure strength programs, or powerlifting programs? These would suit your current goals better.

I was thinking of adding some bench work on Saturdays or Sundays. But focused on load training, like putting 290 on the bar and pausing halfway down and doing negatives with a spotter. To better train my body for the extra weight.
I agree with @kennycro@@aol.com -- more is not better. Get a solid plan: "Plan the work" then execute: "Work the plan." (Doc Hartle). That includes recovery, so, no extras added.
 

BenchBoi

My Third Post
This sounds... Bodybuilder-ish. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's not generally what people here are specialists on, and it's not generally aimed at attaining a new 1RM. Have you looked at pure strength programs, or powerlifting programs? These would suit your current goals better.



I agree with @kennycro@@aol.com -- more is not better. Get a solid plan: "Plan the work" then execute: "Work the plan." (Doc Hartle). That includes recovery, so, no extras added.
I guess I want the best of both worlds. First and foremost, weight loss and trimming down is my biggest goal. I‘m not young anymore so cardio and weight management will always be priority #1 for me. But the idea of being able to bench press 315 (which I did over 10 years ago) really intrigues me. my son is getting into lifting now with his friends, which creates an itch. I’d like to accomplish it again, but without the quintessential mass that makes it much easier. I did it at 245 lbs years ago, but honestly, I wasn’t healthy. I feel so much better at 220 and would like to get down closer to 215-210 lbs.

Said another way, I’d rather weigh 210 and bench 275 than weigh 240 and bench 315. But man would 210, benching 315 be sweet :)
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
I guess I want the best of both worlds. First and foremost, weight loss and trimming down is my biggest goal. I‘m not young anymore so cardio and weight management will always be priority #1 for me. But the idea of being able to bench press 315 (which I did over 10 years ago) really intrigues me. my son is getting into lifting now with his friends, which creates an itch. I’d like to accomplish it again, but without the quintessential mass that makes it much easier. I did it at 245 lbs years ago, but honestly, I wasn’t healthy. I feel so much better at 220 and would like to get down closer to 215-210 lbs.

Said another way, I’d rather weigh 210 and bench 275 than weigh 240 and bench 315. But man would 210, benching 315 be sweet :)
I think you can do it! But that's yet more reason to take a strength approach, not a bodybuilding approach.

Drop the Smith machine work... Don't go to failure... Drop the dumbbell work for now... Don't worry about biceps and triceps work... Or any curls... Just bench press. Maybe some variations like incline/decline/close grip. And maybe some other barbell work like squats and rows, as part of a program. But bench press 3x/week on a good program. Then, you will reach your goal.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Cardio and weight management will always be priority #1 for me.
Calories In, Calories Out

Diet is the key for weight management more so than exercise.

A great example of this is...

The Twinkie Diet

Mark Haub, Nutritionist at Kansas State, demonstrated this to his class by going on a low calorie Junk Food/Twinkie Diet.

Huab lost 27 lbs.

"His body mass index went from 28.8, considered overweight, to 24.9...

"Haub's "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his "good" cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent."

"You can't out train a back diet."

Exercise alone, isn't very effective for weight loss. The number of calories burned during exercise is very low.

The take home message is that while exercise can assist with weight loss, it minutely does so.

Running 4 Miles Before Strength Training

As Anna, Antti and I have noted, this circumvents strength gains, when preformed prior to Strength Training.

Also, too much cardio impedes recover, necessary for strength developments.

Another Alternative

A more effective cardio training method is High Intensity Interval Training, HIIT.

Research has demonstrated that it...

1) "...The subcutaneous fat loss was ninefold greater in the HIIT program than in the ET (Endurance Training) program." In short, the HIIT group got 9 times more fat-loss benefit for every calorie burned exercising."

This method jacks up your metabolism for hour after training. It amounts to overcharging your "Metabolic Credit Card", you pay it back over time. As with all Credit Card payments, you end up paying more back than you borrowed.

2) "The moderate-intensity endurance training program produced a significant increase in V02max (about 10%), but had no effect on anaerobic capacity. The high-intensity intermittent protocol improved V02max by about 14%; anaerobic capacity increased by a whopping 28%."

"The fact is that the rate of increase in V02max [14% for the high-intensity protocol - in only 6 weeks] is one of the highest ever reported in exercise science." Source: Forget the Fat-Burn Zone

High intensity Interval Training is a paradox; increasing your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, as well as increasing your metabolism.

Talk about of getting the best of both worlds; as you mentioned.

With that said, there is a High Intensity Interval Resistance Training Protocol, as well. The same protocol as with High Intensity Cardio Interval Training is followed.

A great method is performing Kettlebell Swing, similar to Cardio Sprints. Keep the swings to less than 30 seconds with rest periods between set of around one minute or a little longer.

Dr Jamie Timmons' HIIT Cardio Program

I am not a fan of the Tabata HIIT Program mentioned in "Forget The Fat Burning Zone."

I am an advocate of Timmons'...

How To Get Fit With 3 Minutes of Exercise

Total Training Time: Less than 10 minutes

Timmons' HIIT Protocol

1) Sprint 1: 20 second all out sprint

2) Rest Period 1: 2 minutes of pedaling or jogging easy.

3) Sprint 2: 20 second all out sprint

4) Rest Period 1: 2 minutes of pedaling or jogging easy.

3) Sprint 3: 20 second all out sprint

4) Rest Period 3: 2 minutes of pedaling or jogging easy.

High Intensity Training - Horizon: The Truth About Exercise - BBC Two Video Demo

initially, I found this hard to believe. However, it works.

Each sprint needs to be all out. if you have anything left at the end of the third sprint, that means you didn't give it your all.

As with anything new, HIIT or HIIRT needs to be eased into.

Bodybuilding Training

Research by Dr Michael Zourdos (Powerlifter) determined that strength is increase when Bodybuilding and Power Training are combined with Maximum Strength Training.

This method provide a synergistic effect. The sum is greater than it parts.

Think of it like 2 + 2 = 5!

The legendary Westside Powerlifting Protocol that's been around since the early 1980's, includes Bodybuilding (Repetition Method) and Speed Training (which is Power Training).

Dieting

Research (the MATADOR Study that I have previously posted on this site) determined that one of the keys to weight loss is...

Calorie Rotation

1) Consume Maintenance Calories for two weeks.

2) Then decrease your calorie intake 20% for two weeks.

Then continue to repeat the sequence.

This method was show to decrease weight/body fat while maintaining muscle mass.

Why It Works

The research found the body will adapts in about two weeks to a diet program. Once adaptation occurs with everything, progress stops.

Calorie Rotation amount to playing a game with your body; tricking it into doing what you want it to do
 
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vegpedlr

More than 500 posts
Looks like you're chasing several rabbits at once, and neglecting lower body training. Maybe just chase one. When you achieve that goal, try to maintain it while moving on to something new.
 
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