Weight Lifting Daily
Okay I get a lot of e-mails asking how they
can get their bench press up. I know I have posted chest information
on this page, but some people cannot find it. So, I decided
to make a whole section dedicated to getting your bench press
up. I am not going to list one way, because there are many ways.
In fact there more ways than you can shake a stick at. I am
going to list what has worked for me, and programs that I have
heard about that work.
Usually a book or inter net page has a little
section on benching. I am the only one I know who has gone this
in depth. Have fun learning!!! But first I got to talk about
recovery. Many of those bench press programs you buy for $50
on the internet are nothing but "eat 5,000 calories a day,
bench one day a week and do not do triceps or shoulder exercises".
Look at them that is what they are. These will work, but you
will have a strong bench, big waist, and small arms.
Some web sites have bench charts to find out
what you should be lifting. Here is how you use those charts:
take chart, light match, ignite chart, stir ashes. DO NOT USE
CHARTS!!! They do not work. Why Fig? Because not everyone has
the same types of muscle fibers, not everyone if 510" tall,
not everyone has the same endurance. You can use these chart
as a estimate of what you can do, but unless you done the weight
you think you can do, you cannot tell anyone that is what you
do because you can do "x" amount of reps.
A lot of these charts have unrealistic goals
"yeah 10 pound gain every week?". Screw charts!!!
Do not use them. Instead of charts you should go to the gym
and see what you can do for 10 reps in perfect form (with the
last rep you have to struggle with). Once you find the 10 rep
max, you will remember this number. That is about your 70% max
weight. Now add 30% to this and that should be close to your
max. In other words you bench 225 for 10 reps, your max should
be around 275-315.
Now keep that 70% number in your mind. You
want to incorporate that number in your workout. The 70% number
will be your fourth set in your pyramid. Like this for the 225
pound bencher above:
135x10 (warm up, you pick a weight that is
light like a push up)
135x10 (warm up again)
185x10 (this is sort of a warm up too, except
now you are getting the body used to heavy weight. This helps
to stretch the muscles out.)
225x8 (this is the first heavy set. This is
the 70% max weight. You do a couple of reps short of 10 "you
should have some steam left over for a few more reps, but you
do not do them". This is to get your body fully ready for
the working sets)
245x6 (here you are going full bore on your
265x4+ (here you are going as heavy as you
can at about 90% of your max weight)
In other words warm up, do 8 reps with your
70% max and then add a little weight and do 6 reps, then add
a little weight and then do 4 reps. You want to time yourself
between reps. Give yourself between 2 and 3 minutes. For the
last set give yourself, 4 minutes. Time yourself!!! Now the
bench uses lots of muscles. It uses the shoulders, triceps,
and lats. You have to get those muscle groups growing as well.
You also have to space your workout so that those muscles are
not over worked.
I would never do triceps, the day before chest.
That will not work.Now rep speed for strength is 1 second up
and 1 second down. Usually I say 2 seconds up and down, but
for power I have to go with a faster lifting speed. In good
form without bouncing the weight.How to bench. First some people
put their feet on the bench. This is okay if you have a bad
back, but I have never seen a power lifter do this in a contest.
Always put your feet on the floor.
Before you even sit down on the bench, check
the bar. The bar should not be bent. Roll the bar on the ground
and see if it is bent. Next check and see if the ends of the
bar turn. They should turn, if they do not then you will have
trouble balancing it, because the bar will twist in your hands.
Next make sure the hex screws at the end of the bar are tight.
Now you can put the bar on the bench. When you put the bar on
the bench, make sure the bar is centered on the bench.
That is the greatest mistake I see!!! Then
they lift the bar for the first time and the bar comes down
crooked. Next lay ion the bench and make sure the bench is parallel
with the sections on the ceiling. That can cause you to lower
the bar crooked. Next make sure the bench is flat on the floor
and it is not tipping. Now put the weight on the bar. Make sure
the weights are pushed all the way to the ends of the collars.
To grip the bar find a place on the bar, to where your forearms
are parallel to the wall.
Now note where your fingers are on the rings
of the bar for next time. I always chalk my bar. Always use
chalk. Now get under the bar. When the bar is racked you should
have the bar under your neck. Now tuck your chin down into your
neck. Breath a few times before you lift the bar. Now lift the
bar and lower it to your nipples. Keep your butt on the bench
and do not arch your back!!! Your elbows should be some what
parallel to the bar. Then lift all the way up and just before
locking out, lower the weight again.
Once you are done rack the weight and then
reset the bar. For a strong bench press I believe that you should
only workout the whole body once a week. One bench day a week
is enough (there is one program I will mention that does work
later.). You should only try to gain at the most 5 pounds a
week on your bench press. You can order smaller plates that
weigh less than a pound. These work very well.I switch from
light to heavy workouts week to week. On my light day I use
a slower lifting technique.
I concentrate on my form. On my heavy day,
I use a fast controlled movement. I do forced reps on my last
set. I have the spotter hold the bar and as soon as I start
to fail, he starts to help me move the weight at a good fast
pace (not a slow pace!!!). The spotter tells me when the weight
is too heavy for him to continue spotting me. I do not end the
set, he does!!! Usually at 30 pounds of help, he racks the weight.
My workout goes like this (NOTICE THE TIME BETWEEN SETS!!!)
For light day I do this
Set 1: warm up 10x135 (1 min
Set 2: warm up 10x135 (1 min
Set 3: 10x225 (rest 2 min)
Set 4: 8x275 (rest 3 min)
Set 5: 8x315 (rest 3 min)
Set 6: 6x345 (rest 4 min)
Set 7: 4x365 (rest 5 min)
Set 8: 6-7x315
For a heavy day I cut
down on the sets and weight and go heavier
Set 1: warm up 10x135 (1 min
Set 2: warm up 10x135 (1 min
Set 3: 10x225 (2min rest)
Set 4: 4x315 (3 min rest)
Set 5: 4-6x405 (4-5 min rest)
Set 6: 2-3x455 (forced reps)
(5 min rest)
Set 7: 9x315
After I do flat bench, I go do 3 sets of incline
dumbbells and then 3 sets of flyes.I like to do both of these
workouts, because the light workout helps build my reps up and
the heavy helps my max. You got to do both. The lighter workout
also helps me heal up a little after a heavy workout.
The next routine is called the "Westside
style" of lifting. I am not going to get into it a lot.
What they do is attach a chain to both sides of the bar. Why?
Because when you lift the bar up and you get to your strongest
point of the movement it will get heavier. I have never tried
it, but it sounds really interesting.
I some times use partial reps after I do my
regular flat bench. These really help to get rid of your sticking
point in the middle of the bench movement. I only recommend
you do 1 set of these. These really work the front delts the
most. All you do is lift the bar up and then lower it to your
chest. Then lift the weight up to half way and then lower it.
Do that seven times.
Then while you are still in the same set,
go all the way to the top and then lower the weight down half
way and then do them seven times at the top. Then try to get
seven full reps. You can also just do on part of the movement
for the whole set. Remember that the bottom movement works your
lats and chest and the top works the triceps and shoulders.
Just figure out what you lag on.
Power Rack Benching
Some people like me believe that you are limited
to your weakest point of your movement. That to me is true.
Everyone has their strongest point in their movement. Usually
it is the lockout. My lockout is very strong. I can use my lockout
to bench the back end of a 82 Escort off of the ground. I could
not do that at my mid point. I think if you can get your lockout
stronger, then the strength will flow down to your weaker point.
You can do this with the power rack. Do not
do this as a basis of your workout. Do it as a supplement only.
Do it after you do your flat bench. Just go to the power rack
and set the pins so they are at your mid point. Then try to
lift the weight up. Do not bounce the weight off of the pins.
Lower the weight to the pins to the point you hear nothing.
Work in the 6-8 reps range.
Bulgarian Style Benching
Once I tried doing this and I got hooked. This
program does work. I do not know why. I do this every once in
a while. You have to be in good health to do this. You have
to be eating like a pig and you have to get a lot of rest to
do it. You have to be on a program that only works your whole
body once a week.
You have to skip shoulder and triceps training
while on this program. This program is to be done in one week
and you cannot do it repeatedly. You have to give your body
a rest of at least a month or two, if you decide to do it again.
Here it is: You start on chest day. You warm up and then find
a weight that you can do for 5 reps in good form. You use this
Lets say this guy benches 225 as his 5 reps
Set 1: 10x135
Set 2: 10x135
Set 3: 6x185
Set 4: 5x225
Then on chest day you do 3 sets of incline
and then 3 sets of flyes.
Now it is not over folks!!! Now the next day
you come in and you just do the flat bench workout and you try
to get 5 or 6 reps. Sometime you will only get 4, but keep going.
Then you go do what ever you were going to workout that day.
Then the day after that you do the same thing and try to get
more than 5 reps out of the flat bench and then you do your
normal workout. You do this for 3 days after chest day. Then
after the last day, you take 2-3 days off. Then you will go
bench and usually I have gained a couple of reps on my bench.
The Power Lifters Routine
This is real easy. Power lifting mags make
it sound too complicated. Basically you drop your weight down
and raise the reps up. Then week after week you lower the reps
and add weight. Just like this:
Week 1 (I will exclude warm up sets):
Do you see how the sets and reps change? That
is what they do. Then after that they go back to a lower weight
and start over again. This was not really a accurate routine,
I just made it up to show you. The weight would be heavier at
the end.5 sets of 10 system.I do not like this system at all.
This system does not work!!! Basically you find a weight you
can do for 15 reps and then do 5 sets of 10 with it. Do not
do this workout.
Three Sets of Eight
Workout or the 5x5 Workout.
These are programs used by many power lifters.
I have never used the 5x5 system. I have done the 3 x 8 workout.
Basically this is just like the Power Lifter routine above.
Except you find a weight you can do for 8 reps or what ever
the plan calls for. Then you try to get that amount of reps
out of the weight as many times as it calls for. Usually you
have to descend in weight to do this. Then each month you lower
the reps by 2 and then lift heavier.
I do not recommend anyone reverse benching.
If you do not know what it is, then good. Basically it is benching
with a under hand grip. This will hurt your shoulders. Some
people can do this, but I would not try it.
Super Slow Benching
Okay some Darden believers out there are going
to hate me. DO NOT GO SUPER SLOW ON BENCHING!!! Super slow is
lifting a weight at 15-30 seconds up and 15-30 seconds down.
Some movements like bench press must be done with some speed,
because the body (OR YOUR ROTATOR CUFFS) are not designed to
go super slow. Yes super slow causes a lot of stress on the
muscles, but it causes too much stress on the things the muscles
2 seconds up and 2 seconds down is slow enough.
To me good form is a pace that you can feel the muscle through
the whole movement. Skip super slow training. I have tried it
and it does not work!!! I do not know any power lifters that
do that. It does work on some pulling movements like pull ups,
but pushing movements seem to irritate the joints and ligaments.
Pause at the bottom
A lot of power lifters do these. Usually they
do them after they get done with their heaviest weight on their
pyramid. Usually it is done with a descending weight. They do
between 6-8 reps. Just bench and as you get to the bottom, just
stop the weight there for 1 second and then lift the weight
back up. Usually 1 - 2 sets of this after flat bench works well.
Close & Wide Grip
It is always good to change your grip. A strength
coach a few years ago told me that I should workout with a real
wide grip and when it comes time to max out, I should bring
my grip in a 1" on each side. Tell you what, that works!!!
He also had me tuck my chin into my neck. That did help for
some reason. While you are benching, try different grips.
Smith Machine Benching
That is a NO NO!!! The Smith machine is a good
piece of equipment. But, if you want to get your free weight
bench up then stay away from it. Some people tell me "hey
I bench 350". I say oh really? "Yeah I do it on the
Smith Machine." He tells me. First off, just like I said
before you always have to pay some where. Yes the Smith machine
has its strengths. It is easy to use, it is safe and you do
not need a spotter.
But what it does not do or what it really
does is this: It puts more stress on the joints!!!, it makes
it so your supporting muscles do not work, and it put the person
benching in a position that is totally different from free weight
benching. The Smith machine will make you use your triceps too
much. Basically it turns into a decline bench. I do not even
like it for incline. Stay away from the Smith machine on bench.
Not to mention how much stress that machine puts on your wrists.