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  • popular programs for improving bench?

    are there any tried/popular methods for increasing bench strength quickly? ie: smolov for squat generally produces very good results. are there ones for bench, or deadlift even?

  • #2
    Why the rush? Building strength over time is a much more effective way to maintain and keep building that strength while reducing the chance of injury.

    There are many things that can boost strength in a fairly short amount of time but this would be specific to each individual. The most efficient way to press more in a short time is to improve technique until it is perfect. Perfecting technique can add 20-30 lbs in a couple weeks depending on the lifter and where their particular break down is of course
    "You need never feel broken again"

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    • #3
      I don't know much about the program, other than it is really intense, and is for Bench specialists. I think they have pretty much died out nowadays. But isn't Metal Militia geared specifically for this? Adding big numbers in a quick period... but as Bob pointed out this is probably lends itself to bigger risk of injuries. http://www.mindandmuscle.net/forum/4...abastian-burns
      -2013 USAPL Michigan State Championships 198lb Raw Mens Open, 1st Place (1217 total)
      -2013 USAPL Texas State Championships
      198 Raw Mens Open, 2nd place (1216 total)
      -2012 USAPL Longhorn Open
      198 Raw Mens Open, 1st place (1177 total)
      -2012 USAPL Aggie Showdown
      198lb Raw Mens Open, 2nd place (1137 total)

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      • #4
        BUILDING A BADASS BENCH-Brandon Lilly

        When I began training, I was a horrible bench presser, but as time progressed I found myself improving greatly in the bench. Then I hit a big block. I found that nothing was working for my bench, and at times I was regressing. Why? Because I began strength “testing” instead of strength “building”. That is a common theme in the Cube program is to continue building, and to build anything you have to understand what the end goal is, and how to put the pieces together to end up with the desired result.
        I was a huge lover of one rep max’s. I found myself taking a max every week, and beating myself up if I didn’t set a new one. What I didn’t take into account was life, my nutrition, sleep, and how all those things impact us in our training. So, when I wizened up I looked at my training, examined where I was weak and I set out with a plan.
        The Bench in Parts
        To bench big you need in this order:
        • Triceps, especially the middle, and lower inner head.
        • Lats, the most underutilized muscle in the bench press. The lats are important for lowering, and creating the initial reversal of the bar. If you don’t feel your lats when you bench, you are 100% benching incorrectly.
        • Delts, the delts have a huge often misunderstood role in the benchpress. We use our delts to lower, and stabilize our bar when benching. Why people neglect their delts is beyond me.
        • Pecs, the pecs are not that important for powerlifters, in a power bench, but I can tell you this, try building a big bench, an staying healthy without addressing your pec muscles. You better strengthen them as much for injury prevention as anything.
        • Bicep/Forearms, trying benching huge weight on skinny ass forearms. Your bones will break before you do. The biceps can actually act as a cushion for the arm to drive off of in the hole. Most times a big bencher will have both big biceps and massive forearms.
        I had my individualized parts, but I needed a plan. Conventional speed work was not carrying over to my max work, as I was always very explosive and never found my speed improved when I implemented it. So what to replace it with? Overhead work. When training for Strongman I did overhead work all the time, and coincidentally my bench was at an all time high. I came back to do a powerlifting meet, dropped the overheads, and my bench fell as well. I was too stubborn to realized what I was doing so for years I abandoned the overhead work. Once I added it back in, BOOM!!! My bench started rocketing up, going from 425-475 in under 3 months. Lat work needed to be done every day. I believe the body has a unique way of adapting at a far better rate than we give it credit so I hit my lats hard and heavy every time I train, sometimes choosing multiple exercises to attack the lats.Triceps became supremely important, and I focused primarily on close grips. I know a lot of people will tell you that machines isolate the triceps, and make them look pretty, well lets see how many of them can bench 800+ in a shirt, and 575 raw? Not too many. Big triceps come from heavy ass tricep work, and there is no better place to start than close grips. Why powerlifters don’t train biceps is beyond me. I hear guys with tears, and tendonitis from the squat bar, guys its simple. If you wanna be strong top to bottom, be strong top to bottom!! Do not neglect one body part for any reason.
        When I began the Cube I was benching just over 500 lbs. and not very consistently. This was after benching 545, and then 560 off a one board very easily just a year before. I liked the rotation I was in, as two weeks were dedicated to building, and one week testing. I also found that for myself, and most others that floor press was a great indicator of strength on the bench, as well as two board work helped the lockout. I always like full range work to to keep my form in check, so thus my bench rotation was born:
        • Floor Press
        • 2 or 3 Board (Depends on Arm Length)
        • Chest Benches or Bow Bar
        • Reverse Bands
        In no time my bench was climbing in and out of the shirt, and often times after my prescribed worksets if I was feeling good I would throw on the Slingshot for a couple singles going up in weight. Here is how my bench was laid out and how I build my shirted bench to a PR of 820 lbs. and 573 lbs. raw on the Cube!!
        Shirted Routine
        • Week 1
        ◦ME – Max Effort Bench – floor press with 3chains on each side
        • Week 2:
        ◦ME – Max Effort Bench – floor press with 2chains on each side
        • Week 3:
        ◦ME - Max Effort Bench – Reverse Blue Band or “hanging blues” (out of a power rack)
        • Week 4:
        ◦ME – Max Effort Bench Press – Opener to a 1 bd, 2nd to a two
        • Week 5:
        ◦ME – Max Effort Bench Press – raw 3 board press
        • Week 6:
        ◦ME - Max Effort bench – floor press STRAIGHT WEIGHT
        • Week 7:
        ◦ME – Max Effort Bench Press – SHIRT WORK take all 3 meet attempts to a 2 board
        • Week 8
        ◦ME – Max Effort Bench Press – SHIRT WORK– take opener to half board
        • Week 9:
        ◦ME - Max Effort Bench Press – floor press STRAIGHT WEIGHT
        • Week 10
        ◦ME – would be meet day
        (Technique is paramount. I do not believe in overloads. I do straight weight just like a meet. Take nothing heavier than your planned attempts.)

        Raw Bench Cycle
        I based my numbers off of a 540 bench that I achieved with a pause at my meet in May.

        • Week 1 Reps
        • Regular bench: 375 x 5 x 3 sets
        • Close Grip Off Board
        • Lat Pull Downs
        • Tricep Pushdowns
        • Abs

        • Week 2 Speed
        • Regular Bench: 300 x 3 x 10 (30 secs rest between sets)
        • Pause Presses
        • Lat Pull Downs
        • Tricep Extensions
        • Lateral Raises
        • Shrugs
        • Abs

        • Week 3 Max (I don't always Max Out, but this is my heaviest week in the rotation)
        • Regular Bench: 470 x 5 x 2 sets
        • Incline DB Press
        • Lat Pull Downs
        • Shrugs
        • Tricep Extensions

        • Week 4 Reps
        • Regular Bench: 400 x 3 x 3 sets
        • Close Grip Off Board
        • Lat Pull Downs
        • Dips
        • Abs

        • Week 5 Speed
        • Regular Bench: 315 x 2 x 8
        • Close Grip
        • Lat Pull Downs
        • Front Raises
        • Shrugs
        • Abs

        • Week 6 Max
        • Regular Bench: 515 x 3, 530 x 2
        • Incline DB Hands Facing In
        • Lat Pull Downs

        • Week 7 Reps
        • Regular Bench: 425 x 3 x 3
        • Close Grip Off Board
        • Lat Pull Downs
        • Skull Crushers
        • Abs

        • Week 8 Speed
        • Regular Bench: 365 x 3 x 5
        • Band Pull Aparts
        • Shrugs
        • Lat Pull Downs
        • (This week was super light on accessories knowing my next week was for a new PR attempt.)

        • Week 9 Max
        • Regular Bench: 515 x 1, 545 x 1 PR (Not a gym PR, but paused PR, 560 was my gym PR), 575 x 1
        • *I only took 575 for 1 because 545 went PERFECTLY, and I had trained well and felt a new lifetime PR was in my sights.
        • High Rep Close Grip
        • (Shut down knowing next week is Rep PR attempt)
        • Week 10 Reps
        • Regular Bench: 545 x 2 PR!
        • Close Grip off Boards
        • Tricep Push Downs
        • Lat Pull Downs

        Now you are equipped to smash bench PR’s for yourself!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by bbjeff86 View Post
          I don't know much about the program, other than it is really intense, and is for Bench specialists. I think they have pretty much died out nowadays. But isn't Metal Militia geared specifically for this? Adding big numbers in a quick period... but as Bob pointed out this is probably lends itself to bigger risk of injuries. http://www.mindandmuscle.net/forum/4...abastian-burns
          Actually the Metal Militia program was also for full meet lifters. I know Sebastian very well. For full meet lifters the volume had to be reduced of course but was still very high. The Squat volume in the program was insane, hahaha

          When we used the Metal Militia style for our benches we kept it to one day of pressing and either rotated between shirt and raw or went shirt, shirt, raw, off. The weights were always heavy and always a lot of volume. Very effective as all of our benches went way up. This did not happen overnight though, it still took time.
          "You need never feel broken again"

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          • #6
            I tried smolov jr for bench after stalling on bench, OHP, and weighted dips back in February. It was fun, tiring, and yet only added 5 lb to my max. It seemed excessive, whereas the smolov base cycle for squatting feels more "right"... benching 4 times a week put a lot of strain on my left(weak) shoulder, and i ended up straining my rotator cuff.

            I think askold surovetsky's bench program has brought me the most success in the shortest amount of time, but it can't be run for very long without a LOT of weight gain/food/creatine/caffeine/supps etc. It helps you get used to heavy singles, but because there's so much low rep volume, and he designed the program so you don't directly train the front deltoid/triceps, it seems to be for advanced lifters that don't need to gain size.

            the ME method seems to work best for me long term (A la Westside For Skinny Bastards). I rotated DE and RE days per week based on my excercise selection. (if ME was bench, DE bench, if not, such as a weighted dip, then RE bench)

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            • #7
              thanks for the ideas everyone

              no rush but just want to get bench up on par with my posterior chain lifts ( started off starting strength programs and such gave a big imbalance)

              won't have access to chains/bands/shirts and the sort, so any ideas for that beyond technique?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by drcrappants View Post
                thanks for the ideas everyone

                no rush but just want to get bench up on par with my posterior chain lifts ( started off starting strength programs and such gave a big imbalance)

                won't have access to chains/bands/shirts and the sort, so any ideas for that beyond technique?
                How long have you been training?

                Please post what you are currently doing (a detailed week or two of all lifts) and also a video of you benching
                "You need never feel broken again"

                Comment


                • #9
                  first started 7 years ago, not fully consistent (maybe 2/3 of that time).

                  currently on a freaking cut so it's 4 full body days and not much to do with PL style stuff.

                  previously was on a self-made split with a focus on mass gain. i hit it 6x a week, abcdab, with A bench, B deadlift, C press, D squat oriented. it would have ~4 exercises centered around that muscle group/compound lift and then 1 accessory. not sure if you want a FULL breakdown since it is quite a lot and exercises changed but i did log down almost everything in a spreadsheet a couple months ago. lmk if you want the full nonsense.

                  the training philosophies were just some basic DC concepts with the purpose of trying to add weight/reps consistently over time. bench started stalling (used incline smith).

                  for actual bench i rarely used it during this time but hit a rep PR without ever training it, so i do not have any recent flat bench vids, just a deadlift one.

                  long way of saying: i've been out of the loop for flat bench for a while, and figure getting back into it in ~1 month, i should follow a more organized program.

                  recent pr's were 225x7 on flat, 385x3 squat, and 500x1 dead. bench is behind, but it was also the first time i used flat in a long time (smith was taken) yet was also a rep PR.

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                  • #10
                    Your bench is not as far behind as you may think. Bench is typically the last to gain and slowest to gain. Minus freak pressers and those built to bench (barrel chest, short arms, etc) but for an average limbed individual your numbers are fairly typical and from what it sounds like- moving in the right direction

                    With what you have said above, perfecting technique is going to be your best friend. Check out the "So you think you can bench" series on EFS, very informative.

                    A more organized program with planned progression is also paramount. However the best program in the world will not do anything if technique has glaring issues. Concentration on both should get the bench moving up.
                    "You need never feel broken again"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 53greystreet View Post
                      Your bench is not as far behind as you may think. Bench is typically the last to gain and slowest to gain. Minus freak pressers and those built to bench (barrel chest, short arms, etc) but for an average limbed individual your numbers are fairly typical and from what it sounds like- moving in the right direction

                      With what you have said above, perfecting technique is going to be your best friend. Check out the "So you think you can bench" series on EFS, very informative.

                      A more organized program with planned progression is also paramount. However the best program in the world will not do anything if technique has glaring issues. Concentration on both should get the bench moving up.
                      thanks for the feedback. i'll work on form / find a program after cutting ends to address the bench.

                      i actually have done 5/3/1 before but went to failure on the final working sets each day, which probably impaired progress (~2 yrs ago)

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                      • #12
                        If you are benching and the weight isn't going up, you need to push harder.
                        Heavy squats fix everything.

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