Bench Press Plateau

  • nhnelson

    Posts: 113

    Mar 17, 2009 6:45 AM GMT
    Hey Guys,
    So I've been lifting for maybe a cumulative year and a half, and during that time, we'll say that I've spent 6-8 months with a bench press component in my routine, off and on. For some reason, I can never seem to get much beyond 125 lbs (45lb bar + 40lbs on either side) with about a 5 rep drop-out. I change up the number of reps from day to day and adjust the weight accordingly, going from 3 sets of 15 reps, to 4 sets of 10, to 5 sets of 5 reps, depending on the day of the week. I always get discouraged when I look over and see some dudes packing on 90+ pounds on either side of the bar. Anyone have any advice for overcoming this plateau?
  • TexanMan82

    Posts: 893

    Mar 18, 2009 4:23 AM GMT
    Um, maybe try lifting more than 125 lbs? I mean, you aren't going to get stronger if you don't put more weight on the bar.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 03, 2009 1:43 AM GMT
    How often are you training your chest each week? One suggestion is that you take a week or two off any chest training, and then load up more weight when you come back off of it. Try to keep to training each body part once a week, especially if you find you're slow to recover.

    You can also try pressing off of a squat rack with a bench pulled up to it. Because the rack stabilizes the weight, you'll be able to lift more, and its lifting heavier that's going to help you break through.

    It might also be helpful to have a partner spot you and watch your form. If you're not lifting correctly, you could be limiting the amount you can lift. Your partner can also help you complete a few extra sets at the end, when you feel like you can't lift anymore. You'd be surprised how many more reps you can get out with your friend just lifting the bar a little with their finger tips.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Apr 03, 2009 2:05 AM GMT
    Constantly adjusting the amount of weight and the number of reps up and down is what I see as the problem.
    You should keep the number of reps at 3 sets of 8 reps.
    And, work on continually raising the weight, over time.

    First set 110 pounds
    Second set 120 pounds
    Third set 130 pounds
    If you can do 8 reps with the 130 pounds, raise each set by 10 pounds.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 03, 2009 2:16 AM GMT
    Are you just working your chest with a bench press? Try pressing a comparable weight with dumbbells and you might find your problem
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 03, 2009 2:17 AM GMT
    do you do incline and decline press as well? these will strengthen other areas of your pecs, and offer you more support when you do flat bench press. also mix it up with dumbbell flies to help strengthen the area. mixing it up uses different parts of the pecs and stimulates musclse growth. so i have been told, and it is doing okay for me.

    i am slow to add weight to the bar, part of which might be genetic, i just am not one to develop big muscles. (after 2 years of polo and 4 years of swimming in college, with weightlifting as part of training, i weighed 135 pounds at 5'11".) i think also having a spotter is key, because then you can push yourself to try more weight.

    so as long as you are working out and fatiguing, you should be stoked with what you are doing.

    good luck man
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 03, 2009 2:29 AM GMT
    Where do you get stuck? First third, second third, last third?

    What is your real weakness? When do you get stuck? It is the first thing any good trainer would ask.

    First third? Front delts. Second third? Most likely pec weakness. Third? Weak triceps.

    As a trainer, I would ask first where do you get stuck? In what spot? Or maybe it is all, then you are lifting way too heavy. Can you get it off your chest? If not, then 2 and 3 do not apply. You need to work your frontal delts. If you are stuck in the middle, your chest is weak. Do cable flyes and dips bigtime. Last third? Your triceps are weak. Do cable pushdowns, kickbacks, skull crushers. Otherwise, lower the weight and do what you can do.

    Otherwise, your problem is that you are trying to lift too much weight for your ability. Kinda simple. Use less weight.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Apr 03, 2009 2:34 AM GMT
    MunchingZombie saidAre you just working your chest with a bench press? Try pressing a comparable weight with dumbbells and you might find your problem


    Besides the advice to stick to 3 sets of 8 reps, this is probably the best advice.

    The bench press, with a bar, is not a terribly good exercise to build up your chest, or to improve your barbell bench press with. Use just dumbbells for awhile. They will force your stabilizer muscles to do more work. If using dumbbells is hard for any reason, work on improving that component. For instance, if lifting heavy dumbbells is hard on your wrists/forearms, spend some time strengthening your wrists and forearms. If it's difficult on your shoulders, spend some time strengthening your shoulders.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 03, 2009 3:43 AM GMT
    Do forearm and grip exercises. It will help your bench press.

    Also, try switching up your routine. Do pyramid sets one week. Do drop sets another week.