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Powerbuilding - chest

1,026 Views | 25 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by newhowdyag2004
newhowdyag2004
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My chest sucks. I'm killing it with 5x5 on squats and dL, but chest sucks. I've heard about powerbuilding and thinking about that for chest days. Has anyone tried it, suggest a routine (nSuns)?

Every time I get close to 300lbs, something happens and I just stall. Post surgery for my torn bicep (6.5 months ago from bjj), I'm back at and stuck at 290 lbs.

With legs, I get a great pump and workout with the 5x5, but it's boring on chest.
wcb
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AG

Quote:

My chest sucks...

Quote:

Every time I get close to 300lbs...

No help here. Just want to point out that you and I have very different definitions of "sucks".
newhowdyag2004
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Yea I know, but for my size (5,10", 222 lbs), and the fact that I've been lifting for years, I think it's pretty sad.
10andBOUNCE
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AG
What has your routine been like?

If we're talking Bench Press, chest is only a piece of the puzzle, as I am sure you know.
newhowdyag2004
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I do a 5x5, then usually incline DB press (3 sets 90lb x 8), then weighted dips (+40lbs 4x6). If I have time I'll throw in floor press.

After deadlifts, usually 2-3 days later, I do a 5/3/1. I may also to incline bb press (no more 185lbs x 5...spent by then).


This AM I was pretty annoyed that I BARELY finished my 5x5 with 245, so I followed it with:
1x1 - 265 lbs
8 min rest
1x2 - 265 lbs
6 min rest
1x7 - 225 lbs
5 min rest
1x8 - 205 lbs
3 min rest
3x10 185 lbs (3 min rest)
2x12 175 lbs (3 min rest)

Multiple tricep pull downs (hammer grip).

I enjoyed the reps/pump of the lighter follow up sets.
10andBOUNCE
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AG
How long have you been doing 5x5?
Gordon McKernan
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I finally worked up to 300 once I started really ramping up the volume. I never followed a strict program but instead of just 3-4 solid working sets I started doing a ton more volume. I also started doing more DB flat bench & a lot more dips. I also started going a lot heavier on my back days during that time.... so don't know the answer but for me a combination of going heavy on back days + a lot more volume on chest days helped my bench shoot up.

I am also 5'10" and at the time I was lifting a lot/heavy weight fluctuated around between 190-197 usually.

Once I hit 300 though I was almost demotivated as I wasn't excited as I thought I would be and pretty much then decided to take a break from the heavy weights & started transitioning back to running & trying to drop some weight. Covid19 has only accelerated that. Hit 188 on the scale today & hoping to get down to sub 180.... I haven't benched in over a month now.
Hoosegow
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A couple of things and these are just general because I can't see your form.
  • Eat more. You want to get strong, you have to eat.
  • I bet your form has issues. Most people think the bench is easy. To be a good bencher, you have to have good form.
  • Get your back strong. Haven't seen your routine but get your back strong.
  • Get your OHP strong.
  • Use the Westside Conjugate method.
  • Use chains and bands
  • Eat more.
Class of '94
newhowdyag2004
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I'll record my lift/form next time and post here if you could critique.

I don't think it's a food issue. I'm getting stronger essentially every week on legs and dL. Of course that could be because I haven't hit my current potential while I have with bench. I went from a 5x5 with 340 on squats two weeks ago to 4x6 and then 1x8 with 340 last Friday. I'm taking it slow with the jumps up in weight and my back has never felt better (perform the same weight 3-4 weeks in a row until increasing).

I'm sure my back could be stronger, but deadlifting 360 for reps should mean I have good strength. What do you believe the best back lift would be to help bench.

My OHP is really bad...could be the culprit. On standing OHP I'm only at 145 5x5. I have been thinking to go seated to make it easier on my back.
aggiespartan
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AG
My numbers aren't anywhere near yours, and I'm a fairly small female, but my bench started improving as I did more shoulder work. I looked up a bench specific program and started benching 3 days a week.
10andBOUNCE
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AG
Few things hit already, but good, simple video showing some suggestions:
OHP, Floor Presses, Back/Lats, lots of variation

newhowdyag2004
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It's been a while since I did dumbbell OHP..looks like I need to get that in again.

I've been thinking about warming up on lat pull downs prior to benching. I don't get that same umph on bench day that squat/dL, and when I bench after dL my bench is stronger. Essentially I can't just go from wake up to heavy bench like I can with legs. So while it might reduce the bench by heavy back or DB OHP, it will help in the long run.

Thanks!
Hoosegow
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Might be seeing the culprit here. More overhead press work.

Back- pullups, croc rows, bent over rows. You need a big back for a big bench.

Oh and have I mentioned you need to eat more?
Class of '94
newhowdyag2004
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So I did DB and BB OHP along with Kroc rows and lay pull downs as mentioned in the video above.

I have a question on BB OHP. Should the bar always touch the top of your chest, or stop at just under 90?

I also prefer seated over standing OHP..is that moot?
Hoosegow
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I always preferred touching the chest for full range of motion.

I will say that I am 48 and need a new shoulder though my doctor thinks old football injuries are the real culprit and years of powerlifting just rapidly hastened the destruction.

So take that with a grain of salt.

You probably prefer seated over military press because it is easier and you can do more. The less stable you are, the more you have to use your auxiliary stabilizer - ultimately strengthening your shoulder. Also it is a good exercise for your core. At least you aren't using a Smith Machine.
Class of '94
Hoosegow
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If you want some good information on how to bench, watch So You Think You Can Bench from Dave Tate. It is a 7 part series. Here is part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHx1gYTA-Rw&list=PL38D8B0C3BFDB82F2&index=2&t=0s

Unfortunately, the bad news is that it really takes someone who knows how to bench to see what you are doing so they can help you with what you should change. Having trained with many powerlifters there are few who know how to really bench correctly and even fewer that know how to explain it. Even more unfortunately, it takes someone who knows you and your form to really help you. There is no such thing as a perfect bench form, only YOUR perfect bench form.

For example, I trained with this kid who was physically gifted. We almost got him up to a 600 lbs raw bench. Constant injury finally destroyed enough of his body that he quit (ultimately any powerlifter's fate if you decide to do it and be successful at it). He was a big kid, shorter than me but thicker. He had an extremely narrow bench in that it was almost all tricep work. At his request we worked on moving his hands out, cueing when to throw his elbows, moved his touch point, etc. etc. Finally, he and I sat down and were talking after training and he was frustrated. I suggested to him, "Hey, you have a naturally narrow bench, why don't you go back to it?" He talked to his coach, and a few other people he trusted and did. Bench started blowing up.

Sorry for the ramble. Blame COVID 19. I'm bored.
Class of '94
newhowdyag2004
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The challenge I have with standing OHP is it hurts my back when I go heavier. I guess that means I should lighten up the weight so an arch isn't necessary to get the weight up..
newhowdyag2004
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I get what you mean about bench form. I know mine needs a lot of improvement. When I worked on it a year ago, I jumped up 20 lbs pretty quick. Sometimes I forget and a weight will feel heavy, and then the next set with the same weight feels easier once I dial in my form. I'm certainly not looking to compete, but I want to get stronger. It gives me a purpose to keep getting up at 4-430 AM to lift. I need to see constant improvement, and a number increasing does that. Plus, I just want to be f'ing strong! I noticed it was helping in bjj, and when I get back to training after covid, I will be stronger than before everything was halted. My technique is getting better (still a white belt), so as that improves and I'm stronger than my opponent, that's a huge advantage. I want to be one for the few bjj guys that can squat 500, bench 315+, and be a beast on the mat. That's my drive for getting stronger.
jtraggie99
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AG
newhowdyag2004 said:

The challenge I have with standing OHP is it hurts my back when I go heavier. I guess that means I should lighten up the weight so an arch isn't necessary to get the weight up..
Pretty good Rippetoe video on overhead pressing...

newhowdyag2004
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Holy crap I've been OHP wrong my whole life...
Hoosegow
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We were all trained by idiot coaches - usually football - when we were in high school that have no idea what they are/were doing. Most people's forms on most people's lifts have issues. Myself included.

At lower weight and for most, it doesn't really matter. As you get heavier, you have to have good form. I rebuilt my squat form no less than 5 times. I learned to bench properly - finally. Then I had to learn to bench in a shirt. Then I switched shirts 3 times and had to learn each one. The Super Katana was the most difficult and the one I had to be most precise.
Class of '94
newhowdyag2004
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Talking about food, I want to eat my cake and have it too (well not cake...).

I do want to get stronger, and know I need to eat. But, I don't want to get buff fat. Plus, I want to compete eventually in bjj at the 221 weight class.

So during the day I eat like normal, but for dinner I will weigh myself before. 226 lbs will be my breakpoint on how much I can eat (a shake versus a meal). In the mornings, I'll weight myself again and want to be 222-223. If I have a few consecutive days below or above it, I'll adjust my calories.

I feel at 222 lbs, I have a lot more potential for strength. At 205 lbs I was essentially as strong. So if I can slowly transition my mass composition to maintain the weight, I can then see where I plateau at the current body weight. Then I'll determine if I want to start inching up the weight.

Hoosegow
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Then if you overall goal is to be better in BJJ, dont worry about your lifting numbers. Muscles make you slow and use up precious oxygen.
Class of '94
newhowdyag2004
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I want both! I want to be the strongest I can be at 221 competition weight (so 222-224 training weight).

I've already seen how being stronger than most guys has helped make up for lack of technique. As I get better technically, the strength will be even more beneficial.

I'm not looking to be the best bjj player, or an elite power lifter. But, I want to be the best I can be combining the two! Prior to covid, I trained bjj 5-6 hours and week and lifted 4. So my cardio was great and then the explosiveness was there due to the strength.
Hoosegow
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LOL. Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters.

That doesn't mean give up lifting. I just wouldn't stress about it. I could probably get you over your goal pretty quickly tweaking your technique, etc if I could work with you. But that will get you better at the bench. Won't do a damn thing for helping you in BJJ. You'll just be able to bench better.

Just keep working at it. You already identified you are weak in the shoulders and back. Work at that. Keep benching and see what happens.
Class of '94
newhowdyag2004
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My 20 month old daughter is currently the only master I serve..or so if feels
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