HOW TO INCREASE YOUR BENCH

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by stevejones, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. stevejones

    stevejones Member

    If you don't or have never have had problems with your shoulders when it comes to benching, this post might not help you.  

    My deadlift has always beaten my bench press by more than 300 lbs, and, while your deadlift should be more than your bench, a 300-350 difference might be extreme to some people.  I have long arms and big hands, so I am better built for deads than the bench, but that hasn't been the only reason my bench has lagged behind other lifts so much.  A couple of months ago I figured out that, despite never having a serious rotator cuff injury, I had weak rotator cuffs for a guy my size.  I started to look up RC articles when I noticed a slight twinge in my shoulders while I was bench pressing.  Something just didn't feel right in there.  

    I basically followed the advice of this article I've posted several times in the Forum --- http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459454  only I modified it slightly in that I did a few differenct exercises to work on the RC's, not just one.  The most important thing I did, however, was to STOP BENCHING while I worked on my rotator cuffs.  I've been doing RC exercises at the end of my workouts, slowly getting my RC's stronger.  I haven't really benched since a powerlifting competition around the beginning of August, neither flat nor incline.  The only pressing movement I've been doing is the 90 degree shoulder press.  I've been doing flyes for chest, both flat and incline.  My chest has responded much better to the flyes than it does to benching, even while I've been cutting.

    Anyway, my shoulders have been feeling really good and I decided to give the incline bench a test today.  The weights were flying up like they were made out of air, I couldn't believe it.  There was no twinge or any kind of precarious feeling in my RC's at all.  I did my previous 1 rep MAX on the incline 5 times, and I think could have done a couple more reps, but just didn't want to push it.  This is a HYUUUUGE leap for me.  

    That article on t-nation was correct, my RC's were slowing me down GREATLY, and all that time I just thought it was the fact that my pecs/rhomboids/lats just weren't strong enough to push the weight up.  

    If you are having any kind of RC issues in relation to your bench press, I strongly advise you to read that article.  You'll see my name down there in the comments section where I said I was going to give it a try.  That was in July.   Just give the bench up for awhile, and slowly work on those RC's.  You might be surprised at what you can do once they catch up to the rest of your body.
     
  2. Lifting N Tx

    Lifting N Tx New Member

    Fantastic result, Steve!

    I'd read the article some time back, but your first hand report adds more credibility to it.

    In any case, I haven't had any problems, but decided a month or so back to start doing rotator cuff work, and add more emphasis on overhead pressing and Pendlay rows to balance out my shoulders.

    I've read too many reports of guys battling through injuries. Preventative medicine is the best kind.
     
  3. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    Great post Steve and great results. Must be very satisfying.

    I am currently doing what you have done but will now make more of a concerted effort to work on my RCs. I am also going to start alternating flyes with dips while I am not benching (so now's the only time when I will be able to say that my deadlift is more than 300lbs more than my bench! [​IMG] ).
     
  4. style

    style New Member

    Nice one mate. I am doing the same thing, its 3 weeks to go till I check my RM [​IMG]

    Thats interesting that you continued to do flies, I thought that since flies are an exercise where you internally rotate your shoulders against resistance that would have made the problem worse?

    btw are you rotators now proportional toyour bench, according to Mr Poliquin?
     
  5. stevejones

    stevejones Member

    <div>
    (style @ Nov. 23 2006,07:25)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Nice one mate. I am doing the same thing, its 3 weeks to go till I check my RM  [​IMG]

    Thats interesting that you continued to do flies, I thought that since flies are an exercise where you internally rotate your shoulders against resistance that would have made the problem worse?

    btw are you rotators now proportional toyour bench, according to Mr Poliquin?</div>
    Yes, both RC's are significantly more than proportional to my bench now (at least what I thought was my max on the bench...I have yet to test my max again). Flyes have never bothered my shoulders. Dumbbell bench presses irritated my rc's only slightly, but enough to make me give them up while I worked on my rc's. Strangely enough, rear dumbbell lateral raises bothered my rc's alot, and that movement is just like a dumbbell fly in reverse.

    I made myself a shoulder horn out of a bunch of rebar I bent and tied together, then wrapped with electrical tape and foam. That's been a great for the rc's...never even used more than 25 lb dumbbells on it, just a lot of reps
     
  6. Fausto

    Fausto HST Expert

    Good go Steve.

    You surely on your way to being the bionic man [​IMG] thorugh HST, max-stim and a lot of inner discipline, right like a soldier [​IMG]

    I am sure that article is the same one I got some time back while browsing through T-nation.

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">My chest has responded much better to the flyes than it does to benching, even while I've been cutting. </div>

    Funny you feel that way, I am also starting to think the same, Ihave been doing flyes pretty hard and using all three angles, flat, 30 and 45 and was really stretching them pecs and there is no pain afterwards (DOMS) and the pecs are responding better than with flat bench.
     
  7. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    Steve, I remember the T-nation article, had read it, raised an eyebrow and plowed on with my usual, thinking that since I'd switched to d/b's for incline bench that I had it licked. Now my d/b presses are stalling before the rest of me, my regular bench always sukked, and I DO have pain in the shoulders somewhere vague.

    You got my attention. [​IMG]

    My next cycle I plan to do the 5x5 system, so I'll be knocking armwork into the background. I wonder what exersizes you used for the RC's and what you'd recommend for me in my next cycle. I really need to get this pain gone and grow some chest. My pecs have always been kinda flat, my biceps are long and low, my triceps are my greatest bodypart, so they'll survive.
     
  8. stevejones

    stevejones Member

    <div>
    (quadancer @ Nov. 24 2006,10:06)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Steve, I remember the T-nation article, had read it, raised an eyebrow and plowed on with my usual, thinking that since I'd switched to d/b's for incline bench that I had it licked. Now my d/b presses are stalling before the rest of me, my regular bench always sukked, and I DO have pain in the shoulders somewhere vague.

    You got my attention.  [​IMG]

    My next cycle I plan to do the 5x5 system, so I'll be knocking armwork into the background. I wonder what exersizes you used for the RC's and what you'd recommend for me in my next cycle. I really need to get this pain gone and grow some chest. My pecs have always been kinda flat, my biceps are long and low, my triceps are my greatest bodypart, so they'll survive.</div>
    Since you're doing the 5x5, I'd recommend that you do flyes in place of the bench press. One week I'd do 45 degrees, next week 30, then flat, etc. I'd make a shoulder horn or buy one http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/shoulder-horn.jpg

    and then examine these http://familydoctor.org/265.xml

    Then do the shoulder horn, and exercises 1,2,and 3 from the family doctor site at the end of every workout, or at least 3 times per week. I'd use progressive resistance, getting heavier on every workout, but never going above 25 lbs. Use very slow, controlled movements, and do 8-11 reps. When you are at 25lbs and still find it necessary to increase the weight, just go slower with the movement. I would test my &quot;structural balance&quot; with the rc exercise on t-nation once per week.

    So, do more or less, depending on how serious you are about it.
     
  9. Joe.Muscle

    Joe.Muscle Active Member

    Maybe I should just do a cycle of flys only?

    So Steve you are saying you are getting growth from flys only?

    Thanks
     
  10. stevejones

    stevejones Member

    <div>
    (Joe.Muscle @ Dec. 01 2006,16:10)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Maybe I should just do a cycle of flys only?

    So Steve you are saying you are getting growth from flys only?

    Thanks</div>
    I'm not growing anywhere right now, because I'm cutting, but flyes have always done more for my chest than any other exercise. Everyone is different, and my front delts greatly overpower my chest, so I'm what's known as a 'front delt pusher.' When I do pressing movements, my front delts take over and it's hard for me to make my chest the primary muscle group worked.
     
  11. style

    style New Member

    ''Everyone is different, and my front delts greatly overpower my chest, so I'm what's known as a 'front delt pusher.' When I do pressing movements, my front delts take over and it's hard for me to make my chest the primary muscle group worked. ''

    Like that guy from Pumping Iron, he had to do decline bench to get the chest development he desired [​IMG]
     

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