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  #1  
Old 11-07-2011
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Default Back to the bench

I haven't benched seriously for over two years, mostly a set here and there maybe every third month. I completely lost all interest for the lift when I switched over to focusing on Oympic lifting and my beat up shoulders needed the break.

Now I am starting to crave benching again though. I have done a shit ton of overhead work for the last two years and my imbalance between horizontal and vertical pressing has evened out a lot. When I could close grip bench over 150kg I was struggling with push pressing anything above 80kg. I think this was, along with major lack of shoulder mobility, the reason my shoulders threw in the towel every time I got above 150kg in the bench. Now I can do reps with 100kg in the behind the neck push press so my vertical/horizontal strength ratio is better (even though my overhead strength still needs to be improved) and my flexibility is great from all snatches, overhead squats, shoulder dislocates etc. Perhaps the time is ripe again to chase a double bodyweight bench

First goal is to simply get my close grip bench above 150kg again. I will do all barbell pressing with a close grip simply because it is much friendlier to my joints, wide grip is reserved for when I want to test my conventional bench of even then. I was looking through my old log from 2008 to figure out what I was doing right back then. I made the most rapid bench strength gains ever during that period. I was following a westside style program for the bench, with a max effort day once per week or a dynamic or repetition day once a week. Its tested and true and works wonders so I will do that again. I am going to incorporate it into the general program I am following now that is a linear progression Rippetoe style for my front squat.

Here is the outline of my program:

Monday:
Snatch/Clean technique work
Bench variation repetition or dynamic effort day
Front squat 3x5
Assistance

Tuesday:
Circut training

Wednesday:
Snatch
Clean & jerk
Push press 3x5
Assistance

Thursday
"Fool around day"
Wrist training

Friday
Snatch/Clean technique work
Bench variation 3rm or 1rm + back off
Front squat 3x5
Deadlift 5rm
Assistance

The bench variation exercises I will be using is floor press, close grip flat bench and decline bench. When going through my old logs I could see that those three where the best exercises for me as far as carryover to normal bench press and as far as ease of progressing.

Last edited by Johan; 11-07-2011 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 11-07-2011
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I am letting my olympic lifts go to the background a bit now. Working mostly a bit lighter on crisp form and focusing on front squat, push press, bench and deadlift for strength gains. My wrists started bothering me again 2 weeks ago so I can not do much snatching at all.

I expect to run this program for a while. I will reach a plateau soon in the front squat, then I will either switch to 3 sets of 3 or back down in weight and work my way back up again with the 3x5's. Currently I add 2.5kg every front squat workout. Might go down to adding 1kg every workout instead to keep gains going for longer. When I have milked that to the edge I will start a texas method style program for the squat or switch to back squat and see how far I can push that in a linear fashion.

My training during the reminder of the year will be a bit fragmented. Vaccation etc, I have had a very good training run this fall though so its no big deal. After Christmas I just go straight back on gaining All the while of course I am on a diet.

I will do repetition work instead of dynamic work for my light bench days because explositivity has never been my problem in bench. I will throw in some more overhead work of some fashion on one of the bench days so that I do one set of vertical pressing for every set of horizontal pressing. Of course I will do one set of row or chin for every set of pressing as well to keep everything balanced and injury free. Thats crammed into what I can "assistance".

Comments, input, questions are very welcome!
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Old 11-07-2011
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My "fool around days" simply mean I go into the gym without a plan and I do whatever I feel like. If I want to hit gunz I do that, if I want to fool around with kettlebells I do that, if I want to throw around the sandbag or hit the heavy bag I do that. As long as it won't negatively impact my Friday workout everything is possible.
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Old 11-07-2011
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I can't have "fool around days". For me, I have to have a plan or I just can't focus.
Perhaps you should add some sort of conditioning to that day every week and just change it up to whatever form of it you like....just a suggestion.
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Old 11-07-2011
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^^ i always do conditioning on those days. Not as hard as on tuesdays though.

I have discovered that it can be very nice to play with the kettlebells and just find the flow of the motions, ignore weight or intensity and focus on movement quality. One can really flow with the kettlebells in a way impossible with other tools. I do stuff like that. I always throw in some burpees or skip rope etc aswell and general mobility.
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Old 11-11-2011
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Behind the neck push-press of 100kg? SICK!

Will definitely be interested in your progress here.
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Old 11-11-2011
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^^ did 4 reps with 97.5 kg two weeks ago. Three pressing workouts in a row i got stuck on that weight. Time to back it of a bit.

Push press behind the neck is such an awesome exercise
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Old 11-13-2011
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^^Any vids Jo?
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Old 11-14-2011
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I can try and shoot a vid on wednesday

Been away for a couple of days.
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Old 11-15-2011
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^^^Looking forward to it!
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