Today told me a lot… and brings about many changes.
Wendler 5/3/1 program, cycle 15, week 2
- 3 reps – Bench Press (working max: 240#)
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- 1x3x170 (work)
- Asst. #1 – Bench Press
- 1 x 8 x 185
- 1 x 6 x 185
- 1 x 10 x 155
- 1 x 6 x 155
- 1 x 10 x 120
- Asst. #2 – Chin-ups – band assist
- 5 x ??? x BW
- Pump superset
- Flat Bench DB Flies
- JM Press
- Hammer Cheat Curls
- 3 sets, 8-15 reps, enough weight to make it hard; on 3rd set immediately drop weight and keep going to failure
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m now trying to focus on my bench pressing technique. I spent time on squat and deadlift, but hey… we’re guys, benching is just something innate in us, right? While I’ve done some stuff on technique, I was certainly more focused on squat and deadlift. While I’m far from an expert on those 2 lifts, I’m at enough of a point where I know what I need to know and not just need to do. Plus seeing how poorly my bench form has been… yeah… I’m risking shoulder problems or other issues if I don’t fix things now. So, time to focus on bench.
As I’ve been reading too much Dave Tate and watching too many Dave Tate videos, I see some of my problems, I find cues to make them better. The biggest realization? Benching is not about the chest — it’s about triceps. And my triceps suck. I see it. I press, and as I approach lock-out my elbows no longer point 45º — my shoulder rotates and my elbows are now 90º, perpendicular to my body. No no no… bad. Oh sure, that’s how the bodybuilders do it, but that’s not my goal. So today I was doing all sorts of things to fix my form:
- grip the bar harder
- rest on the traps
- foot/leg positioning should be such that you keep the weight on the traps
- brought my grip in slightly, so my pinkies are on the rings instead of my ring finger
- keep elbows tucked all the way through
- lock out, all the way out
- keep the whole body tight… especially the lower body… and drive drive drive!
- ensure the bar touches at the same spot every time, just below the nipples
- press up, not so much driving back towards the uprights
and the list can go on.
Consequently, I didn’t get as many reps @ 220# as I hoped to. But that’s OK. I’d rather fix my form and bench tomorrow than keep going and blow something out.
In fact, I’m thinking about dropping my weight. Not sure by how much just yet, but dropping weight and allowing focus on form. I might drop my Press too, since that’s so much about lockout.
I mean, when I was JM Pressing, I kept the weight really really light and ensured elbows stayed tucked and I got a true lock-out every rep. I really need to bring up my triceps.
And so, here’s where my head will focus for a while.
As for other things….
I’m going to stop the Scooby-style chinups. It’s just too hard on my elbows at this stage. Sucks to be heavy and weak. But I did dig out the bands at the gym. It’s not an ideal setup because the bar isn’t high enough (I have to bend at the knees and keep my feet back) and the band thing has a loop at the end for a foot to go into. So… I have to work on finding a way to make it go. But I’m going to try band-assist for while so I can get more reps in. We’ll see how it goes.
Anyways…. onwards to a better bench.