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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bench press introspection, Part I

Yesterday was a weird one. Typically I train first thing in the morning, but I had an early client and thus found myself at the gym early. I proceeded to work until 6 pm, and then realized I needed to get my bench press session in for this week. Allow me to step back for a moment.

Let's be 100%, brutally honest here - I suck at bench pressing. Yes, I realize this is negative self-talk, a self-fulfilling prophecy, whatever. All I'm trying to do is call a spade a spade.

When I first started powerlifting I hit ~250 pounds for my first 3 or 4 meets at 181. I felt like I got stronger during my training cycles, but when it came time to hit a PR something was amiss. This changed prior to collegiate nationals, as I realized my set-up was absolutely atrocious. Once I learned to get tight, I immediately allowed my body to realize those strength gains in the form of a 36 pound PR.

Over the next couple of years, I really focused in on my bench press training. Obviously, moving up from the 181 to 198 pound weight class helped as my leverages improved. My bench slowly grew, and over the next 3 years I made some decent gains, taking my bench from 286 to 335 in competition.

It was during this time that I was playing around with a new bench shirt in training, and I really focused my efforts in on improving my lockout strength. In fact, with a shirt that I never actually used in a meet, I locked out 365 in the gym. A gym lift is a gym lift, though, and I really wasn't comfortable using a shirt that required a PR weight just to touch my chest! Regardless, I felt like I was on the right track.

Back to yesterday. I got a nice warm-up in, crank up some 2Pac and get to work. Unfortunately, things just aren't where they need to be and my session totall sucked. Granted, this could've been due to the fact that I worked 10 hours prior to training, but it shouldn't be this bad. I feel like my upper back strength is better than ever, but my bench just isn't going back up.

Tomorrow, I'm going to outline my plan to get my bench back up to a (somewhat) respectable level.

Stay strong


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