ATHLETIC CONSULTING TRAINING REPORT -
1 – HOW TO BENCH 300
If you have been stuck benching 250 lbs and
really want to get to 300 lbs in 2003 then reading this
newsletter will be the biggest step you take this year.
Get ready to bench 250, 300, 400, or more!
How did a CB ATHLETICS client recently bench
press 300 lbs at a bodyweight of 182 lbs? Some of the secrets
are inside this newsletter, but the entire program he used
to reach his success has been packaged into a complete 1
year manual called BENCH PRESS STRENGTH! available from
CB ATHLETICS. The program provides 19 three-week workout
cycles for a total of 52 weeks worth of bench-blasting workouts.
That’s right, BENCH PRESS STRENGTH! provides you with
a full year’s training cycle!
For the client, there were several key factors
that occurred on the day of his 300 lbs bench press that
are important to pass on:
1 – The record was set on a Monday after
a weekend full of rest and good nutrition.
2 – The atmosphere in the gym was conducive to hard
3 – Correct mental focus (visual imagery) was used
prior to the lift.
4 – The warm-up sets progressed properly with the
correct mix of volume and intensity. Only low reps were
used in the warm-up sets and the final warm-up repetition
was less than 90% of the estimated maximum lift. The precise
order of warm-up was:
45 x 6 reps
95 x 6 reps
135 x 3 reps
185 x 3 reps
225 x 1 rep
245 x 1 rep
265 x 1 rep
300 x 1 rep – SUCCESS!
* Keep your elbows tucked in to your side and use your strong
triceps to help the lift. The BENCH PRESS STRENGTH! manual
contains the appropriate volume and intensity of triceps
work to prepare your arms.
* Use your whole body in the lift. Push against the floor
with your feet. Keep your upper back muscles tensed and
keep the upper back on the bench for stability.
* Push the bar straight up to reduce the movement distance.
* Practice your technique! Heavy lifting is a combination
of skill and muscular work, so learn how you to perform
the movement most efficiently.
* Identify your weaknesses so that you can train appropriately.
Use the following questionnaire (from the CB ATHLETICS BENCH
manual) as a guideline.
> What are your weaknesses in the bench press? Liftoff?
> What are your strengths in your lifts?
> What are your specific goals for the bench press?
> What is your training schedule? – Detail each
> Have you had any injuries?
> What training program has given you the best results
in the past?
BENCH PRESS TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS
If you need to take your bench to the next
level, and hit 500, 600, or more, then CB ATHLETICS recommends
you visit www.elitefitnesssystems.com.
Read some of Dave Tate’s articles and spend some time
in the “Q’n’A” section.
The first step to improving your bench (even
before designing your program) is figuring out what the
heck is stopping you from benching more weight. What is
your weak area in the exercise?
1) If you fail at the bottom…
If you just can’t get the weight off your chest (but
would have no problem with the lockout), you need to become
more explosive in the start of the movement. Dave Tate recommends
you incorporate explosive pressing. This is described later
in this newsletter as “Dynamic Effort” training.
2) You can’t complete the lockout…
If so, then your triceps strength (or lack of it) may limit
your success. Use a combination of heavy close-grip presses
and triceps extensions to build the necessary triceps strength.
Pick the weak spot in your bench and make it a priority
in training. In addition to determining your weaknesses
in the bench, here are a couple of other factors you can
modify that will help you add plates to your press.
1) Address the importance of your body position
when you bench…
If you want to bench heavy, you have to turn bench pressing
from a bodybuilding exercise into a skill. That means you
have to practice the form that allows you to lift the heaviest
weight. Dave Tate insists on keeping your upper body tight
and keeping your upper back and lats contracted.
According to Sarah Clarke, gold medalist
at the 2002 Canadian National Powerlifting Championships
in the 75 kg weight class, “You can’t let your
legs dance around or tap your feet when things get tough.
This reduces your power generation in the bench press. Instead,
you must set a strong foundation with your legs. Press your
upper back into bench and use this to aid in the pressing
of the bar. Stability is a key in a heavy bench press, so
putting your feet on the bench isn’t going to help
you out one bit. Tension throughout the entire body is mandatory
in the bench press.”
Review each rep afterward and use this feedback
to improve each future rep. According to Tate, you should
“stay tight, keep the elbows tucked, drive your heels
into the floor and shove your body away from the bar as
you press”. Practice your technique. Treat strength
development like any skill development. Perfect practice
makes perfect. You have to do it over and over again to
find your best method of benching
2) Strengthen your upper back.
You don’t just need a strong chest and triceps to
bench big. You also need a strong upper back to keep your
body tight and stable. Concentrate on barbell rowing, seated
rowing, and pull-ups (or pulldowns) to build a big strong
back. In addition to stability, this will also go a long
way in keeping your shoulders healthy (and your upper back
looking nice and thick).
3 – BENCH PRESS STRENGTH!
Maximal Effort Training
This type of training refers to the sessions
where you lift as much weight as you possibly can for a
specific number of repetitions. For example, a 5 RM maximal
effort session would require you to work up the best weight
that you can lift for 5 repetitions with good form.
The philosophy of the BENCH PRESS STRENGTH! program is to
have one upper body maximal effort session per week. The
exercise you choose for your max effort lift must change
regularly, and can be used for a maximum of 3 weeks continuously.
The purpose of switching max effort exercises frequently
is to keep your central nervous system from adapting and
from reducing the gains from your training. This theory
has worked very well in practice for some of the strongest
lifters in the world. For more information on how this philosophy
is incorporated into training, please visit www.elitefitnesssystems.com.
NOTE: The max effort workouts use very heavy
weights. Do not attempt to lift very heavy weights if you
are alone, inexperienced, injured, or fatigued. Do not use
max effort training unless you have over 1 year of experience
in weight training. Always ask someone to spot you when
lifting. If you have an injury or medical condition, consult
your physician prior to using this program. Do not perform
any exercise without proper instruction. Always perform
an appropriate warm-up prior to max effort training.
Dynamic Effort Training
Dave Tate recommends devoting one day per
week to “dynamic effort” training. Dynamic effort
training is designed to increase explosiveness. The foundation
of a dynamic effort workout is opposite to a traditional
workout. Because the focus of a dynamic exercise is to move
the weight as fast as possible, you will use much less weight.
In addition, rather than performing a small number of sets
and many repetitions, you will perform a larger number of
sets of only a small number of repetitions (i.e. 8 sets
of 3 repetitions for the bench press).
It is extremely important to push the bar
with maximal force on each rep. Don’t take it easy
just because it is a lighter weight. Adding chains and bands
(see below) helps increase the resistance at the top of
the movement. You must press with maximal force to overcome
the added resistance at the top of the movement. Tate describes
dynamic effort training as, “compensatory acceleration”
and that “it can help you break through sticking points”.
The key to getting through a sticking point
as Tate describes it is to, “train to accelerate through
the sticking point”. If explode the bar up, you can
get break through your sticking point. When training with
the dynamic effort, focus on bar speed. If the bar slows
down from rep to rep, it means the weight is too heavy.
Use a resistance that is ~50% of your estimated 1 RM bench
for 8 sets of 3.
The Use of Bands & Chains in Bench Press Training
Adding a chain or band increases the resistance
at the top of the movement. For example, if you have 225
lbs. on the bar plus a 10 lbs. chain on each side, you will
bench press 225 lbs. off your chest but you will lockout
245 lbs. The chains must be attached to “unload”
onto the floor when the bar is lowered.
The same principle applies to the bands. The bands are looped
around both a secure object at ground level and the ends
of the barbell. The bands then provide less resistance at
the bottom of the movement. If you require a photo of the
band set-up, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: Start light when using these tools for
your first time so that you get used to the unique resistance
provided by bands and chains.
4 – BENCH PRESS EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS
Here are some of the exercise descriptions
from the manual. Remember to always have a spotter for heavy
bench pressing and for the lift-off. Your spotter will help
you get the bar off the rack and out to the start position.
You will also need them to make sure that you complete every
repetition in your set.
* Keep your feet flat on the floor, legs bent,
and upper back flat against the bench.
* Grip the bar using a medium-width grip.
* Have your spotter help you take the bar from the rack.
* Keeping your elbows close to your sides, lower the bar
straight down to the bottom of your chest.
* Pause briefly and then press the bar back up above the
chest in a straight line.
Dynamic Bench Press
* Attach the chains or bands to the ends of
the bar as required. Make sure to anchor the bands under
the rack or with very heavy dumbbells.
* Keep your feet flat on the floor, legs bent, and upper
back flat against the bench.
* For the first 3 sets, grip the bar using a medium-width
grip. Use a slightly wider grip for the next 3 sets, and
a slightly narrower grip for the final 3 sets.
* Keeping your elbows close to your sides, lower the bar
straight down to the bottom of your chest.
* Accelerate the bar up as quickly as possible. Perform
all 3 reps as fast as you can.
DB Floor Press
* Lie on the floor and hold the dumbbells
above your chest with your palms turned toward your feet.
* Lower the dumbbells until your upper arms contact the
* Pause briefly and then press the dumbbells straight up
above the chest.
* You can also hold the dumbbells with your palms turned
towards your body (palms will face each other) to emphasize
triceps and minimize shoulder stress.
A floor press strengthens the mid-point of
your bench and demands a strong grip. It also removes the
leg drive from the exercise and makes you work harder while
forcing you to keep your body tight. Do 2-3 sets of 6-8
reps. Start with no more than 75 percent of what you use
in a normal flat bench dumbbell press.