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Numbers Check for Big 4
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HiFiBoy
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Join date: Mar 2009
Posts: 253

Just wanted to put my numbers up for my four compound lifts to see where I stand. I'm very concerned about my bench as I feel weak when pressing and everyone seems to be throwing big weights around. I've been focusing on incline bench for the last 3 months as I want a full upper chest and my lower chest has always been decent, but I did flat bench for the last 2 weeks just to test out my level.

Height 5'8, Weight 71kg, Training 3 months (after 3 year hiatus, avatar was 3 years ago)

Bench 70kg x 3
Squat 130kg x 3 (parallel or below) I feel fear is holding me back a bit with squats
Military press 55kg x 5
DL 160kg x 3 (Increasing rapidly, I want a 4 plate lift desperately)

Do these lifts look about right? Is my bench low compared to my other lifts?

Feel free to post up your stats, height, weight, training time for comparison.

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Sutebun
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Join date: Aug 2011
Posts: 603

Your bench is definitely subpar compared to your other numbers.

Especially it seems really odd that you can press 55 for five reps but only bench 70 for three...

Try posting a form check/experimenting on your form.

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HiFiBoy
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Join date: Mar 2009
Posts: 253

Sutebun wrote:
Your bench is definitely subpar compared to your other numbers.

Especially it seems really odd that you can press 55 for five reps but only bench 70 for three...

Try posting a form check/experimenting on your form.


I'll see if I can get a video, I'm in a foreign country so discussing things in depth can be tough.

Is a bodyweight bench after 3 months bad though? I feel I am quite strong in my other lifts so it makes me feel like the bench is terrible. I think my shoulders dominate when pressing so I need to recruit my pecs more but I'm not sure how because they feel so weak.

I did 4x8 dips + 12kg weight belt yesterday.

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238
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Join date: Dec 2012
Posts: 289

I think the bench does sound a bit low as Sutebun said. For comparison, after 3-4 months I was at 75 kg and had the following 1RMs:

MP: 67.5 kg
BP: 105 kg
Squat: 135 kg
Deadlift: 160 kg

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Sutebun
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Join date: Aug 2011
Posts: 603

I didn't mean subpar as in you suck. Just compared to your other lifts ;)

If you're feeling that you're having trouble engaging your chest you may want to widen your grip some and also make sure to HOLD the bar up as much as possible. DON'T let it roll to the back of your palm and push your hand down so your wrist is almost like a L. Grip an empty bar with a thumbless grip and you'll see what I mean.

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HiFiBoy
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Join date: Mar 2009
Posts: 253

238 wrote:
I think the bench does sound a bit low as Sutebun said. For comparison, after 3-4 months I was at 75 kg and had the following 1RMs:

MP: 67.5 kg
BP: 105 kg
Squat: 135 kg
Deadlift: 160 kg


That's a pretty good bench, what are you repping (Whats your working set)? I try to stick around 5 reps. Do you have any videos so that I could see your form?

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HiFiBoy
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Join date: Mar 2009
Posts: 253

Sutebun wrote:
I didn't mean subpar as in you suck. Just compared to your other lifts ;)

If you're feeling that you're having trouble engaging your chest you may want to widen your grip some and also make sure to HOLD the bar up as much as possible. DON'T let it roll to the back of your palm and push your hand down so your wrist is almost like a L. Grip an empty bar with a thumbless grip and you'll see what I mean.


Thanks man, I'll give that a try. Honestly, I'm all over the place with bench form because I'm trying to figure out where I feel most comfortable and I can't seem to find a sweet spot, so I'm just brute forcing everything. My forearms are usually parallel to each other pointing straight down.

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LoRez
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Join date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6086

HiFiBoy wrote:
Sutebun wrote:
I didn't mean subpar as in you suck. Just compared to your other lifts ;)

If you're feeling that you're having trouble engaging your chest you may want to widen your grip some and also make sure to HOLD the bar up as much as possible. DON'T let it roll to the back of your palm and push your hand down so your wrist is almost like a L. Grip an empty bar with a thumbless grip and you'll see what I mean.


Thanks man, I'll give that a try. Honestly, I'm all over the place with bench form because I'm trying to figure out where I feel most comfortable and I can't seem to find a sweet spot, so I'm just brute forcing everything. My forearms are usually parallel to each other pointing straight down.


Where are you bringing the bar down? High on the chest? Middle chest? Low chest? Top of the abs?

Each of those places changes the emphasis as far as muscle recruitment: more or less triceps/anterior deltoids/upper chest/lower chest.

Another consideration is that the stabilizing muscles are holding things back, so you may want to consider working with dumbbell bench press for a bit until everything has settled down into a good groove. It will be pretty shaky the first few times you do it.

Also, how is your back work? Rows? Deadlifts? Pullups? Your back can hold back your bench press too. (Based on your OHP numbers, it sounds like your lower back is fine, but it's possible your upper back needs more work to help your bench.)

Just some points for exploration; there's plenty of content on this site.

Maybe helpful: There's a video series called "So you think you can bench" that discusses form pointers from a more powerlifting standpoint.

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HiFiBoy
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Join date: Mar 2009
Posts: 253

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[/quote]

Where are you bringing the bar down? High on the chest? Middle chest? Low chest? Top of the abs?

Each of those places changes the emphasis as far as muscle recruitment: more or less triceps/anterior deltoids/upper chest/lower chest.

Another consideration is that the stabilizing muscles are holding things back, so you may want to consider working with dumbbell bench press for a bit until everything has settled down into a good groove. It will be pretty shaky the first few times you do it.

Also, how is your back work? Rows? Deadlifts? Pullups? Your back can hold back your bench press too. (Based on your OHP numbers, it sounds like your lower back is fine, but it's possible your upper back needs more work to help your bench.)

Just some points for exploration; there's plenty of content on this site.

Maybe helpful: There's a video series called "So you think you can bench" that discusses form pointers from a more powerlifting standpoint.[/quote]

Thanks for the response.

I usually try and bring the bar down on the top of my abs as I'm just following what I've seen powerlifters do. I recall injuring my shoulder a long time ago bringing the bar down high on my chest so I avoid that.

I usually do incline db press with 20kg db's for 4x8. I feel pretty comfortable doing this as my shoulders seem to do a lot of the work.

My upper back is my strongest bodypart, I tried BB rows for the first time and comfortably rowed with 100kg x 5.

I'll check out the video, thanks man.

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238
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Join date: Dec 2012
Posts: 289

I think the forum ate my previous reply, hopefully this goes through.

HiFiBoy wrote:
238 wrote:
I think the bench does sound a bit low as Sutebun said. For comparison, after 3-4 months I was at 75 kg and had the following 1RMs:

MP: 67.5 kg
BP: 105 kg
Squat: 135 kg
Deadlift: 160 kg


That's a pretty good bench, what are you repping (Whats your working set)? I try to stick around 5 reps. Do you have any videos so that I could see your form?


Thanks, although with your numbers I suspect you'll easily surpass me once your form's nailed down. I'm running 5/3/1 so the working set is varying but over the past month or so (the 1RMs are a couple of months old) I've done 77.5 x 11, 82.5 x 8 and 87.5 x 6.

No videos unfortunately, but Sutebun and LoRez's advice is excellent. One thing I would expand on is where LoRez asked about your back. While bench pressing isn't as much of a full body lift like squats and deadlifting, full body tension and leg drive should not be underestimated. How tense are you when you're going for a max, especially in your lower body? Personally when I went for 105 kg my arms were fine afterwards but my lower back practically cramped up.

Also, when you're doing your heavier sets your breathing starts to play a role in stabilising your body. For me I breath in as much as I can before each rep then let it out after the rep, not while the bar's still going up.

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goochadamg
Level 3

Join date: May 2007
Posts: 1463

Where was your bench at 3 months ago? It's not so much what your numbers are now, but what the progression is like. It has only been 3 months back, so if you started benching 3 months ago at 95lbsx5, then I'd say you're about right where you should be. Building big strength takes many years. If your bench has been steadily increasing, then all is good. Just give it time.

Your bench seems to 'lag' because you've gotten very strong on your lower body lifts so quickly. Be happy about that! Your deadlift is awesome -- you're closing in on 2.5x bodyweight! And I imagine you can squat twice body weight for 1. Impressive lower body strength for only 3 months back.

I don't think there's anything 'wrong' with you. Keep lifting heavy shit and stuffing meat in your face.

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Andrewdwatters1
Level 1

Join date: Jul 2010
Posts: 458

metric. smh lol

bench: 235
squat: 295
dead: 315X3
OHP: 135X5

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Apoklyps
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Join date: Aug 2012
Posts: 976

goochadamg wrote:
Where was your bench at 3 months ago? It's not so much what your numbers are now, but what the progression is like. It has only been 3 months back, so if you started benching 3 months ago at 95lbsx5, then I'd say you're about right where you should be. Building big strength takes many years. If your bench has been steadily increasing, then all is good. Just give it time.

Your bench seems to 'lag' because you've gotten very strong on your lower body lifts so quickly. Be happy about that! Your deadlift is awesome -- you're closing in on 2.5x bodyweight! And I imagine you can squat twice body weight for 1. Impressive lower body strength for only 3 months back.

I don't think there's anything 'wrong' with you. Keep lifting heavy shit and stuffing meat in your face.


I agree with this. I think people put too much stock in ratios for their lifts. Being concerned about being balanced is good, but I don't think it's wise to obsess about things. Whoever made these ideal ratios didn't take into account that no one is "ideal", and we all have different shapes, strengths, and weaknesses.

I know lots of people who have relatively subpar benches and strong lower bodies. I'm one of them. I was a really quick study on the deadlift, adding around 100lbs to my 1RM in the first month. But my bench... That's been a constant battle. If your bench is going up, you're building muscle, and you're learning more about training, then you're good to go. In your case, it's probably too early to tell.

If it does turn out later on that your bench is actually lagging, then it's time to experiment and change things up a little.

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HiFiBoy
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Join date: Mar 2009
Posts: 253

Thanks for you replies guys.

Just a quick update. I changed my form and kind of pinched my shoulders lower down my back (about half way). This felt much better and I stuck an extra 10kg on and managed 3, which was the same as my previous. I think focusing on this form will lead me to some good gains.

I'm aiming for 405 dl, 220 bench, bw military press and as much as I can get with squat. I feel that will be a nice base to start focusing on more bodybuiding aimed exercises.

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goochadamg
Level 3

Join date: May 2007
Posts: 1463

HiFiBoy wrote:
Thanks for you replies guys.

Just a quick update. I changed my form and kind of pinched my shoulders lower down my back (about half way). This felt much better and I stuck an extra 10kg on and managed 3, which was the same as my previous. I think focusing on this form will lead me to some good gains.

I'm aiming for 405 dl, 220 bench, bw military press and as much as I can get with squat. I feel that will be a nice base to start focusing on more bodybuiding aimed exercises.


Nice job!

I'm curious about you goals though. What are you going to do, stop deadlifting, benching and shoulder pressing when you hit those numbers? Do you realize those are far lower than you're capable of? Don't underestimate yourself.

You can still do "bodybuilding aimed exercises" (?) while doing the "big 4".

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