We’ve all been there. Numbers are steadily increasing then all of a sudden they come to a screeching halt for no apparent reason. Sometimes your numbers may actually drop, which is even more ridiculous. Here are 11 things to avoid to get your benchpress workouts back on track and your numbers up.
#1.Not eating enough
This is a big one that rears its head more often than you think. It makes sense that in order to gain strength you must feed your body. Your body will probably demand a bit more from you calorie wise when your benching 400 than when you were benching 200. Usually this is just laziness or too many supplements and not enough real food, so add 1000 calories or so to your diet and watch what happens.
Not getting enough fluid will leave you feeling weak and lethargic. Notice I said fluid and not water. Drinking water is great but contains no calories. Milk, fruit juice, and sports drinks are 95% or more water anyway so get some calories while you hydrate. Your pee is supposed to be light yellow to clear, so if its dark then either you just had an energy drink or you’re dehydrated. Unfortunately by the time you see your pee its too late so drink fluid often and it won’t be a problem.
#3.Not enough protein
Muscles need protein to rebuild so that you can be stronger, robbing them of this will stop your strength gains in there tracks. Buy some whey and add 100grms a day to your diet. Bingo-back on track.
This is a touchy one because volume and intensity is relative to the individual. The simple explanation is that if you feel lethargic during your workout despite 5 scoops of pre-workout, then you’re probably over trained and should take a week off. That’s right…a whole week. Your CNS will thank you on your next max attempt.
#5.Not enough sleep
If you are a serious strength athlete then this is obvious, but 8 to 10 hrs a night is a must. If you only get 4 or 5 because you like to party or your job is stressful bla, bla, bla, then don’t complain that your bench sucks. Eat, Sleep, Train…no sleep, no recovery.
#6.Same old routine
You know the old saying, ” the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Well, this COULD be to blame if your stuck. Now don’t get me wrong, If you’ve started a routine you should stay with it for 3 or 4 months at least, otherwise you won’t even know if it works. Too often guys will use bands for 3 weeks and say they don’t work, etc… so give your routine a chance, BUT if you stop making progress go ahead and make a change, it will probably be for the better.
#7. Not targeting weaknesses
If you are missing lifts at lockout, then make sure you have plenty of triceps and lockout work in your bench press workouts. Don’t just train chest endlessly because you have a strong chest and it’s easy. You’re only as strong as your weakest link, so constantly adapt your training to attack your weak points as they develop. Something that is a strength one training cycle may become a weakness on the next, so pay attention.
#8. Bad Training partner
. You’re usually only as good as the people you train with. Most of the stronger camps in the sport got that way by pushing each other daily, and sharing information to make each other better. If you train with a bunch of tools then don’t expect too much support when you hit a road block. Find the strongest, most experienced lifters in your area and train with them and watch your numbers go back up
#9.Lower body weakness
SQUATS… OOOHH, the word that sends chills down the backs of bench only guys everywhere. Look, if your bench press workouts are lagging then it could be that your entire body needs to be stimulated back into growth and strength gains. Nothing does this faster than squatting, it is the king of all exercises for a reason. You’ll be more likely to add 20 lbs to your bench max by squatting than adding some press downs and flys into your routine, so don’t be afraid put out some effort into making your WHOLE body strong, not just your arms and chest.
#10.Lack of focus
Mental barriers are a major hurdle for many lifters to overcome. You know how you wanted to bench 4 plates, but it looks like a lot more than 400 does even though it’s 5 lbs difference. This happens because we have set up mental barriers that have to be destroyed before the weight will move. You’re literally stopping yourself from accomplishing your goals. If you don’t think you will get a certain weight, guess what…you won’t…ever. Be confident in what you’re trying to do and focus on the task at hand. Prepare yourself ahead of time and visualize what you need to do.
If you’re hitting a wall in your bench press workouts then I guarantee you the answer lies in one or a combination of the above reasons. Be thoughtful in your approach to your training and diet and your numbers will be climbing in no time.
Author: Ian Smalley
Website: Violent Hero