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Training Weaknesses - Part 2.

In part two of this series, learn about how to train your weaknesses on the bench press and how to develop a more powerful bench!
The bench press, America's favorite lift! It's the one lift that everyone likes to excel at. But there is a lot more to benching than just lying on the bench and pressing the bar. Like squats, there is a lot more to it and more you have to work on. Bench specialists in powerlifting have flawless form and unreal strength on the bench because they hammer those weakness. I'm going to explain those weaknesses on this lift and as you will soon see, there are more weak areas on the bench than any other lift.

Bench Press

    Lack Of Lockout Power - Having a strong lockout will make your bench look easy. Bench Lockouts at wide-grip or close-grip will help this as well as help with holding and feeling heavier weight. You can have strong or weak triceps but if your not able to lockout heavy weight on bench, this is going to be one way of fixing it. Also, 6-board presses and 5-board presses will do this as well. I mentioned them in my bands and boards article. When your having to sit the bar on the board and "shove" back it helps with your triceps and lockout strength.

    Weak/Slow Off Chest Strength - Speed bench can help with this. By using 45% of your 1RM you can work on speed off your chest. WSB (West Side Bench) advocates this and it has helped a lot of their lifters achieve some unreal weights in competition because of their speed. You can also strengthen this area by doing 1-board presses. I wouldn't do 1RM on these since it would defeat the purpose. Doing reps like 3RM or 5RM will work to strengthen this area.

    With the speed bench, you can add chains and bands in time to really increase your explosiveness. Doing DB bench press, floor presses, and DB floor presses will help as well. With the floor presses, don't go for 1RM, like board presses, do 3-5RMs only and you can add bands and chains on these as well.

    Mid-Range Trouble (stopping short of lockout) - This is the most frustrating part of benching, it is getting through the sticking point of the lift. Believe it or not, the reason for this is not the chest entirely. Your shoulders and triceps play a part in this area but don't neglect the chest though. 4-board, 3-board, and 2-board presses works this area of the bench. You can go 1-3RM on these since strengthening this area is vital. Band pushdowns, pushdowns/weight & band resistance, french Presses, tate Presses, JM presses, or DB extensions will help with strengthening the triceps.

    Doing close-grip benching will help as well as helping with the off-chest strength. Doing shoulder work like overhead lockouts, DB shoulder presses, barbell shoulder presses, rotator cuff work, etc. will strengthen the shoulder. Be sure to work all angles of the shoulder, i.e. rear delts and front delts. Also, working the back helps as well. The back plays a part in a big bench. Doing wide-grip pulldowns, barbell rows, DB rows, or anything in the same plane as the bench will help.

    Uneven Extension - This again is tricep weakness. Doing the prescribed tricep exercises will help this but doing slightly more reps on the weaker arm than the other helps too. This only works on single-arm movements like 1-arm pushdowns, single-arm DB extension, etc.

    Not Used To The Bench Shirt - This is typical if you're a beginner or even a experienced lifter getting into a new shirt. Working in the shirt helps to break it in more as well as getting used to working in it and getting weights to touch. This is the idea behind Metal Militia training. These guys work in their shirts and get a lot of weight out of them. You can read my personal experience on this in my article on their training as well as reading the interviews of Mike Ruggeria, Mike Miller, Sebastian Burns, and Bill Carpenter.

    Getting Tired In The Shirt - This is the same as GPP. This is also the other idea behind doing the shirt work is increasing your GPP. When I did shirt work for the first time, I was sweating all over the place but over time as I got used to the shirt and got stronger, the heavier weights didn't fatigue me as much. Doing shirt work will help this as well as doing high volume for three weeks. For more, go to and view their training program.

Next up, weaknesses on the deadlift. I believe from personal experience you should be able to excel pretty well by following the suggestions on the bench. Until next time, hammer those weaknesses!

Be sure to check out:
Training Weaknesses - Part One!