Why People Struggle With The Bench Press


“People like comfortable, but comfortable isn’t strong”

- Coach Ben


Ego Lifting

The number one reason why people struggle so much on the bench press is a result of ego lifting. Everybody wants to know how much you bench, it has become a test of manhood and strength. The result of this is people ditching well designed programs and trying to max out on bench all the time. 

Hitting slow moving 1 rep bench presses does nothing to get you strong and everything to breed bad habits and poor technique. Sure you might find out what you have that day but you are setting yourself back from hitting something huge further down the road

What gets you strong on the bench is following a properly thought out periodized program that builds size and strength while stressing good form and manageable working weights. If you are the gym hero that goes into the gym without a plan and trains to failure and maxes out all the time, don’t expect to take your bench very far. Moving through the 300’s is much more difficult and requires more planning than moving through the 200’s

Do yourself a favor and train hard on a good program for 8-12 weeks before attempting to hit a new max. Your buddies will still be there to brag to after you hit it and you’ll crush your old max by 20-30 lbs. Save the hail mary attempts for meet day

If you need a solid bench program and are looking to crush your old 1 rep max by 30+ lbs contact me at coachben@bigbenchas.com for a personalized routine designed to improve your unique weaknesses and get you brutally strong

Stuck in Your Ways

People do not like change. Change is unfamiliar and we as humans like to remain comfortable in our ways. I cannot stress to you enough how the smallest little technical things can change a lift. I have made the smallest changes such as sliding a finger over on the bar or dropping a finger underneath the bar that have made a 50+ lb sway in my lifts. It is almost hysterical how you can bust ass for years to get stronger and something so small changes so much for you

However many people won’t experience this sensation because they won't embrace change. Lifters get stuck in their ways and don’t want to try anything new, or they will try something new and not give it enough time to promote benefits. I remember the first time I started low bar squatting. It felt very strange and I did not like it at all, but I understand that changes won’t happen immediately. You need to try something for a good amount of time before you can expect to get better. Making that change is the best thing I ever did for my squat

Try new things!! I am constantly watching other lifters, asking questions, watching videos. If there is anything I can change that will help me get better I’ll try it. I’ve gotten so much better through doing this. At first not everything clicks but when it does it’s a game changer. Sometimes things never work out and then you simply know that this doesn’t work for me, maybe down the road it will though. Right after a meet during offseason work is an excellent time to experiment with different things. Be studious and listen to advice, experiment and learn

Too Comfortable

To many, the bench press is a simple lift, lie on a bench and press. Those people won’t get very far. Strong benchers know that a proper set up on a bench press is not a comfortable feeling. Like I mentioned above, people like comfortable, but comfortable isn’t strong. A good bench set up has your body screaming and your head going numb with pressure. If you don’t feel this way then you aren’t set up to bench big

Benching isn’t lie down and press, it is an elaborate process that is too in depth for this article. What I will tell you though is you need to be tight as hell from head to toe if you hope to move big weight. Most people that train don’t understand this and might never will. This is a huge reason why their bench suffers, or gets good initially but then quickly comes to a halt. There is no reason for progress to stagnate. It can slow down but as long as you are incorporating a well thought out program that advances as you advance and you are paying attention to being technically sound then you should progress forever. The main reason peoples progress comes to a screeching halt is because their technique is only built to handle so much weight, after this you need to find a new style and some tweaks that has the potential to get you stronger long term

Get out of your comfort zone and try something new! Your 1 rep max may suffer as a result, you may even feel weak using your new style, but give it some time and you may become stronger than you ever imagined!

- Coach Ben