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Thread: Strength gains

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  1. #1

    Strength gains

    I've been struggling to make gains in the weight room. Im pretty lean and strong for my slim frame...

    6'5 212
    BP- 250-265
    S- 325-335

    My squat is coming a long very nicely, but I can't seem to bump up my bench press unless I put on some body weight. The last time I went up (from 215 to 250) was over a 3 month period that I gained 10 or 15 pounds body weight. I used a hypertrophy style 4 sets of 12 with quite a bit of volume.

    I play football and a strong bench press has always been a goal of mine. I'd like to see that number up at 300 by the end of summer.

    So my question is, Do I need to do hypertrophy work to add some mass? I have ALWAYS struggled to make gains when I use the 5-3-1 or other various near maximal training methods. But I didn't gain weight during those times either..

    So again, I gained body weight during my last bench press gains, so was it the body weight gain that led to increased muscle size and strength? Or was it the program? Obviously it could be both but If I gain 15 pounds of body weight, will i see the same results whether I use 4 sets of 10 or 3x3 style?

  2. #2
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    You are, most likely, lifting too heavy early in the cycle to make gains later. Reduce your maxes and start a 3-4 week block with lower numbers.

    If, in the early part of a block, the weights are so heavy that they provide more fatigue than they do stimulation, the chance for improving upon maxes is reduced.

    In most cases, that's what I've seen with many of people but another possibility is getting stale by choosing the same exercises for many consecutive months.

    At some point, in most programs, hypertrophy/strength endurance work will be useful for later strength gains. Such work, though, is best done in an off-season.

  3. #3
    So if I did 3 sets of incline bench today 155x3, 185x3, 205x3... you suggest I scale that back for the first 4 week cycle (of the 5-3-1 program) and then press foreword on the fifth week? I think I've heard that reccomedend elsewhere as well.

    I'm not a noob lifter btw, just in a rut.

  4. #4
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    Just don't lift as heavy as planned. If you are not making gains, then in most cases, you are lifting too heavy early in the cycle. If you are using maxes, estimates that have been resulting in plateaus then you have either over-estimated your numbers or you simply start too heavy at the beginning of your cycle.

    My suggestion based upon what you have already done is either, don't progress up next week at the rate you had planned-maybe half that much (I really don't know what your numbers look like overall and how heavy you are starting but that sounds like a real possibility-too heavy). I'd have to see the entirety of your plan to make that determination.

    If you determine that you went much heavier than you should have done, consider just repeating this week's work next week to give yourself an additional week to adjust to the load.

    If your best BP is 250-265 for 1 rep then I'd say 205 for 3 during the intro microcycle for inclines is almost assuredly too heavy.

    Being conservative early in a cycle will typically leave you with more in the tank for the later, heavier weeks.

  5. #5
    Member RB34's Avatar
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    Need more details:

    1: What have you been doing?

    2: What are your main training goals?

    3: How much time you have before competition?

    4: What position?

    Quote Originally Posted by hemann View Post
    I've been struggling to make gains in the weight room. Im pretty lean and strong for my slim frame...

    6'5 212
    BP- 250-265
    S- 325-335

    My squat is coming a long very nicely, but I can't seem to bump up my bench press unless I put on some body weight. The last time I went up (from 215 to 250) was over a 3 month period that I gained 10 or 15 pounds body weight. I used a hypertrophy style 4 sets of 12 with quite a bit of volume.

    I play football and a strong bench press has always been a goal of mine. I'd like to see that number up at 300 by the end of summer.

    So my question is, Do I need to do hypertrophy work to add some mass? I have ALWAYS struggled to make gains when I use the 5-3-1 or other various near maximal training methods. But I didn't gain weight during those times either..

    So again, I gained body weight during my last bench press gains, so was it the body weight gain that led to increased muscle size and strength? Or was it the program? Obviously it could be both but If I gain 15 pounds of body weight, will i see the same results whether I use 4 sets of 10 or 3x3 style?

  6. #6
    Maybe this could help too...

    I took about 3 months off last fall and then got back into it. I started out light (at least for one week I did) then I progressed every single week for seven weeks. I did a low volume chest workout once every five days. Usually just worked 1 or 2 sets of 5 on flat Bennch working up to a 5rep max.and then I would do some incline and dips. It worked very well. At week 7 I did 235x5. Then with classes and Xmas break I took some time off unfortunately.

    So after break I started lighter again doing sets of five and stalled once I got 225x5. Since then I did sets of 8-12 hoping to put on some much needed size... hoping i could do that for 6 weeks or so and then transitions into heavier stuff... which I had thought worked well for me in the past. But I stalled on the 4x12 quicker than I thought.

    Now, I'm not ready to give up on anything, I'm just curious if that 4x12 hypertophy stuff is necessary... OR is it the body weight gain that led to the results? Will I see the same results without a hypertrophy block?

  7. #7
    Maybe this could help too...

    I took about 3 months off last fall and then got back into it. I started out light (at least for one week I did) then I progressed every single week for seven weeks. I did a low volume chest workout once every five days. Usually just worked 1 or 2 sets of 5 on flat Bennch working up to a 5rep max.and then I would do some incline and dips. It worked very well. At week 7 I did 235x5. Then with classes and Xmas break I took some time off unfortunately.

    So after break I started lighter again doing sets of five and stalled once I got 225x5. Since then I did sets of 8-12 hoping to put on some much needed size... hoping i could do that for 6 weeks or so and then transitions into heavier stuff... which I had thought worked well for me in the past. But I stalled on the 4x12 quicker than I thought.

    Now, I'm not ready to give up on anything, I'm just curious if that 4x12 hypertophy stuff is necessary... OR is it the body weight gain that led to the results? Will I see the same results without a hypertrophy block?

  8. #8
    Not to disrespect anyone's opinion, but I do not think there is such a thing as lifting too heavy early in a cycle. You can overtrain, but lifting light early in the cycle is not the answer. Lift hard and heavy for 3-4 weeks while increasing volume. If you feel yourself getting beat up or your lifts become more difficult, reduce volume by half for a week or two.

    Second, sets of 12 are not effecient for making you stronger. They're not actually that great for hypertrophy either, especially if they are too light. Strength is best built in the 1-3 rep range with weights above 85% of 1RM. Hypertrophy is best realized in the 8 rep range with weights that allow you to perform 3-4 sets of 8...barely. I suggest....

    Warm Up
    1) Sets of 2-3, working up to a near rep max, then another set or two at that weight. Long rest breaks (3-5mins).

    2) 3 x 8 at a weight that barely allows you to complete the last set...1-2 min rest breaks.

    3) Tricep work such as dips or close-grip bench press.

    Throw in some board presses. Two or three 2 x 4's on your chest with a good spotter. You will be using weights in excess of your 1RM for doubles and triples.

    This is not some crazy, exotic lifting. This is bread and butter powerlifting. It will be demanding, so I would only do this off season or GPP. If you don't compete as a sprinter, you can probably get away with it anytime.

  9. #9
    Member RB34's Avatar
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    Me love powerlifting.

    Quote Originally Posted by star61 View Post
    Not to disrespect anyone's opinion, but I do not think there is such a thing as lifting too heavy early in a cycle. You can overtrain, but lifting light early in the cycle is not the answer. Lift hard and heavy for 3-4 weeks while increasing volume. If you feel yourself getting beat up or your lifts become more difficult, reduce volume by half for a week or two.

    Second, sets of 12 are not effecient for making you stronger. They're not actually that great for hypertrophy either, especially if their too light. Strength is best built in the 1-3 rep range with weights above 85% of 1RM. Hypertrophy is best realized in the 8 rep range with weights that allow you to perform 3-4 sets of 8...barely. I suggest....

    Warm Up
    1) Sets of 2-3, working up to a near rep max, then another set or two at that weight. Long rest breaks (3-5mins).

    2) 3 x 8 at a weight that barely allows you to complete the last set...1-2 min rest breaks.

    3) Tricep work such as dips or close-grip bench press.

    Throw in some board presses. Two or three 2 x 4's on your chest with a good spotter. You will be using weights in excess of your 1RM for doubles and triples.

    This is not some crazy, exotic lifting. This is bread and butter powerlifting. It will be demanding, so I would only do this off season or GPP. If you don't compete as a sprinter, you can probably get away with it anytime.

  10. #10
    Thanks for everyone's responses. I really like the set up of

    Monday
    Bench variation ... incline or board press etc
    Squat variation

    Wed
    Cleans
    Dead lift
    Dips
    Military

    Friday
    Squat
    Bench press

    All auxiliary exercises would be for lower body speed stuff... ghr, sldl, etc.

    Low volume ...3 sets per exercise per day. Allows me to focus on more than just bench press, too. It's similar to what rb34 reccomeded in that other thread.

    Star: are you suggesting that I do 2-3 sets of heavy weight and then hypertrophy stuff afterwards? So like adding in additional presses with sets of 8? I could even do dumbbell work even?

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