Gym was closed for Easter

The gym was closed for Easter Sunday and Vivian and I had a tee time on Saturday so that meant I missed my front squat and bench press workout.  However, I walked the course and carried my bag and after sitting on my ass all Winter, what author John Feinstein once called, "A Good Walk Spoiled" absolutely, positively destroyed my legs and lower back.  Even if I had been able to lift on Sunday, I would've been good for nothing as even walking to the kitchen for food blew up my lower back with a killer low back pump.

Monday night was the night of a NHL Playoff fantasy league draft so I had a convenient excuse for skipping a workout on International Bench Press day.  The can of Guinness and the piece of pizza I ate while picking arguably the worst possible team (I know almost nothing about the hockey) did help rejuvenate my recuperative powers--that's the story I was sticking to at the time.

By tonight I was ready to squat.  I was but my body wasn't.  Everything felt pretty crappy overall and I kept having to change the weight just to find some decent bar speed.  Even still, I was stuck doing a bunch of doubles instead of 3's and 4-5's.  If I don't have some bounce in my step on my Thursday deadlift workout, I may have to reset my weights back a little and ramp back up.

Squats:  135x10, 225x10, 315x5, 385x3, 425x2, 425x2, 405x2, 385x2x3 sets, 365x4

Since I missed bench press day over the weekend, I decided to do them today and take a break from overhead pressing.  I was starting to regret this decision a bit after squats because my shoulders were extremely pissed at me.  For some reason, my shoulder mobility has regressed the past couple of weeks and I'm back to the point where multiple sets of back squats beat my shoulders to hell.  I'm going to have to get on the lacrosse ball some and also consider some Ibuprofen therapy.

Bench Presses:  45x10, 95x10, 135x6, 185x5, 225x3, 255x2x4 sets, 225x5x2 sets

The bench presses went relatively well.  The weights handled are very remedial but my shoulders held up well.  It certainly doesn't feel like there's any damage being done, I think I just have to get over the mental block and start smashing some weights again.


  1. Craig,

    Great site! Question for you- what works best for you in overcoming a bench press plateau? I am currently using the Texas Method, and I've been at the same bench press weight for a few weeks. Unfortunately, the bench press has always been my weakest movement.

    Thank you,

  2. Hi John, thanks for the comment! The bench press has always been my most challenging lift. When I was younger I believed it was because I had longish arms. Being much better at the deadlift from the start seemed to throw some confirmation bias into the mix.

    I suspect now it was just a matter of not training it correctly and not being patient. I never became a good bench presser but gaining size in the upper body that ended up shortening my stroke made a big difference. Now, if I do floor presses, the bar hits my chest when my elbows are on the floor, when I was a 181 or 198 lb lifter, that never occurred. Cutting a couple inches out of the ROM makes anyone a better bench presser.

    Things that worked well for me in the past: accessory exercises like weighted dips, incline db presses, 1-arm db tricep extensions (seated, arm overhead).

    Rep schemes that worked well to break through plateaus: paused doubles and triples concentrating on generating as much speed as possible (bar moves slowish since weights are heavy but the idea is to try to move the bar explosively). Also myo-reps done touch and go with an explosive concentric. Google 'myo-reps' for more info but it's basically a form of rest-pause training.

    Lately however, I've been trying to baby my shoulders and just maintain some pressing strength so I haven't been able to actually work on increasing my bench press. It all stems from over-working my shoulders while competing in geared powerlifting. I can't do dips, db presses, or enough bar pressing to do more than tread water. Hopefully this improves in the future.

  3. Thanks, Craig. I will look into what you suggest.

    I, too, suffer from the long arm scenario, where my deadlifts seem to be much stronger than my bench press.

    I've had some success with floor press in the past, and may go back to them.

    I've also been reading a little about rest pause sets, and they have me intrigued.

    The problem in adding assistance work is that under the Texas Method, there really isn't any room for assistance work. What I would like to do is replace my current 5X5 bench press day with one of these plateau busters, i.e., returning to floor presses, try rest-pause training, or something else.


  4. I wouldn't recommend floor presses since if you're like me, it's the first 3 inches off the chest that present the bigger challenge--unless your floor press starts right at or just off your chest. Work that hits the front delts and triceps (dips or dumbbell pressing) seems to work better at helping off the chest speed.

    I don't know the texas method scheme very well but don't be afraid to add or subtract stuff. The key is to monitor total volumes so you don't inadvertently over-work both volume and intensity at the same time for too long.

    At whatever intensity level I'm working at (% of 1 RM), my goal is to progress it (by adding reps per set or total repetitions per workout). When that stalls, I usually reset at a different % of 1 RM and start the simple progression again. The % or 1 RM I reset to is not pre-planned, it's usually a % where I feel like I'm moving the bar with speed and very little sticking point slow down. Usually I'll work in the 75-95% range.

    For assistance work, I'll usually try to do lower intensity/higher volume (5-12 reps per set).

  5. Craig,

    Appreciate it! I am going to link your blog to mine. All my blog is, however, is a lifting log, so I don't get many hits at all.


    1. cool, what's your blog address?


    3. thanks, I added that to my google reader subscription list


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