DrBdan Presents: Operation Bench Press (2013)


Something clever
May 6, 2008
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Hi I'm DrBdan. You might remember me from such logs as:

B's Energy Log!!! (Strength) and The Road to One Thousand (Strength, Muay Thai)

It took a bit longer than expected but I finally hit the 1000 lb big 3 gym total in December 2012. I'm quite happy with my deadlift and my squat is pretty good but my bench press has always sucked which is why 2013 will be focusing on my bench.

Height: 6'0
Weight: 208 lb
Age: early 30s

Big 3
Squat: 340
Bench: 205
Deadlift: 455

Other Lifts:
Strict Press: 135
Push Press: 185
Front Squat: 255

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DrBdan8

My general goal for 2013 is to improve my bench press by focusing on tightening up my form and simply benching more often. I hope to make some small improvements to my squat and deadlift, though they will probably come later in the year. I also plan on continuing to train Muay Thai 2-3 times/week.
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Welcome to the logs!

Hopefully you've read the FAQ's. We're all here to help! Good luck with your goals!
I hear the guy that wrote the FAQ is a real jerk!

Goals for June 2013
Squat: 355 lb
Bench: 215
Deadlift: 475
Bodyweight: < 200
Muay Thai: Train at least twice/week, spar at least once/week

My weight was 203-204 in early December but holiday festivities have it back up to 208-209. I think I will quickly drop a few pounds once I get back to a clean diet and then I'll have 6 months to drop another 6-7 pounds which should be pretty easy.
I'm on the bench mission with you. I actually plan to bench every lifting session.
I plan to bench more too!! *internet three way high five!!*

Best of luck in the new year, Doc.
I will also be doing plenty of curls and calf raises. I figure that will indirectly help my bench by maximizing my production of BGF-1 (Bro-like Growth Factor).
Nice! Good Luck in 2013!
I'm following this one closely. Your bench should be much better right now, and I bet once you really focus on it, you make tremendous progress.
Ill be following this. Good luck in 2013 doc!
Thanks everyone!

I'm following this one closely. Your bench should be much better right now, and I bet once you really focus on it, you make tremendous progress.

Cool! I've never focused on bench so I feel like I should still have almost noob-like gains available.

Fight this year?

Possibly. It's goal #2 behind making my bench not suck.
Dr, do you have any health issues that have prevented you from developing your bench press?

Otherwise, at your bodyweight, I imagine you could put close to 50 lbs. on it in six months' time if you were to really focus on it.
I've had some mild flexibility issues in my left shoulder which started hurting me in late 2011. I stopped doing barbell bench for a while and only did neutral grip DB bench plus some of the Diesel Crew shoulder rehab stuff. My shoulder felt fine for most of 2012 so I guess really I'd say there's no health issues.

What would you recommend for bench program? My plan was to continue the APRE that I did in the Fall plus a second day of lighter benching. The one issue I've often had is that we do a tonne of push-ups at Muay Thai and that makes benching heavy the next day a battle.
For the month of January I won't be able to train in the evening but instead of putting Muay Thai on hold I am going to try to train on my lunch hour. The gym is only open Mon/Wed/Fri for lunch training so that limits what I can do. The current plan is:

Sun: Hockey
Mon: Bench (heavy using APRE), DB Rows
Tues: Conditioning?
Wed: Muay Thai
Thurs: Bench (lighter), Squats 5/3/1 or Deadlifts, something upper back
Fri: Muay Thai
Sat: Rest

The lunchtime classes at my MT gym are 2 hours so I can't attend them so I will be limited to shadow boxing and bag work mostly. If I'm lucky I might be able to do pad work occasionally but usually the gym is pretty quiet and the only people there are doing the class with Ajahn.

More details:

The heavier bench day will be done with APRE. I am going to start with a 6RM and run that until I fail to progress 3 weeks in a row at which point I will switch to 3RM. For the lighter day I will take 90% of the heavy day's weight and do that for 3 sets of 6 and then 3-5 sets of 3 once I switch to 3RM.

For squats I will run 5/3/1, only doing the minimum reps. Every 4th week instead of deloading I will do some heavy deadlift singles and maybe some light squats. For the deadlifts I'll probably keep it in the range of 80-90% and do around 4-8 singles.

On heavy bench day I will be doing 3 sets of DB rows with the 100 lb'ers, trying to add a rep each week. On the lighter bench day I'll probably do a Kroc row set, pull-ups, or face-pulls depending on how I feel.

Once I can get back to Muay Thai in the evenings I'll train Mon/Wed or Mon/Thurs so I should be able to keep the same lifting program and just move the days around. For the conditioning day I plan on using Joel Jameson's Roadwork 2.0 idea for LISS which is short bouts of LISS on multiple machines e.g. 15 minutes rowing, 15 minutes treadmill, 15 minutes stair climber.
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If you're continuing with APRE, and want a lighter day, the simplest thing would probably be to just reduce whatever you did on the heavier day by ~10%, and do 4-6 sets across.
if you do not mind I have a suggestion.......this is a L/H/H approach take your 1 rep max use 70 80 90% for the 3 numbers......you do a top single(or double)each week then do 4x4+ for your drop sets for example it would look like this......

For your bench you could take 5lb jumps (2.5 on the 4x4 could also be an option). Lets say your 1RM bench is 225 (155/180/205). You could work it like this:

180/155, 205/157.5, 210/160, 190/162.5, 215/165, 220/167.5, 200/170, 225/172.5, 230/175, 210/177.5, 235/180, 240/182.5

After 12 weeks you could keep running it or just take a new max and start over also you can change the weights throughout like use 10/5 pound jumps for the first 6 weeks then switch to 5/2.5 or even lower if you want.

i like tosa suggestion as well
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Thanks for the suggestion casperthegst, looks interesting. I was thinking of doing something along the lines of Tosa's idea which is a bit simpler. However I always like having more ideas to think about.

Wed Jan 2, 2013

C2 rower, dynamic stretching, DCSW

- DB Bench

- Bench

The gym was pretty busy so I couldn't get either of the flat benches right away. My DB bench feels unstable so at some point I'll work it in as assistance. My flat bench felt good, I really tried to concentrate on keeping my back tight. I feel like I get some pop at the bottom from my lats on the lighter sets but I have trouble doing the same thing when the weight gets heavier.

- Squats

All reps felt fast and crisp. Supersetted with 5 sets of 4 pull-ups.