Enhance your Pressing Days

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Hey Eric. I just wanted to see if I could get some quick suggestions from you. I have been powerlifting for a little over a year now and absolutely love the sport. I had been training hard since 2001, but eventually training just to train lost its luster. So I turned to the strength sports. I compete raw in the 181 class and typically weigh 175-178 at any given time.

My Squat and deadlift have made steady progress over the past year…I have primarily been using the basic westside template the entire time. Right now I am squatting around 425-435 and deadlifting consistently in the low 500s. My bench press is where I have absolutely made no progress at all…I have actually regressed. In my meet this past weekend I only managed 275 and struggled with 286 as if it were 350. The most I have ever done in competition is 290.

I have followed your writing as well as many of the coaches on T-Nation and elitefts. I have read stuff from Bill Hartman about determining whether or not you are elastic dominant or muscle dominant. Right now I think I may need some more muscular based work…going from that dead stop after the pause in competition is very difficult for me…my sticking point seems to be basically right on my chest.

If you could throw some suggestions my way on things I can do on my pressing days to improve things I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for all that you contribute and keep up the good work!

A few thoughts on this front:

First, it would definitely be to your advantage to get your body weight up a bit during the off-season; bench and squat gains tend to come along quicker when you are less cognizant of weight and more in tune with eating what it takes to support performance. When the time is right, gradually take the weight off and work to maintain the strength you’ve built.

Second, work on strengthening your upper back and really emphasize both speed and heavy work off the chest with a pause.

Good luck!

Eric Cressey