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Old July 28th 03, 08:24 PM
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Default YANBPQ (Yet Another n00b Bench Press Question)

Some background...I'm thinking of trying to get on with the local
police unit in their reserve program. Among various entrance
requirements is a fitness requirement consisting of 5 tests, one of
which is a 1-rep bench press (is that the 1RM figure I see on the
group?) at 88% of body weight. I'm looking at about 2 months before
the test. I don't have to pass all the tests and I've been
concentrating on the 1.5 mile run and sit up tests, but I think I'd
like to have a cushion and see what I can do to improve my bench.

My upper-body strength is poor and I'm very much built like others in
my preferred method of exercise, cycling. That is very
"triangle-like". At present I'd say my max. 1RM bench sits at about
130#, maybe 135#. It needs to be about 165#. Knowing nothing about
strength training, is it just totally unrealistic to make such an
increase in 2 months? I don't have the time to join a gym, but I do
have access to a decent bench and curl bar (Olympic weights).

I've been doing bench for about 2.5 - 3 weeks and have seen almost nil
improvement in my weight capacity. I took the workout I found in a
thread here for someone in a situation similar to my own and have been
using that. Namely:

Set 1: 5 reps at 60% workout weight
Set 2: 4 reps at 80% workout weight
Set 3: 3 reps at 90% workout weight
Set 4: 3 reps at 100% workout weight
Set 5: 3 reps at 90% workout weight

For "workout weight" I use 130#, but typically I can't get to 3 reps
at that weight so I've reduced it to 120#.

5x5 constant weight

Triceps with curl bar:
Set 1: 5 reps at 75% workout weight
Set 2: 5 reps at 90% workout weight
Set 3: 5 reps at 100% workout weight

Repeat above every 2 or 3 days.

I started out doing the above workout every 2 days but reading more
threads here lead me to believe that perhaps that was over doing it
and so last week I only did the workout twice. Also the original
thread said to increase the workout weight by 2.5# every workout. I
haven't done that. I was thinking that I'd start that after I could do
130# for 3 reps.

One of the big things I notice about this workout is that I don't feel
any soreness the next day. This is troubling since I expect to feel
sore if my muscles are building themselves up. Just wrong-thinking on
my part?

I'm much more used to seeing cardio-type improvement, for example,
running. I did not run prior to training for the fitness test, and
I've seen steady decreases in my times since I started at almost every
workout. Part of this I attribute to the fact that my cardio system
wasn't in horrible shape to start with, given my prior cycling
workouts. But I was looking to see that same fast ramp-up in my bench
pressing capacity and have not. Is it just that strength training
doesn't work that way, or is my workout just all wrong?

I'm not totally without weight training experience. I have "toyed"
with weights in the past, but I've never had strength-gain as one of
my goals. Typically I was more concerned with muscle tone and so
concentrated on higher reps with lower weights.

Any advice appreciated!