C o p y r i g h t © 2 0 1 3
I’m excited about this project. I’ve tried powerlifting protocols and classic bench-increasing strategies formost of my life. I remember at the end of every cycle hoping for what I considered the holy grail of maxes at the time, 315, triple wheels. I got under three plates several times only to experience thedisappointment and embarrassment of my spotter struggling to pull it from my chest. It sucked. At aweight of 230 (kind of soft too), I never did better than 275.So I quit. I quit trying to get strong on the bench and focused on size. I didn’t even bench for almost ayear. I was probably just like you, trying whatever new or exotic program I could find for size. At thetime, Dorian Yates was the biggest, most impressive Mr. Olympia to date. Who else would I choose toemulate, even if he stood on the side of the ever-ridiculed Heavy Duty style of Mike Mentzer.I didn’t lie down on a bench for over a year. I’d been training with some great guys in college, RandyBoettner and Matt Hall (I hope you guys have found my site) and it was our last day in the gym. Mattwas always testing his bench. He’d been moving up in weight steadily over the year and finally hit 275.He was tickled pink.
What the hell
, I figured,
I’ll do a rep
.I launched it off my chest. Matt wasn’t happy anymore.
Sure, let’s throw another 10 on each side,
wasmy next thought. Easy. Okay, triple wheels: I didn’t have anything to lose—315. Not a problem.I hit 330 that day. I still had gas in the tank and I probably could have hit 340 or so, but to be honest, Iwas scared because I’d never come close to handling that kind of weight. I weighed 230, not as soft butI’d added a lot of mass to my legs at the time. I had just become really damn strong on the bench pressand hadn’t benched for over a year.Apparently, though, I was stupid because I instantly went back to trying to increase bench again theclassic style. Another year down and I ended up at 365. Not bad, but not exciting.Then it was time for grad school. I wanted to do a bodybuilding, so I ditched the bench press once again.I didn’t even get under a solid bar unless it was decline press. The weights kept going up. After 4months, I had to switch to incline press because the dumbbells at the gym only went up to 130s. Up andup and before I knew it, I hit 405—on incline bench press—for 6 reps.I was focused and I wasn’t going to screw up my gains. I didn’t even think about bench. But ego is thebane of anyone who trains seriously and it rears its head when the
throw around the
. I couldn’t resist. I benched with a couple buddies. Fear got the better of me again and I stoppedshy of what was probably my true max…but not before I hit 495.At this time, I was 265 and around 10 to 12% body fat. After no bench, I sky-rocketed my bench press.Not long after prepping for that first show, tragedy struck. On a warm up set of decline press, I felt apop. A big pop in my left pec. It was 365, but it felt like nothing until the pop. I finished the rep. As muchas I tried denying it was anything serious, the blue and purple discoloration and swelling said otherwise.