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  1. Sona_Bear is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/18/2008 4:24pm


     Style: Karate

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    Female Shoulders and Presses

    Right, so I started lifting a couple of months ago, partly to improve my MA performance, and mostly to have a physical activity where I could coach myself without having to worry about anyone else (most of what I do MA-wise at the moment involves teaching children). While I'm enjoying it, I've run into some frustrating problems as far as building upper body strength is concerned.

    I'm female, with a stereotypical female body: wider hips, narrow shoulders. As a result, I'm progressing just fine with squats and deadlifts, but I'm having issues making any gains at all doing overhead and bench presses, especially while using a barbell. With the overhead press, I can barely lift an unloaded bar; with the bench press, I've stalled out with 10lbs added to the bar.

    I've tried, for the sake of experiment, using smaller pre-loaded barbells of the same weights, and while it was challenging, it wasn't anywhere near as strenuous. I seem to have trouble the further out from my body the weight is concentrated.

    I'm wondering whether I should switch to using dumbbells for presses, or stay with the pre-loaded bars, or whether there are some additional exercises I could be doing to increase upper body strength, that I might eventually be able to manage a wider load.
  2. TheRuss is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/18/2008 4:30pm

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    Your post does not contain enough information to identify potential problems with your approach to training. Please provide at least the following information:
    -how often you do resistance training
    -what your set-rep-rest structure is
    -how long you have been trying your current program
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    Downstreet on the flip-flop, timepants.
  3. Sona_Bear is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/18/2008 4:51pm


     Style: Karate

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    I lift 2-3 times per week; I've been doing so since the beginning of September, so 2 1/2 months or so by now.

    I'm trying to follow 5x5, and while this rep-set structure seems to be working for the lower body, it's really not for the upper body. I tend to rest 1-2 mins between sets.

    Hope this helps.
  4. TheRuss is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/18/2008 5:06pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sona_Bear
    I'm trying to follow 5x5, and while this rep-set structure seems to be working for the lower body, it's really not for the upper body. I tend to rest 1-2 mins between sets.
    Start with 1min rest between sets. If you struggle to get all reps, take more rest before doing the next set, up to 5mins if necessary.
    -StrongLifts 5x5: Official FAQ

    All right... assuming you're attempting 5x5 of flat barbell bench press, the next piece of information is where you hit the wall at varying weights. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of room to vary things, but try to describe, in as much detail as you can provide, what happens if you try to perform a 5x5 sequence at each of 45lbs, 55lbs, and 65lbs (on different days, obviously). If you have 2.5lb plates, count those intervals too - be as specific as possible.

    Example: "At 65lbs, I can usually complete the first two sets of bench press without much difficulty, but I struggle with the fifth rep on the third set, and I can only get four and two on the fourth and fifth sets, respectively."
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    Downstreet on the flip-flop, timepants.
  5. Sona_Bear is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/18/2008 5:21pm


     Style: Karate

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    Bench Press:

    At 45lbs, I can comfortably complete all my sets. The fifth rep of the fifth set is still well within my abilities.

    At 50lbs (I do have 2.5 plates), I can complete all my sets within my comfort level.

    At 55lbs, I can complete all my sets with some difficulty. The first two sets aren't too bad, but by the third or fourth rep of the third set, fatigue has really set in. At this point, I'm taking closer to 3 mins between sets. I tend to feel the fatigue in my triceps more than anywhere else.

    At 60lbs, I start to fail by the third or fourth rep of the first set. The first time I tried it, I couldn't perform more than one rep; I've worked up to three or four, but this is over the course of the last four weeks.

    Overhead Press:

    At 45lbs, I can usually complete the first set, and often manage the second. By the second rep of the third set, it feels much more difficult, and I can generally only manage three reps through the third, fourth, and fifth set.
  6. honesty is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/18/2008 5:36pm


     Style: SAMBO

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I hit a wall on the ohp as well on that programme. I ended up trying a weight 3 times, deloading by 10% then building up the weight again. Each time I did this I would stall out again but the weight would increase by one or two levels. It just takes time, and that plateau can happen at any weight.
  7. TheRuss is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/18/2008 6:05pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sona_Bear
    Bench Press:

    At 45lbs, I can comfortably complete all my sets. The fifth rep of the fifth set is still well within my abilities.

    At 50lbs (I do have 2.5 plates), I can complete all my sets within my comfort level.

    At 55lbs, I can complete all my sets with some difficulty. The first two sets aren't too bad, but by the third or fourth rep of the third set, fatigue has really set in. At this point, I'm taking closer to 3 mins between sets. I tend to feel the fatigue in my triceps more than anywhere else.

    At 60lbs, I start to fail by the third or fourth rep of the first set. The first time I tried it, I couldn't perform more than one rep; I've worked up to three or four, but this is over the course of the last four weeks.
    Good, good. Let's continue.

    Do you keep a training log? I find it very useful to log my exercises, sets and reps so I can track my progress, even in obscure ways ("three months ago I did the same exercise and rep count to failure with 20 pounds less, although I was pre-fatigued by doing another exercise before it then").

    So I think it's a good idea in general, but the specific reason I ask is that I'm going to ask you about your training history next.

    At the beginning of September, what weight did you attempt 5x5 bench at, and were you successful? If not, roughly where did you fail, and when did you first succeed at it?

    When did you first successfully perform 5x5 at 55lbs?

    When did you first successfully bench press 60lbs?
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    Downstreet on the flip-flop, timepants.
  8. dinnerpig is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/18/2008 6:08pm


     Style: Heal-Jitsu..yet again :-(

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    wow...you really do have a weak upper body. hmmm... stick to 55 lbs until it becomes easy and then add another 5 lbs.
    you can't overhead press 45 lbs? wow. get a 35 lbs preloaded bar and do your 5x5 with that until it gets easy. you will eventually get to lifting an empty bar with ease. also - what are your numbers in terms of deadlifts and squats? (how much weight are you using?) is your diet like? how tall are you and how much do you weigh? if you are doing your squats and deads right then you should be getting stronger over all.
    Last edited by dinnerpig; 11/18/2008 6:10pm at .
  9. Kentucky Fried Chokin is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/18/2008 7:29pm

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     Style: BJJ

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    I find dumbells much easier for military press.
  10. Emevas is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/18/2008 8:47pm

    supporting member
     Style: Boxing/Wrestling

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    It's technically not a military press with dumbbells >_> <_<
    "Emevas,
    You're a scrapper, I like that."-Ronin69
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