I have a problem with my wrists bending back on the bench press. I have read Jim's article on bracing with wrist wraps, but what can I do to correct the problem itself without the use of the wraps?

"Extremely simple, don't let your wrists bend back. You honestly have total control over this 100 percent. One way to do this is to grip the bar as tight as you can throughout the entire movement of the bench. When I mean grip it tight, I mean try and leave finger indentions within the bar. It won't happen but that should be your goal. I deal with a lot of athletes that have this problem and this is what I do with them; no bracing. Remember that it took years to get used to your current bench style/problems. It will take some time to correct them. You just need to pay attention to them, probably stay a little lighter for a period, and don't let your wrists bend back. Control over your body is something you have" - Jeremy Frey

When raw benching do you think tucking the elbows is still optimal? Listening to the tuck cue has made my raw bench into some kind of weird front raise that makes it almost impossible to get the weight out of the bottom. Most raw benchers with huge numbers flare their elbows (not like bodybuilders but they flare). Any tips? Any exercises you feel are good for bringing up a raw bench?

"Yes, I think tucking is still optimal. However, flaring is important also. You tuck, touch, begin the press, and then flare. I don't understand what you mean about the front raise thing. Send a video, that would help. The best tip I can give to get a bigger bench is to just simply get stronger. More tricep, lat, and shoulder work should do it. Use barbells as much as possible. Bigger lifts make stronger muscles in my opinion." - Vincent Dizenzo

Could I ask a few questions about your (Brian Schwab) 12-week raw bench cycle?
1. When it says "2-board doubles," for example, does that mean "work up to a single 2RM set"?
2. Because of age (40) and long, stessful work hours during the week, I find that I don't do that well with two bench sessions per week. What would you think about this for bench day (Saturday): AM -- ME bench; PM -- repetition bench?
3. Any news on when your DVD will be out?

  1. "Yes, that is correct. Usually I recommend 2 max effort sets. After the first couple of weeks, you should have a good idea of how much weight will be necessary to achieve this.
  2. I would recommend benching once every 5 days then, or making one day a bench day and the other a bench assistance without any specific bench exercises. I don't think benching twice in the same day would be a good idea since your body will already be trying to recover from the morning workout when you break it down again.
  3. I'm hoping to have the DVD ready for October. I thought the meet we are hosting on October 16 would be a good deadline." - Brian Schwab

After hitting a 1RM "for the day" should I continue in a shirt for 3-4 sets of boards to get more work in, or do them raw?

"I guess my question back to you is, are you hitting a 1RM every day you go in a shirt? If so, I would get away from that because of over training.
If I were to train for bench only (no matter, single, double, triple ply shirt) I would set it up my bench training twice a week. One day would be raw speed and board work, and the next would be my shirt work.
Here is an example of what I would do:

Wednesday - Bench accessory work

  • Speed work (light bands from floor) - 5 sets of 3
  • Board work (4 and 5 boards) - triples off the 4 board till you can't get a triple, then switch to 5 boards for triple. Try to beat this each week on both boards.
  • Tricep exercise
  • Back exercise
  • Shoulder exercise

Sunday - Bench/ Shirt work

  • Bench - work up to triple raw with some in the tank (try to go up each week). Then throw on your shirt and do some board work (triples or doubles) with 3-board, 2-board, 1-board.

The next week you could rotate to some reverse bands with shirt off boards. Then follow up with your accessory work for tris, back and shoulders. You could do this for a three to four week cycle and then switch it out depending on how close you are to a meet. The closer to a meet, the less reps and sets you will do. Personally I don't work down to my chest with a shirt until I am about two weeks out from a meet." - Josh McMillan