Squats and Bench Press PRs, Benching 3x Per Week, Deadlift Jack and Stuff You Should Read

May 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

My PR scoreboard has been getting a lot of action this past week:

Front Squat: 390 lb (+20 lb PR)

Did this on Wednesday after getting 380 lb (+10 lb PR). I missed 390 lb the first time because I didn't take a big enough breath before descending.

I find that it's hard to take a huge breath with a bar racked on the front of my shoulders. The belt is tight around my waist, so it doesn't seem like I can get much air by belly breathing. Also since the bar is racked across my shoulders, if I try to breath in into my chest, the loaded bar prevents much air from getting in because it's "pushing down" on my chest and not allowing my chest to expand.

Maybe I'm not breathing properly. I think I'm going to have to focus on shrugging my shoulders up a bit more when I unrack the bar or try harder to belly breathe, or both.

Low Bar Squat: 460 lb x 3 (+20 lb PR)

On Friday, the right side underneath my ribs felt a bit sore (probably from those front squats for some reason). I was a bit hesitant to go for a PR or two, but it felt better as I warmed up, so heck, why not?

Also, I wore a singlet to get used to the feel of wearing a singlet. Even though I have a 2XL singlet from Titan, which is supposed to be for people weighing 242-275lbs (I'm roughly 200 lb), it's...to put it bluntly, ball crushing at times, especially in the hole during the squat.

The weight felt pretty light coming out of the rack, so I was pretty sure that I could hit 3 reps.

This upcoming week I'm going to try for a new 2 rep max at 480 lb x 2. I would not be surprised if I hit 3 reps though.

If that happens, then I would try for 500 lb x 2. That would be pretty awesome, and I'm sure I would want to hold the last rep ("I WANNA HOLD IT!" - Captain Kirk). We'll see how things turn out in the upcoming weeks.

High Bar Squat: 460 lb x 3 (+20 lb PR)

I like the feel of a near perfect rep, but for the last rep on this set, it was slow and ugly and I had to grind it out. I think the problem was that I didn't tighten my back (especially my lats) before descending.

Currently my low and high bar squat numbers are nearly identical (with main difference being the 1RM, where my low bar squat is 515 lb and my high bar squat max is 500 lb), but I think that as the weight continues to increase, my low bar squat will start to pull away at 3RM or less.

Reverse Grip Bench Press: 330 lb x 4

I was aiming for 5 reps, but I slipped.

Man, I'm going to have to start changing shirts before attempting PRs and/or start looking for some shirts with some sticky rubbery stuff on the back (if there is such a thing).

Next time, I'm going to try for a new 3 rep max at 350 lb x 3. Previous best was 2 reps with 350 lb.

Benching 3 Times Per Week

In an effort to get in even more paused bench presses as practice, and maybe even a bigger bench, I'm going to start bench pressing 3x per week instead of 2, at least for the next month or so. That means that overhead presses will take a back seat until the powerlifting meet in June is over. I'll probably throw them in once a week as a warmup or at the end of the workout.

At least on the surface, there seems to get a relationship between a bigger bench (or bigger <insert lift here>) and frequency of performing the lift. Smolov Jr for bench presses have you benching 4 times per week, and some (maybe all? Not sure) variants of Sheiko gets you bench pressing 3 times per week. Well, I'm not going to be doing any sort of specific bench pressing bro-gram, but just throwing in a bench press workout on Wednesday, something along the lines of working up to a few heavy paused singles, and then some paused back off sets.

I hope I don't screw things up!

Stuff You Should Read

  1. Cheap Deadlift Bar Jack Alternative: 2 Ton Jack Stands! By Me (John Phung)
  2. John Phung – Squat and OHP PRs by Brandon Goris (Pretty cool that I got mentioned on this site. Lift.net is full of monsters, and I want to be a monster too!)
  3. How Does Foam Rolling Work? By Todd Hargrove
  4. Stop Doing Corrective Exercises! by Dean Somerset

John Phung

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Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.

Quick Stats
Height: 5'4" on non-squat days
Weight: 200 lb 210 lb ~220 lb (FOREVER BULK BRAH)


  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
  • Smolov Jr for Bench Press: June 4 - 22, 2012
  • Starting Strength: Nov 29, 2010 - March 4, 2011