390 lb Bench Press 1RM, 600 lb Hook Grip Mat Pull, Anti Slipping Grip Tape and Stuff You Should Read

June 23, 2013 — 2 Comments

Alright back to some real training this week (AKA volume), but managed to get a couple of PRs!

Bench Press: 390 lb x 1 (1RM)

Got this on Friday. Closing in on 400 lb!

I have missed many attempts at this weight mostly due to slipping on the bench. This is my second attempt at this weight for that day. I slipped on the first attempt.

Looking at the video a few times, it does look like my body is sliding backwards slowly. (I look at the top of my head to see if it is moving backwards).

One thing that might have helped in minimizing slipping on the bench was that I tried to get the pressure on the back of my neck and traps prior to unracking the bar. I'm not 100% sure this is the case, so I'll have to test this out some more.

I mentioned the slipping on the bench issue on Facebook, and STG Strength And Power told me how he had all his benches in his gym re-upholstered with the material used on the seats of a personal water craft known as the Sea-Doo. Other well known brands are the Jet Ski and Waverunner. At this point I had only used an anti-slip mat, but the mention of some fabric used on the seats of Sea Doos (which is likely water resistant and anti slip) for use on a bench makes complete sense. I mean, if it's good enough to be used on the seat of a fast moving vehicle in the water that's constantly getting wet, then it should work fine for a bench used for the bench press!

Sea Doo


I'm really not sure where to get this type of fabric, or how I could apply it to my bench. It seems like it would be somewhat expensive and a bit of a pain in the ass to do it myself. I could take my bench to some upholstery shop to get it done, but I'm a frugal DIY kinda guy.

Well, a bit of searching lead me to "marine vinyl" which then lead me to "anti slip tape" and finally somehow I stumbled on "grip tape" that's used on the surface of skateboards.

My understanding is that this grip tape has a sandpaper-like surface that tapes onto a skateboard to prevent people from slipping.

So I ordered an 11" wide "Jessup" grip tape from eBay, and hopefully I'll be able to test this out within a week or so. It was cheap (about $15 shipped), and seems easy to apply (tape it onto my bench).

Jessup Grip Tape

I hope this works.

I'm betting this will work better than that dollar store anti-slip mat. If I'm still slipping on the bench with the grip tape, I'll probably move up to something more expensive (maybe some industrial strength marine grade anti-slip tape/product).

Hook Grip Mat Pull: 600 lb x 1 (1RM)

One of my goals for this year is to deadlift 600 lb. I deadlift with a hook grip, so my thumbs have to be able to tolerate being squished by 600 lb of pressure.

I have found that developing and maintaining pain tolerance for the hook grip is essential for pulling heavy without having thumb pain get in the way and stop me from completing the lift.

If I can pull 600 lb off 6 1/4" mats with a hook grip, then I know my thumbs can handle this load. Now the trick is to pull this off the floor!

My plan is remove a mat every week or so until I'm deadlifting off the ground. I may alternate with sumo, conventional, suitcase and maybe deficit deadlifts every few weeks just to give my back and thumbs a break.

Stuff You Should Read

  1. Dan Green Interview on Vegas Power Hour Podcast with some notes at All Things Gym. I like his approach to training, because I think it kinda parallels mine haha.
  2. Squatting Big by Sam Byrd
  3. Fight Doctor: Big Country's Granite Chin by Dr. Michael Kelly. It's another reason why you should train your neck.

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