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Identifying the Problem

Now put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and do some sleuth work. There are no arbitrary assistance solutions; you must investigate to find the problem, and then plan assistance training based on the evidence.

Bench pressers must overcome two weak areas: the start and the finish. Lots of ladies and gents can lock out a Volkswagen, but they have a hard time getting the bar to launch out of the bottom position. Some exist at the other end of the spectrum: They rocket weight off the chest, only to fail as the press progresses into the mid- and upper-range.

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If you’re unsure which describes you, have someone film you doing a heavy bench-press set. Warm-up to about 90 percent of your 1-rep max, and press it for as many reps as you can. When you’ve finished, watch the video and note where you begin to struggle. Then note where you begin to fail on your last rep. You’ll get an instant visual of which group you belong in.

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