The Dreaded Bench Press

KimK —  April 26, 2013 — 4 Comments

Bench press day: I have to admit that it’s not my fave. It’s my weakest of the three powerlifts (deadlift, squat, bench press), and even though I recently hit a PR (personal record) of three sets of three at 75 pounds, it was really tough. I don’t feel like I’m getting stronger in it, and I’m not progressing as fast as I would like to, especially when compared to my steady improvements in the other two lifts. I tend to feel frustrated and discouraged.


I was the last to join The Miss Fits, so I haven’t been lifting as long as my fellow lady lifters. I continually try to remind myself of that when I notice that I’m comparing my abilities to theirs. If I keep working hard (not too hard!) and eating right, I’ll get stronger, even if it’s slow progress. And I have wonderful role models in my fellow Miss Fits. I admire their strength. I know they’ve worked hard to get where they are, and that’s what I have to do.


I also have to remember that when I was attempting to lift at home with my hubby, I could never seem to get above 60 pounds. I could manage 65, but it wasn’t pretty. I felt really weak. Since working with Jim, I’ve noticed that 65 is almost easy, and 70 is getting there too. My form feels much tighter and more powerful.


In the beginning, the perfectionist in me wanted to be able to reach a PR during every lifting session, but I’ve made peace with the fact that it’s just not realistic. I’m still working on being OK with not having a hardcore workout every time I go to the gym, but baby steps, right? I’m also getting better at remembering that everything I do, whether it’s bench pressing a PR or doing a one-arm dumbbell row, is making me stronger and helping me to improve my numbers and reach new PRs.


Lifting has definitely helped me grow and improve physically and emotionally—more so than anything else I’ve tried for my mental health over the years, and with much quicker results. That’s saying a lot because I’ve struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. I used to scoff at all of those articles and blog posts that gave suggestions for being happy: “Focus on the positive!” “List all of the things you’re grateful for!” That’s all fine and dandy, but when you’re depressed, that mumbo jumbo doesn’t help. The key, I’ve recently discovered, is finding something you enjoy doing so much that it begins putting you in the mindset of a more positive, happy person. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. This is what lifting is doing for me. I’m not cured, and I’m sure I still have a long road ahead of me, but it’s becoming less bumpy and windy. I look forward to continuing down this road and seeing where it takes me.


How about you? What’s your main frustration in the gym, and how do you accept it and move forward?


Thanks for reading! Lift onward and upward, ladies (and gents)!





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4 responses to The Dreaded Bench Press

  1. Mine is the dreaded snatch. I struggle to drop below the bar quickly enough, and I’ve been stuck at the same lousy PR forever. At this point, it’s just as much of a mental barrier as a physical plateau. I try not to beat myself up about it, and instead focus on the gains I’m making in other areas/lifts. But, you know, that’s not always so easy…

    So glad to have discovered your blog. You ladies rock!

  2. Just curious…how long have you been lifting? I’m totally new (2 months) and lifting at home with my husbands help.

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