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October 24, 2014
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Tips for Maximizing Your 225lb Bench For Reps Combine Test
by Gregg Damminga, 805 squat, 515 bench, 685 deadlift at 275lbs age 44

Throughout my football career, I have trained for, participated in, and was the coach for many "bench for reps" tests. Coaches and scouts believe it has some relevance to your performance on the field. Personally I doubt there is a one to one correlation, but surely in general, the stronger people have a higher probability for success than the weaker. There has to be some measure of strength to compare athletes, this is about as universal as it can be done. The generally accepted "best" way to perform the test, along with some of my own personal observations are as follows:

* Train for the test. You wouldn't run 400's for the 40 test, so don't spend all your time trying to max out your 1 rep bench weight, or spend all your training time on the incline

* practice a good bench "set-up". Find a competitive powerlifter to show you how to tuck your feet, plant your butt, arch your back, squeeze your shoulder blades, and lift your feet and drive your feet as you perform the lift. I have seen some of of the strongest people perform this test horribly because they just don't know the proper form. It can mean 4-10 reps difference depending on your strength level. An excellent DVD can be obtained through http://www.metalmilitia.net/, these guys are the KINGS of powerlifting benching.

* Many colleges emphasize the incline press, or incline HammerStrength machines. That's great, but you still need to train flat bench to train for this test.

* Always end your bench workout, whether 5x5, 8/6/4/2, etc. with a flat bench "rep out" set with the 225. Each workout strive to do 1 more than the last time using the techniques outlined in this article. When actually performing the test:

* Watch others do the test, see if they are making you lockout each rep (sometimes they let you not quite have to lockout) and how much they are letting people bounce off the

Chest

bench press combine 225 test for reps

* Warm up to a weight OVER 225, i.e. 135x8, 185x4, 225x3, 275x2, (stop here if you your bench max is < 325) 315x2 (stop here if you bench max is >350). If your bench max is < 300, you are either a kicker, punter or QB, and they really don't care what you bench, or you probably shouldn't be trying out in the first place. Really. Warming up like this engages some Central Nervous System compensation effect that the 225 weight will feel and perform lighter (IT WORKS)

* Wait at least 10 minutes but no more than 15 minutes before actually performing the test

* Do not let them "force" you to alter your training grip, sometimes the scout will tell everyone to use the same "one thumb extended from the start of the inner knurling", this is nonsensical, just ignore it, sit down and start using your normal grip before they notice

* Get your proper setup (see above)

* Make sure you get a lift off, try to use the same person who hopefully lifted off for you during warmups. Don't waist 1 rep of energy unracking the weight.

* Right before liftoff, breath in/out deeply several times very fast, this will somewhat saturate you lungs with oxygen and allow you to hold your breath longer

* Take the biggest breath possible, unrack the weight, and start repping out AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, take advantage of as much bounce and partial lockout as will be allowed

* Keep going as fast and as long as possible until you have to take another breath, should be about 50-65% of the way to you maximum count i.e. about 10-14 if you can do 20

bench press combine test* When you need to take a breath, stop just long enough to take exhale and take another huge breath, minimize the "rest" at the top extension. Then rip out a bunch more, take another breath, again, etc. Of course each time you will get a few less between breaths as fatigue sets in.

==> The key is to have the weight extended at the top the SHORTEST TIME POSSIBLE. You are not really "resting" much at the top, but squeezing isometrically the triceps. This quickly fatigues the triceps and limits the reps. People who think they are "resting" at the top will always do less

This set of tips and advice should get you 2-4 more reps if you would normally do about 20. A general rule of thumb is:

raw 1 rep max 225lb reps

315 8-14
365 18-22
405 25-30
455 32-38
495 40-45

There are several DVDs you can buy that can help you with the combine tests if you don't have access to a personal trainer knowledgeable about football. A good example is the one by Joe Defranco, and can be found here: http://www.defrancostraining.com .

Gook Luck and Lift Strong!


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