Musclechemistry Board Certified Member
Can you bench your bodyweight? Mastering bodyweight on the bar is the transition between beginner and intermediate. I'm amazed when people who've been training a while still can't do it. Seven-foot tall genetic anomalies with crazy levers aside, the bodyweight bench press is something you should be able to do. For many, it's a technical issue. For others it's a problem of variation.
The technical problem: To be strong, the joints need to stack up on each other. Along with understanding tension, this seems to be a lost fact with many lifters. Some people will bench with a grip that would be perfect for a middle school boy – too narrow. Your elbow should be directly under your wrist while benching. It might take a workout or two to adapt, so have someone "eyeball" your elbows and wrists. They should be basically vertical. This little hint always helps people bench more.
The variation problem: Keep an eye on how much "stuff" you're packing into your workouts. Military pressing will probably help your bench, but adding inclines, dumbbell presses, flyes and all the extra chest work is often the issue holding you back. Too much is too much, and until you bench at least bodyweight you don't need the extra stuff.
Now, can you also front squat and clean bodyweight? If yes, then can you snatch it? See where we're going here? Master bodyweight on the barbell, first and foremost.
Years ago we did a contest on MuscleChemistry to see who could bench their bodyweight the most times. I don't think the participation was very good, though. I think I did mine 22 times. I need to try again now to see if I could beat it, I'm about 20 pounds heavier.
My shoulders would give out. Me and flat bench do not like each other anymore at all.