Why is My Bench Press Weak the Day After Deadlifts? (Explained!)

It actually sounds quite weird that your bench press would be affected the day after deadlifts.

However, if you’ve experienced this then you know just how real it is.

In fact, you may even find that your bench press is so badly impacted that you’re not lifting anywhere near the potential you know you’re capable of.

But, should deadlifts really affect your bench press the following day?

Or is there something more untoward that you’re not aware of?

Allow me to reveal all.

Bench Press Day After Deadlift

The main reason that your bench press is weak the day after deadlifts is because your secondary muscles are fatigued. As an example, deadlifts will stimulate the lats, traps, deltoids, and core, and all these muscles are still activated when you bench press. However, if you find that deadlifts are constantly affecting your bench press then you may need to increase your calorie intake, while ensuring that you’re getting ample rest and recovery.

Your Secondary Bench Press Muscles Are Fatigued

The Torso of a Man Holding His Sore Shoulder

Firstly, I think it’s important to realise just how physically taxing deadlifting is.

In fact, I would hazard a guess that many gym-goers typically arrange their “rest day” immediately after their deadlift session.

Let;s face facts, you’re using a huge number of muscles when you deadlift.

Plus, you’re typically lifting more weight than you would for the vast majority of other lifts.

So, there’s no shame in feeling tired and fatigued the day after deadlifts.

That being said, the very fact that deadlifts affect your ability to bench the next day initially seems extremely weird.

However, not only are deadlifts physically taxing, they also place huge demands on your Central Nervous System.

And Central Nervous fatigue can impact just about everything you want to do, never mind bench pressing.

So, if your bench press isn’t up to much the day after deadlifts, this may point to nervous system fatigue.

That being said, this isn’t usually something that happens out of the blue, and it’s usually a build-up over time.

However, what is more likely is that the secondary muscles that you use during bench press are still fatigued from your deadlift session.

At first this may seem somewhat odd.

What I mean by this is that the deadlift is mainly a posterior chain exercise, whereas the bench press is primarily for chest.

Nevertheless, there are a fair few secondary muscles which you use that overlap from one exercise to the other.

A prime example of this is that it is perfectly normal to feel deadlifts in your lats, traps, delts, core, and even your arms.

These exact same muscles are also working whenever you bench press.

So, it’s perfectly normal that these secondary muscles may not have fully recovered by the next day.

And this will explain why your bench press is suffering.

Are You Eating Enough?

Something I always like to look at if my training is suffering is my nutrition and rest.

There’s no two ways about it, you need to fuel your workouts, you need to fuel your recovery, plus you need to take ample rest between workouts, as well as getting a good night’s sleep.

If you’re not adhering to this then you’re not going to be performing in the gym as well as you would hope.

Furthermore, I’ve mentioned just how taxing deadlifts are, so you definitely need to be taking in enough calories.

In fact, if you’re not eating enough, not only will your workouts suffer, but so will your day in general.

And if you allow this to continue it won’t be long before your workouts become much less effective.

In fact, you may even get to the point where you constantly feel tired and therefore try to avoid the gym altogether.

Funnily enough, many people will label this as “overtraining”, when it’s actually nothing more than “undereating”.

Personally, I actually chop and change what I eat based on my training for the day.

As an example, I know on the days that I hit squats and deadlifts that I’m going to use a huge amount of energy, so I actually eat more on these days compared to others.

And this works perfectly for me, as it provides me with great energy for my workouts, and I don’t feel totally wiped out afterwards.

Additionally, rest, recovery, and sleep are just as important.

In fact, it is during the second stage of deep sleep that the Human Growth Hormone is secreted, which is what helps your muscles to recover and grow.

So, in other words, if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re definitely severely hampering your chances of getting stronger and more muscular.

Therefore, if your bench press does feel weak the day after deadlifts, take an open and honest look at your nutrition and recovery.

How Sleep Affects Your Gains (& How to Get More of it)

Your Bench Press/Deadlift Weakness Has Been Exposed

The final factor to consider is that there may potentially be a muscle weakness that is holding you back.

What I mean by this is that one of these secondary muscle groups that I’ve mentioned could potentially be weak and undertrained, and so you feel this whenever you deadlift or bench.

So, let’s say that you really feel your lats whenever you deadlift.

Okay, this is perfectly natural, as your lats will go through isometric contraction whenever you deadlift.

However, you shouldn’t really be feeling extreme soreness in your lats, although I know that many people do.

This either means that rather than using your posterior chain to deadlift, it’s more likely that you’re pulling with your arms and have turned the exercise into some type of hybrid row.

This will obviously leave your lats feeling sore, as that’s a lot of weight to try to shift with your lats and arms.

Then again, if your deadlift form is on-point, but you still feel extreme soreness in your lats, this is a sign that you have a potential lat weakness.

Either way, you know that your lats have some involvement when you bench press.

Basically, they are the antagonistic muscle group for your pecs.

Therefore, when one muscle group takes up the strain, the other one relaxes, and vice versa.

However, if your lats are either fatigued or simply weak then this is obviously going to affect your bench press.

So, the next time you deadlift and then bench the following day, take note of the main muscles where you’re really feeling it.

This will typically reveal the use of poor form or a muscle weakness.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can see, there are a number of reasons why your bench press feels weak the day after deadlifts.

Firstly, the deadlift is an extremely taxing exercise, both physically and on the Central Nervous System.

So, this can have a definite knock-on effect on anything that you do the next day.

Secondly, many of the same secondary muscles are used when you deadlift and bench press.

As an example, sore lats or traps from deadlifting may severely impact your ability to bench press the following day.

Finally, this could also be an issue with poor form or a specific muscle weakness.

So, take some time to determine exactly where you’re feeling both exercises, as a certain muscle group could be holding you back.

Have you ever compared the two exercises? Well, it just so happens that I have discussed the potential for a bench press to deadlift ratio.

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