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What Program Is Best For Increasing Your Bench Press?

How much do ya bench? Oh, if we only had a dollar for each time somebody asked us that! With it being so important, it is no wonder that people are constantly trying to increase their bench.

By: Topic Of The Week


TOPIC: What Program Is Best For Increasing Your Bench Press?

The Question: What Program Is Best For Increasing Your Bench Press?

"How much do ya bench?" Oh, if we only had a dollar for each time somebody asked us that! With it being so important, it is no wonder that people are constantly trying to increase their bench. Nothing feels as good as adding another plate to the bar when it's your turn to use the bench in your gym.

So what type of program should you follow if you want to add some serious weight in the shortest amount of time possible? Should you do some type of periodization program to work up to your next max-out? Should you perform different bench press variations? Should you concentrate on other exercises and bodyparts as well?

Give a detailed bench press strength program including what to do each day, how many days of the week to workout, how many reps and sets you should perform, and any other tips that will help somebody break their gym's bench press record!

Bonus Question: Today you decide to try to beat your one-rep max record. What is the best method to prepare for this big lift? What type of warm-up? What can you do mentally? Should you change your nutrition plan that day?

Bonus Question #2: How much do ya bench? How long did it take you to get to where you are now? What is your bench press goal?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

      Prizes:
        1st place - 75 in store credit.
        2nd place - 20 in store credit.
        3rd place - Free Bodybuilding.com hat.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - doggiejoe

Rock Big Plates On The Bench Press

    Here we go again. Another day and more embarrassing moments at the gym. Its chest day and you know you and your friends are going to battle it out to see who is the strongest.

    You're heading out with 3 of your best buds. There's the leader of the group with the gorilla chest and has been bench pressing since being in his mother's womb. Then the other two are just a bunch of average Joes that follow whatever the ape says.

    Then there's you who has been lifting consecutively for 2 years now and for some weird unexplainable reason can't get past the same amount of weight.

    After reading this and following my advice you will certainly start astonishing your friends with new found strength. So if you're tired of lifting the same girly weight read on.

    To begin with, forget everything you have heard before. Everyone is taught to do 3 sets of 10 reps when they first begin lifting. This is a bodybuilder's routine.

    If you want to add weight to your bench press fast I need you to do me a favor. Stop thinking like a bodybuilder and start thinking like a powerlifter.

    Ever wonder how a 225 pound guy can throw up 500 plus on the bench with ease? Well it's because he trains for it as a powerlifter; meaning lifting in low reps of 3 to 6. Lower reps are used for muscle strength as oppose to higher reps being for muscle endurance.

    The program I recommend due to its effectiveness and my personal experience is the 5x5. This method is one of the more classical methods of developing size and strength.

    Well known strength coach Bill Star who wrote a classic book named "Only The Strongest Shall Survive" used the method often and believed it was the staple in developing strength.

    5x5 means you do the same weight for 5 reps of 5 sets. You want to find a weight that will fatigue you by the last rep of the last set. This type of training puts great amount of strain on your muscles and they have nothing else to do but react and become stronger.

    The program is so superior a vast amount of football coaches around the nation adopt this type of training for their athletes. This program is not only used to help increase the bench press but other compound lifts also, such as the squat and deadlift.

The Program

    Since it's the bench press you want to improve. You will need to do the lift frequently to improve on it. You will also need to know your weakness. If you struggle at the bottom of your lift then you need to strengthen your shoulders.

    If you struggle at the middle of the press you need to strengthen your triceps. Monday and Friday are the days you will save for chest. Tuesday will be back and biceps day. Thursday will be leg day. The most vital day will be Wednesdays where you workout your weakness.

Note: I leave Tuesday and Thursday up to the lifter since this is a program to increase your bench press. I recommend strengthening your abs on these days since they are your core muscles. Abs being your core muscles may make or break your bench press)

    Foremost choose a weight you will be able to lift and struggle with but you want to be able to do at least 4 reps on your last set. If you can accomplish this, great it will be time to go up on weight the next time you go out to bench press.

    Let's say you start with 185 on the first Monday and were able to accomplish the goal. Then on Friday you will go up 5 pounds (2 ½ on each side) on your presses. And then when you come back Monday you do the same and so on. You want to stay on this program for 4 weeks. At the end of these 4 weeks you will find it more difficult to go up in weight due to the fact that you're reaching a plateau.

    If all goes as planned, barring any injuries, you will have put 35 pounds on your bench press in 4 weeks. After these 4 weeks you will want to "shock" your muscles so your progress won't stop. I recommend doing 3x3 on your presses and 3x10 for your other exercises. Keep the mentality of lifting more every time you go out. After 4 more weeks go back to the 5x5 program.

    At the end of these 12 weeks there's no telling how much you will improve. You could easily increase 50-75% on your bench press; it just depends on how bad you want it. If you want to be known as the beast with your friends, follow this program and you won't be disappointed.

Other Key Factors

    Proper Lifting

    How many times have you seen a guy benching while arching his back and bouncing the weight off his chest? Well please don't follow this moron. Let him learn the hard way. Since your going to be lifting heavy I don't recommend bouncing the weight off your chest unless you want to crush something.

    The only reason they do this is to cheat and use momentum to lift the weight. You want to touch your chest but never should you bounce it off your chest. Also always wrap your thumbs around the bar so the weight won't slip and crush you.

    Of course always have one of your buds spot you, especially since your going serious on weights. In addition have your feet firmly planted on the ground to draw strength from your legs. And what I consider the most important part is the BREATHING. You want to hold your breathe on the way down and exhale and EXPLODE on the way up.

    Nutrition

    Yes this program works. But don't you, for one second, believe you can just sit there eating potato chips watching the NBA playoffs while downing a cold one. You need to keep your diet clean and healthy. I recommend eating lots of CTT (Chicken, turkey, and tuna) to fulfill your protein needs.

    Furthermore spread out your meals 5 to 6 times a day. Also stay hydrated throughout the day (at least a gallon of water a day).

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    Recovery

    After a long straining day of this 5x5 there's nothing better than a pleasant warm shower. Not only does it feel pleasant and your wife won't complain about your stench but it also speeds up your healing. This is something a majority of people don't know.

Enhance Recovery By Working Out
Yes my friend, as hard as it is to believe, sometimes the best thing that you can do for those super sore legs is to workout. Lets talk some more about active recovery and go over some ways to incorporate it into your training.
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    The most crucial part of your recovery is the time when you sleep (this is when your muscles grow). You need to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each and every night. I know it's tough to miss those late night shows. But what would you prefer, watching Leno or being able to bench press Leno? The choice is yours.

    Supplements

    There are two supplements that are a must have in every lifter's diet. They are a high-quality multi vitamin and fast acting whey protein to satisfy your muscles after a grueling workout. If you want to be able to lift with your maximum strength these two should be situated into your routine.

    The paramount supplement for strength training would be creatine which is great for a swift strength boost.

    In as little as a week you could notice massive strength gains. There's now a new creatine going around which eliminates water retention and is taken in lower dosages, without a loading phase.

    This new creatine is called Creatine Ethyl Ester is sold at a great price at Bodybuidling.com.

    Aspirations

    I want you to come to every workout with the mindset that you're going to be able to exceed your previous performance. The almighty Michael Jordan once said "Play every game as if it were your last". I want you to have the same emphasis when it comes to lifting.

    All I ask for is that you add 5 pounds every time you bench press and are successful. If you do this then you're well on your way to conquering amazing personal bench press records. Most of all go all out and put forth maximum effort.

Bonus Question:

    Today you decide to try to beat your one-rep max record. What is the best method to prepare for this big lift? What type of warm-up? What can you do mentally? Should you change your nutrition plan that day?

    Today is your day of reckoning. The day you say goodbye to your old max and say hello to a new more impressive lift. This like any other day you wake up, but today is a special day. You know it. You're at work thinking about it. You're daydreaming about it. It's in your every thought. Will you be able to lift the weight? The answer is within you.

    As corny as it sounds you have to believe in yourself. You have to visualize yourself slaughtering the weight. You can try and trick yourself into thinking it's less weight but that's not going to work. You have to know how much you're lifting and that you have the strength to do it.

    You go about the day as every other day but any sexual activity shall be prohibited 4 hours before your workout because you want to have the most testosterone available when lifting. You should also eat healthy meals throughout the day and stay well hydrated.

    2 hours before heading out to the gym consume a well balance meal consisting of carbs and protein. Then 30 to 45 minutes before heading out to the gym you take a quenching serving of whey protein with some CEE. You're now at the gym.

    You warm up like usual, mainly focusing on your upper body. Now pick up some 5 pound plates and do front and side raises to warm up your shoulders. Do 10 pushups and hold it at the bottom for 5 seconds. Then do the bar 10 times.

    Afterwards lead up to your one rep max in large intervals so you won't tire but are properly warmed up. You're now geared up to go. You lay down on the icy lonely bench. It's only you and the weight, nothing else. You envision yourself lifting the weight.

    You are now prepared and countdown. Your spotter helps with the liftoff and now all the pressure of the weight rest on your hands. You remember everything from the proper lifting section and put up a new personal record. Excellent job. But don't stop here. There are no limits, unless you set them.

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Bonus Question #2:

    How much do ya bench? How long did it take you to get to where you are now? What is your bench press goal?

    Currently I'm maxing out at 295 with a bodyweight of 185. I'm 18 and have been working out since the age of 14. During that time I was mostly without guidance and any serious knowledge. This past year I had been on a plateau of 225-245 range, until I discovered the benefits of working out with lower reps and shocking your body.

    I was able to put add 40 pounds on my bench press after completing 4 weeks of 5x5. I'm now off it and doing 3x3 while still seeing great gains. As for an ultimate bench press goal, I have none. Reason being is that I see no limits. I can't see myself saying "I don't want to get stronger". I guess you can call me greedy. I like to call it hunger.

      Is It In You?

      I know you've seen the commercial were a voice is asking "Is it in you?" Well I'm here asking you the same question. Do you have what it takes? Do you have the will to come out every Monday and Friday and slay your goals?

      Do you want to get beyond the same old plateau and take your strength to new heights? Do you have it in you to be your own champion? If you answered yes to all these questions, then you my friend should follow everything written in this article.


2nd Place - mivi320

What Program Is Best For Increasing Your Bench Press?

Let's face it, everybody wants to increase their bench press, but gym regulars and bodybuilders eventually hit a plateau and struggle to raise those bench press numbers. Put down that magazine article on "how to increase your bench press by 20lbs. in 1 week," and listen up!

Hit The Bench While You're Fresh

    I see this happen many times at the gym I attend. Gym regulars come in and do a few sets of bicep curls, pushups, sit-ups, pull ups, and then proceed to the bench press expecting to move mountains. Why is this not a proper way of training for a big bench press? Well, the bench press is a compound movement; meaning your entire workout should be based around these mass and strength building movements.

What NOT To Do:

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    You also want to be "fresh" for the bench press, so you can put in maximum effort. In other words, start off your chest workout with the bench press followed by other exercises you have designated to perform on that day.

    As always with any exercise, make sure that you have adequately warmed up to prevent injury and get the blood flowing.

Nutrition

    Many avid bodybuilders have made statements in the past about nutrition being 80% of bodybuilding, whilst the other 20% is geared towards training. It's pretty plain and simple; you can't expect to increase your size and strength through the roof if you eat like a bird.

    Analyze your nutrition regimen and make sure you're getting in a sufficient amount of calories, protein, carbohydrate, and fats. Once you start increasing your calories, you'll easily increase in your own body weight; meaning you will just as easily be capable of making an increase on your bench press numbers.

Avoid Overtraining

    Overtraining is simply defined as engaging in excessive training or training too much, which results in an imbalance between training and recovery. This will truly diminish your dreams of increasing on the bench press.

Rest & Overtraining: What Does This Mean To Bodybuilders?
There are many bodybuilders who do not realize the important role rest plays in obtaining maximum performance and results from the hours spent in the gym. Learn the importance of recovery!
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    Some of the symptoms of overtraining to look out for are constant fatigue, lack of motivation, depression, irritability, decreased performance, injury, and constant muscle soreness. If you're overtraining, there is a remedy: take some time off. This will give your body time to recover and grow.

The Program For That BIG Bench Press

BONUS QUESTION:

    Today you decide to try to beat your one-rep max record. What is the best method to prepare for this big lift? What type of warm-up? What can you do mentally? Should you change your nutrition plan that day?

    Today is the day you enter the gym with confidence to break that old bench press record. The best way to prepare for this big lift is simple. As soon as you awake in the morning, tell yourself over and over again that you can do this. Make sure your nutrition is in check, as it should be for everyday. Consume a pre-workout meal 60 minutes before working out, consisting of an adequate amount of carbohydrate, protein, and fats to fuel your body for the lift.

    Do whatever it takes to get you pumped up mentally before attempting the lift. Listen to your favorite song, relax, or even try supplementing with some caffeine to get you alert and ready! To warm up on the bench press, simply do 2-3 sets just to get the blood moving. Do not warm-up with a weight that you struggle with! This will exhaust you before you try to max-out. Have confidence in yourself; make sure your nutrition program is in line, and warm-up the right way to break that old record!

BONUS QUESTION #2:

How much do ya bench? How long did it take you to get to where you are now? What is your bench press goal?

    Currently, at 152lbs, I bench press 220 for one rep. It didn't take me too long to reach a 220lb. bench. I simply followed all of the guidelines I mentioned above, and allowed myself ample time for recovery.

    Last year at about this time, my max bench press was 160. That's about a 60lb. increase in one year! The most important principle to unlocking an impressive bench press is rest and recovery. I cannot stress this enough.


What Are Your Goals?
>Lose Fat
>Build Muscle
>Improve Energy
>Other

    Nutrition also goes hand in hand with recovery, as it is just important. My goal on the bench press is to max-out at 250 by November, and by following these guidelines, I know I can do it.

Good luck!
Mike


3rd Place - TRICK D

How To Increase Your Benchpress!

Introduction:

As someone that has absolutely loved bodybuilding and powerlifting over the last few years, I really respect the people with the serious bench presses. I have seen some of the most impressive lifts in history that were taped and put online, and some in person.

I once saw a man under 165 pounds, at the Arnold Classic bench almost 700 pounds. The most impressive thing about this is that he was a little person, around 4 feet tall. I haven't been more impressed in my life.

2005 Arnold Classic Results.
Results and information for the 2005 Arnold Classic. View thousands of pictures!
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First things first, it isn't how much, but how you do it!

One of the worst things I see when I go to the gym are guys not knowing the basics of how to bench press. Many people bench press weight, and don't do it correctly, leading to injury.

How To Bench Correctly

    1. Have a spotter on hand. You always need a spotter, no matter what.
    2. Approach the bar knowing that at anytime you can get hurt not following all steps.
    3. Have feet flat on floor (view)
    4. Have shoulders squared flat at the center of the bench.
    5. Have hands positioned on bar with just a bit wider than shoulder width
    6. Keep your butt flat on bench, keep your head down.

    Now we got the position right, let's lift the weight!


    Wide Grip

    Close Grip

    Perfect Grip

    1. Take deep breaths, this is where relax, and start psyching myself up. I think about horrible things that I have happened in my life, and then I take slow big breaths, and then focus on getting the weight up.

    2. I hold the bar as tightly as I can, ask for my spotter to give me a lift off, and I start to lower the bar, slowly.

    3. I allow it to touch my chest, with shoulders, head, butt, and feet (pressing against the floor) motionless, not moving at all.

    4. I arch my back and start pressing towards the sky as soon as I feel the weight touching my chest. The key thing is to allow it to touch your chest, if you're going to do it, your going to do it right!

    5. After pressing it, I have my spotter pay attention as much as possible; he should be able to rescue, if needed, as you reach your breaking point.

    6. Once you complete the lift, hold it in the locked position for about a second then have your spotter help put it in the correct resting position.

    7. You have completed a lift.

Trick D's Exciting Process Of Increasing Your Bench

    I have been lifting for 7 years now. I have a love for power, but I do not have the best body for it. With over a 74 inch reach, and only being 68 inches tall, I definitely don't have the best genetics for bench pressing.

    But to put up serious numbers, you must be happy with yourself. One thing to remember is that patience is key. Your bench is not going to increase over night. The other P to remember is persistence. You have to go every week and workout, missing workouts will set you back. This is what I do when I train for power.

    Click Here To Learn More About Mental Preparation...

      Favorite Excercises:

      1. I like to start off with 5 sets of flat bench, when training chest. I train chest just once a week, to prevent injury and over training. I also do not do any other muscle groups on chest day. On each rep, I pause at my chest for 1 full second, to keep myself from bouncing the bar.

        I then explode to the top, and bring it back down and pause. I do 5 sets starting with 10 reps and decreasing it by 2 until I get to 2 reps. So 10, 8, 6, 4, and then 2.

        I feel that it is a necessity to lift extremely heavy weights when you want to increase your bench press fast. I would also suggest doing 1-2 lift warm-up sets and of course fully stretching before trying any heavy weights. With me benching around 250, I start off with about 155 x 10, 185 x 8, 200 x 6, 210 x 4, and 225-230 x 2.

      2. The second exercise I like doing is incline bench press. I normally do 3 sets, and don't really worry about doing pauses for these, because I am already tired. I do 3 sets of between 6-10 for incline bench press.

      3. For my third and last exercise for chest, I do lockouts. This is where you put an extreme amount of weight on the bar, one you can barely handle and push it from your chest, to your locking point.

        To me your locking point is where your triceps start taking the brunt of the weight, and where most people start struggling. Then I also like doing a set or two where I just hold a lot of weight and shock my muscles, so they can get use to lifting such heavy weight.

      While training for strength, I think it is important to do no more than 12 sets. I think that anymore and you are running the risks of injury.

Lifting On The Other Days

    The key in increasing your bench press is to train the muscles you use to bench press. These muscles include shoulders, triceps, back, and even legs.

    I always do legs right after chest, because my muscles are so fatigued (triceps, shoulders, and chest) and I definitely don't want to have an injury. I normally then take a day off and do shoulders or triceps on this day.

      Shoulder Day:

      • Machine shoulder presses - 2 sets of 10 for a good first warm up exercise
      • Arnolds - I do 3 sets of Arnolds, where I do a shoulder press with dumbbell and twist as it goes up
      • Frontals - 3 sets of frontals where I lift the dumbbell from my thigh keeping my arm straight and lift it straight out. Do 10 reps with each arm for 3 sets.

      I also do exercises for rear and side deltoids. I change these exercises quite frequently.

      Triceps Day:

      Note: I normally do these with biceps and always my last workout of the week if I did bench first.

      • Triceps pushdown - I always feel this is a good exercise for triceps. I normally do 3 sets

      • Close-Grip Bench Press - Great exercise for increasing triceps strength and also chest strength. I do 3 sets with a lot of weight. Start with 10 reps, and then go down to 8 reps, then 6. Increasing weight with each set.

      I normally finish with another triceps exercise, Most of the time with dips. I feel that close grip bench press is the best exercise you can do for improving your triceps to be ready for benching a lot more.

Workouts:

    I normally workout 4 times a week, with 2 on 1 off, 2 on then 2 off. That way I get my weekends free to repair my aching muscles, and to prevent injury. Also it allows me to have a life with my friends and my girlfriend.

Nutrition:

    Nutrition is very important. Always eat a lot of protein (at least 1 gram per body pound). Also a lot of carbohydrates are good right before you make a good lift. It was aid in energy.

Supplements:

  1. Multivitamin: always take one. Being an athlete you need more than the average person. Don't forget!

  2. Glutamine: Great for recovery

  3. Creatine Ethyl Ester: Great for strength gains, and packing on muscle, after taking axis CEE from Bodybuilding.com I almost got 255 @ 160, and this was after losing 5 pounds because of the flu. I was only benching 250 @ 165 before the weight loss. I contribute the CEE to helping me get back just 3 weeks after the flu.

  4. Protein: I consider this a food, but make sure you get it!

Bonus Question:

    If I was getting ready to get into a competition in bench pressing, I would start training extremely heavy 4 weeks out, I would be practicing with 6 reps and less. I would do the workout I told you above for every week until there is one week left.

    I would take a week off from doing chest, so that I would be 100% going into the competition. The first lift would be something I know I could get, something like 90% of what I can bench. Right now I would probably go with something around 235.

    When getting ready to lift, I always think of death that is what psychs me up. I have had many friends die, which in my opinion died way too young. I start thinking about them, and how they could have had a great life. This pumps me up, and gets me angry, then I take a few big breaths to refocus on the lift. Then I am mentally prepared to lift.

    Nutrition wise, I wouldn't change anything that much. I would eat a good meal before hand, about 2 or 3 hours before my scheduled lift. I would also consume a lot of protein and maybe an energy drink (caffeine and carbs) within 30 minutes of lift. Other than that I would keep it normal.

Bonus Question #2.

    The most I have ever benched is 250 @ a weight of 163. That is 153% of my body weight. The biggest bench divided by bodyweight percentage I have achieved was 155% when I was 145 pounds and benched 225. All of these were raw benches performed without a bench shirt.

    It has taken me 7 years off and on to get to where I am now. When I started lifting weights, I was 5'6 and weighed 102 pounds. I have a fast metabolism and until recently I had problems filling out. At least 5 or 6 of the years that I worked out I was doing everything wrong. I had no nutrition or weight lifting scheme. Now that I am smarter and have better nutrition, there is no one that can stop me!

    My goal in bench press is to bench press 100 pounds over my bodyweight. I also have a goal of benching 300 pounds without being over 200 pounds. Either way I will be extremely happy, and I feel both of these goals will be passed within the next year and a half or so.


3rd Place (Ironman88) - bubba g

How To Increase Your Bench Press?

    Ok lets start with the basics. Proper warm up, and the use of perfect form are without a doubt the two most important factors in increasing your bench safely and effectively. I have seen people instantly add as much as 25lbs to their bench press simply by warming up correctly and using proper form.

Warm Up

    Warm up should start before you even touch the bar. 10 to 15 minutes of light cardio whether it be treadmill, stationary bike etc. This will bring up your core temperature and warm all of your muscles and joints.

    Now seeing that the flat Barbell Bench press has probably claimed more rotator cuffs than all other exercises combined, it is a great idea to do a couple sets of at least two of the exercises listed in this article prior to not only your max attemp but whenever performing the Bench press http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/luis4.htm.

    All right, now that your entire shoulder girdle is nice and warmed up you'll want to move over to the bench and put on half the weight you plan to max out on and do 10 easy reps. Wait a couple minutes then bring the weight up to 70% of your expected max and do 5 easy reps, Wait two more minutes then bring it up to 85% of your expected max, and do 3 easy reps. now you are thoroughly warmed up. and ready for your 100% effort 1 rep max.

Proper Form

    But lets make sure we are using proper form. To do this the first thing you want to do is retract your shoulders. This is done basically by pulling your shoulder blades back and squeezing them together. This will give you a good solid platform.

    The next thing you want to do is make sure your feet are planted firmly on the floor (no resting them up on the bench). Now you want to slightly arch your back so that your shoulder blades are planted firmly into the bench. Now grab the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip. OK now you're good to go.

    Have a spotter help you bring the bar into position. now inhale as you bring the bar down. Do not let the bar bounce off your chest once the bar touches the bottom of your lower chest explode the weight back up as fast and as hard as you can as you exhale. Sounds simple enough right? With a little practice and you wont even have to think about it.

Technique For Increasing Strength & Power

The Routine
      Week 1
      Pin 10 - 6 inch range of motion 3 sets of 20 X 350lbs

      Week 2
      Pin 9 - 14 X 350lbs 3 sets

      Week 3
      Pin 9 - 19 X 350lbs 3 sets

      Week 4
      Pin 8 - 13 X 350lbs 3 sets

      Week 5
      Pin 8 - 16 X 350lbs

      Week 6
      Pin 7 - 8 X 350lbs

      Week 7
      Pin 7 - 15 X 350lbs

      Week 8
      Pin 6 - 6 X 350lbs

      Week 9
      Pin 6 - 9 X 350lbs

      Week 10
      Pin 6 - 11 X 350lbs

      Week 11
      Pin 5 - 4 X 350lbs
      > Pin 5 is all the way to my chest... so I did 4 times 350...

      Week 12
      Pin 5 - 5 X 350lbs

      Week 13 Judgement Day

    OK time to put my program to the test. on week 13 of my program I benched 400 for a single. I felt I could have done slightly more, but I was completely satisfied with my accomplishments. and seeing that I am a bodybuilder and not a power lifter I felt it was safest not to attempt more.

    So this program that I created by combining a couple techniques allowed me to increase my bench press 85lbs in 13 weeks. after being stuck at the same weight for a couple months. I performed no other chest or tricep work while doing this routine and frankly it wasn't needed.

Mental Preparation

    The mental preparation for the lift starts the second I crawl out of bed. I start to tell myself that there is no way I can fail, no way that weight will beat me. I think about it all day and psyche myself up for it.By the time I make the attempt I am ready to explode. I can't wait to make the attempt.

    I put some Pantera or Korn in the CD player and crank it as I perform all of the warm up techniques I outlined earlier in this article. After I am good and warmed up I sit on the bench and I visualize myself making the lift.

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No doubt about it, music is a powerful tool and one that should be taken advantage of. At the same time, music should be used judiciously for optimal performance.
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    When I lay back and position myself for the lift I look at the bar and I put myself into a rage I focus all of my aggression at the bar. Now I grip the bar really hard, I tighten up every muscle in my body. I signal to my spotter I am ready. I let the weight drop at a controlled but quick rate. Once it hits my chest I explode the weight back up, with every ounce of strength and power I have.

Residual Effects

    One more thing I would like to point out is my strength increased every week for a couple months more then it had previously. In fact I was surprised every week... I think mostly do to increased connective tissue and joint strength.

    While performing this routine You must eat like you have never eaten before, or you will over train. Partials are very very demanding on your CNS (central nervous system). Try to take in 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight carbs should be about the same, and make sure you take in plenty of essential fatty acids. I take in 3 tablespoons of olive oil a day to lubricate my joints, as well as to keep my heart healthy.

Bonus Question: Nutrition

    As far as nutrition goes the day I attempt a one rep max I make sure I take in a lot of slow burning carbs. For me I feel oatmeal works best but Brown rice, sweet potatoes etc. will do just fine.

    I like to get in 3 meals before attempting any max lift. My last meal I will eat approximately 45 minutes before my attempt, and will include some faster burning carbs. Pastas, white rice, regular potato etc.

Bonus Question 2

    My current 1 rep max on the Flat Bench press is 435. It took me almost 3 years of consistent training to get to this point. My goals are mainly to build mass so increasing my 1 rep max at this point is not as important to me as moving heavy weights for slow and controlled reps. I can now slowly bench 350 for 11 reps. and increasing that weight to the most my genetics will allow is my ultimate goal.

    Ok I will finish here by wishing you good luck on improving your max bench press. I hope that I gave you some new ideas as opposed to rehashing the same old routines. also I hope that my article helps you on your quest.


3rd Place (tie) - Ironman88

So You Want To Master The Bench Press?

    The bench press is an exercise that has been long used as a basis of judgment for an individual's overall strength. This statement could not be further from the truth.

    We must remember that although the bench press is a great compound lift with profound muscle building effects, we must also work out the rest of the body. To many people today will start out lifting just to get "big arms" and/or a "big bench press". This is a huge mistake, so just remember to take into account how important other forms of exercise are in conjunction with the bench press.

    With that aside....Who doesn't want to be able to show off a tremendous feat of strength such as a 350lb bench press? The answer: Nobody I know. So in this article we will learn step by step what is necessary to improve and build upon the bench press, and hopefully by the end you will have a deeper understanding of how to achieve a great bench press.

    So what type of program should you follow if you want to add some serious weight in the shortest amount of time possible? Should you do some type of periodization program to work up to your next max-out?

    The first thing we must realize is that all of us are unique. Meaning that we will all respond to different training techniques differently. So the only way to find out what will work best for you is to experiment with several different types of training techniques. Below are several different training methods that have given me success.

1. Training For Increased Speed

    If we are to someday reach an extremely high bench press we must realize something. That speed development is fundamental to increasing the amount of weight we are able to lift. It's simple physics.

    Power is equal to force multiplied by distance divided by time.
    Power = Force x Distance/Time.

    Distance divided by time is the same thing as speed so we are able to define power as Strength X Speed. Strength and speed are components of power, increasing one while neglecting the other limits total power development...this is important to remember.

    To explain this is simple terms I will use the following example: Say an athlete scores a 4 on a strength part of an exam and a 4 on there speed test too. So there power would equal 4x4 or 16. Now say they train for strength only for several months and then score a 8 on the strength part of the and keep a 4 on the speed part. There power would equal 8x4 or 32.

    Now let's say they trained both instead of just focusing on one part. This person now scores 6 on there strength test and 6 on there speed test. So there power now would equal 6x6 or 36. Now think about that. If the athlete that trained for strength had a 100% increase in strength alone and only totaled an overall 32. Now the athlete who trained for both increases each by 50% and scores a 36, higher then the athlete who trained for strength alone.

    Now you might be thinking...How do I train for speed in the bench press? What is this guy talking about? These questions are completely understandable, and I will elaborate on what was previously stated. The way to train for increased speed on the bench press is to use lighter amounts of weight then usual (in the range of 45 to 60% of your 1RM).

    Click Here To Learn More About Speed Training...

    Work on exploding upward in your positive movement of the bench press when training for speed. I recommend trying this technique out when you are an experienced lifter who had come across a plateau or struggling with progress. I would not recommend this type of training for beginners at this point.

2. Pyramid Training

    Pyramid training is a very basic form of training, and is very popular in regard to the bench press. In this method of training a low weight with higher reps is started to build the base for this "pyramid". The weight gets progressively higher and the reps will get progressively lower as the sets continue on.

    Here Is An Example:

      Warm Up:
      • x lbs for 12-15 reps
      • x lbs for 10-12 reps
      • x lbs for 7-8 reps
      • x lbs for 4-5 reps

3. Low Rep Training

    Training with very low reps(2-5) can be very beneficial to adding large amounts of strength to the the bench press. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, is that training at these very low reps with very high weight can be very dangerous. The chances of injury are increased dramatically.

    So unless you are going into competition I would not recommend going below 5 reps. The benefits of doing this are not worth the risk of injury in the long term in my opinion.

4. The 5x5

    The 5x5 Training method has been used by bodybuilders and powerlifters alike for one reason....It packs on the mass and works! This technique is probably the most effect for me. In this method there are 5 sets of 5 reps of the same weight. Works exceptional.....A must try for all those looking to increase there bench press.

    Example Of The 5x5:

      Warm Up:
      • x lbs for 5 reps
      • x lbs for 5 reps
      • x lbs for 5 reps
      • x lbs for 5 reps
      • x lbs for 5 reps

    Should You Perform Different Bench Press Variations?

      Yes, and there are many. One of them is the incline bench press which is done by elevating the bench that you are pressing on you shift emphasis to your shoulders. As the bench becomes more inclined more tension is placed on the deltoids.

      The opposite can be done to make a decline bench press, which is also a must. Another variation is made by people who focus on the bench press only for the purpose of increasing mass in the chest. They wish to minimize the involvement of the shoulder and triceps and even the lower body. For this variation you should lift your legs off the ground and keep them bent or crossed in the air to eliminate their involvement with the movement, so that only the chest is being worked.

      So if your goal is to just pack on mass on the chest this is a good variation for you. Another variation that should be used is simulating the movement of the bench press with dumbbells. This is often referred to as the dumbbell press, and is great for packing on mass and strength on the bench.

    Should You Concentrate On Other Exercises And Bodyparts As Well?

      Yes I can not stress this enough. This is one of the major factors that can make or break your bench press. The compound lift of the bench press involves many muscles which are: triceps, anterior delts, pecs, lats, and much more. Some of the most important muscles involved in the bench press are the Triceps and Pecs. It is important to train triceps if you wish to have a good bench....weighted dips are great for this. We must also remember that we need to work out the rest of our body as well. So remember to have a good 3-4 day split intact.

      Give a detailed bench press strength program including what to do each day, how many days of the week to workout, how many reps and sets you should perform, and any other tips that will help somebody break their gym's bench press record!

      Now the optimal results for each person will vary from person to person so remember experimenting with different techniques is very important.

      A very good split I have used and recommend can be seen below.

      Monday: Chest/Triceps

      Tuesday: Abs / Cardio

      Wednesday: Biceps/Back/Forearms

      Thursday: Abs / Cardio

      Friday: Shoulders/Legs

      Click Here For A Printable Log Of Friday - Shoulders/Legs

Saturday: off

Sunday: off

Tips And Advice On Certain Aspects Of The Bench Press

    The key to all success is consistency and dedication. So remember stay dedicated and keep a consistent workout routine and you will be well on your way to success. You just have to set a goal and be determined to reach it. Setting a high goal does nothing, the road to get there is what counts, so remember stay the course and work hard.

    A great item to add to your bench pressing weapons arsenal is a benching shirt. When used correctly these shirts can prevent injury as well as boost performance of the bench press greatly. As much as 10-20% in some cases. Do not expect a bench shirt to magically raise your bench press by 50lbs the first time you throw it on. It takes time to get used to and to fully figure out how to take advantage of it.

Supplements

    There are many supplements out there on the market today some work, some don't. In this part of the article we will discuss the supplements that are worth buying in hopes of increasing the bench press. We must remember though that supplements are exactly that; supplements. They should not be used in place of, but rather used along with a solid diet.

Whey Protein

    Whey protein is an essential to all good bodybuilding diets. Simply put it's the best protein there is. It's great for adding on mass and aiding in recovery. Not to mention how cost effective it is against other protein sources. When on a diet and routine bodybuilders need to consume, as a rule of thumb, at least 1g of protein per lb. of bodyweight. This is a great way to do just that.

Creatine

    Creatine, and all of its forms, is a great supplement for bodybuilders. Supplementing with creatine leads to almost immediate increases in LBM and lifts. So creatine is a great supplement to add to any type of routine, it is also a great tool when used to break through benching plateaus. A personal favorite of mine is Creatine-Ethyl-Ester, commonly referred to as CEE.

A Good Multi-Vitamin

    Because we bodybuilders live a very strenuous life style we must provide our body with the vitamins and minerals it needs. Any supermarket brand won't do. In my opinion one of the best multi-vitamins on the market is Universal's Animal Pak.

ZMA

    In my experience a hard workout split can deplete my body of zinc, thus leading to plateaus and overtraining becoming a problem. You may ask yourself is the amount of zinc in my multi-vitamin enough? No, the answer is it is not. ZMA has many other benefits as well... it's a great supplement to look into.

Other Supplements

    There are several other supplements whose worth are still in debate. One of these supplements is glutamine. It is an amino acid that aids in performance and recovery. Many people believe that oral supplementation with this supplement simply doesn't work....In my opinion and experience I believe it works to an extent, but is not very cost effective.

    Click Here To Learn More About Amino Acids...

Overtraing

    One thing we must try to avoid at all costs is overtraining. Overtraining can slow, stop, or even reverse progress on the bench press as well as gaining mass. There are several tools we can use to help aid in the fight against overtraining. One of these tools is rest. We must make sure to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night.

    Another is supplements, as they aid in recovery. A proper diet rich in protein will also help in the fight against overtraining. Overall the most effective tools we have to fight against overtraining are: Rest and Proper Diet, these are a must. Remember to much time in the gym can damage your gains, keep to your split.

    Click Here To Learn More About Recovery Products...

Proper Form

    We must also remember to use good form and grip when attempting to max out on the bench press. In just form and grip alone a 5-10lb increase can easily be seen in some cases. So remember to use and practice good form always... leave your ego at the door.

    Always remember to keep proper form both when maxing and doing sets. If you cheat your only cheating yourself. A brief description of the proper bench press technique would be: back straight and level on bench, feet flat on ground, have proper grip, no bouncing off the chest when you bring the bar down, keep control of the weight when sending it back up.

Form For Fitness Are You Using The Proper Form?
What is the correct way to train, and how do you sort through so much information, some of it apparently conflicting? While it would be impossible to discuss all aspects of proper form for every possible exercise, this article will try to address...
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    When maxing some people use a method to increase there max bench. It is known as back arcing. In this method you arc your back to shorten the distance from the bar to your chest as well as to put yourself into a position where you can exert more force upwards on the bar.

    I disagree with this method. Although it is very beneficial to the amount of weight you can bench, the risk of injury placed on your lower back while doing this is to great.

Bonus Question

    Believe it or not maxing out on the bench press can be greatly altered by mental approach. Some days when you don't feel like working out at all you might be down 5, 10 or even 15 lbs off what your normal bench max is. This effect can also work the other way.

    If you are in a great mood all pumped up and ready to go with energy you may lift 5, 10 or even 15lbs heavier then usual. So get yourself prepared mentally before you attempt to max bench.

    The warm up that best suits me is a very low weight(about 35-40% of your max) for about 10 reps. Then stretch out a bit, and loosen up...you know get the blood flowing. Then go for a heavier set (60-70% of your max) for about 6-8 reps. After this it's all mental preparation...You just gotta get hyped up and ready to go.

    Another great way to help you bench max go up to its full potential is a stimulant. Some of the great pre-workout stimulants I have tried include: NO Xplode, Ready4War, and just pure caffeine. They all are good choices so if you are going for you max on a specific day I would recommend changing your diet for the day by adding a pre-workout stimulant.

Bonus Question #2

    Currently I bench 285lbs raw, 310 shirted. Before my last football season I was maxing out just above the 300lb raw mark but I hurt my shoulder during the season and about a month after recovery I could hardly rep 225. I have been struggling to get back to a raw bench of 300 for several months now and hope to achieve it by summer.

What Do You Think Is The Best Chest Exercise For Building Size?

Flat Barbell Bench Press
Weighted Dips
DB Pullovers
Other

    I started training at 14, my freshmen year of high school. I am now 17 in my junior year of high school. So it has taken me a little over 2 years (about 1 1/2-3/4 serious) training to get where I am at today. My ultimate bench pressing goal is to pass the 350lb mark before I graduate next year.


What Program Is Best For Increasing Your Bench Press?
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BaraaEgbaria

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BaraaEgbaria

Is it just for the chest ??
can I do it for legs and other....

Mar 20, 2012 9:42am | report
 
flyfreefit

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flyfreefit

Haven't read through the entire article, but something that stood out to me was "How many times have you seen a guy benching while arching his back [...]? Well please don't follow this moron."

Can we please update the article to reflect more current information on how to properly execute these lifts?

Jul 17, 2014 4:15pm | report
 
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