T Nation

1st Bench Press Competition


I'm entering my 1st bench press competition at the end of February. I'm currently using the programs "From Russia With Love" that are found on this site and having good success.

Right now I'm at about 170 lbs and I'm expecting to bench between 295-315 in the competition. I'm wondering how I should taylor my training over the last couple weeks and how I should eat/supplement in the days/weeks prior to competition and how I should do competition day.

Any feedback will be appreciated.


Well its a little late now, but for future meets you can use CT's "8 weeks to a record bench"

And good luck!


5th and 4th week, warm up and so singles until you reach a weight that you can do a triple with, and do 2 sets of triples.

3rd and 2nd week, do the same as above but with doubles.

1 week away from meet, work up to a 1RM and get a feel for your opener which should be an easy one that you know you can do without much effort.

Don't do anything until the meet, no working out at all.

On meet day, make sure you eat and are well hydrated. Open as above, 2nd attempt go for a 5 lbs PR, on your 3rd go for broke.

Have fun and learn.


I'm guessing you're doing the Soviet Peaking Cycle in that program. I'd try to coordinate the last workout of the program to be at least 7 days before the competition. Then, in that last week, I'd do 1 or 2 easy, low volume, low to moderate intensity workouts, and focus on recovering and getting amped up mentally. I'd take the last 2 or 3 days before the comp and do nothing at all. Total rest. As Tommy Kono said "It's better to be a little undertrained, than a little overtrained."

Absolutely no differently than you've been doing. Last minute is not the time to play around with nutrition/supplementation.

You will dominate.


hey mate, good luck, my wife was a bobcat and her bro is there at the moment..ive been to the campus and its fkn great times...all the best and let us know how you go!!!


Ok, first of all, you guys are awesome. Thanks for the feedback...

rrjc5488-Ia ctually used the 8 weeks program last year. The gym I was at wasnt tailored to the program at all, but I did get back to my old PR using it. I thought about trying this one again, but the Soviet Peaking cycle's worked wonders for me 4 years ago. They are working even better this time. I may give CT's program another shot later this year now that i'm in a gym that is more equipped for the program.

Jlesk, minotaur-Thanks for the tips. I've been happy with my results on the peaking cycles. I was thinking it might be a good idea to try a new PR a week before the competition to get a feel for the weight. Should be interesting. Are there any recovery methods you guys like to use prior to competition? And Minotaur, can you give a brief description of a moderate intesity workout. Does that mean sticking to weights that are about 80% of my max lifts and not going to failure? And is there anything I should stay away from in these workouts?

JimmyOZ-yeah, OU is awesome, unfortunately it makes training difficult on Saturday and Sunday if ya know what I mean. Gonna try to stay disciplined though!


I'd say something like, less than 10 reps per workout, after an easy, general warm-up. So, say 3x3 or 5x2 with a weight you could handle for 5-6 reps (whatever % that works out to be). You're not building strength at this point, you're reminding your muscles of the task at hand, and reinforcing technique.

Yes, stress and fatigue. In the days before the competition, you're only trying to keep your head (and muscles) in the game. It should feel comfortable and rev you up.


I'd be careful trying to do a full max the week before the competition. Some people have a hard time recovering fully from a full max-effort lift, and you may end up leaving some pounds in the gym.

Of course this may not be a problem for you, but is something to ponder.

Personally I work up to my opener in the last week before the meet (and I like EASY openers), and then take the whole week before the meet completely off.

Good Luck!


I'm surprised you've had such good results with the Soviet peaking workout. I tried it a couple of months back, and found myself unable to finish the reps required, particularly when adding weight. Not sure why, just couldn't get through those workouts the right way and found the program frustrating and not that effective. But hey, different strokes and all that. Good luck at the comp.


I notice a lot of guys are saying to take the entire week prior to the meet completely off. This is probably the right advice in terms of recovery, however if you are at all like me then the mental factor of the lift is a part of it as well. If I am off for that long I feel weak and small, even if it is only mental. This then directly effects my lifting.

What I do is for example, if the meet is on a Sunday, I would probably get a light lower body workout in the Sunday or Monday before, and then the Wednesday before the meet which would be 4 days out I would do a VERY light, quick back workout just to get the blood flowing and keep myself metally right as far as feeling big and strong. Im talking maybe just 2 or 3 movements, only like 2 sets a piece. I would however completely avoid doing any chest, shoulders, and tris for the entire week as many guys have said.

This is just from my standpoint, and if you can take a week off and still feel big and strong, then by all means do that. If not, this is just an example of what I do.


Yeah, I don't think I can do an entire week off either b/c I usually comeback feeling like crap and i do think it would mess with my mind a little bit.

I'm thinking about doing my lighter squat workout(nothing above 80% of max) three days before as this doesnt seem to take much out of me and maybe a lighter bench workout 3-4 days before(again, nothing more than 80% and low reps). I guess its up in the air right now though. I'll figure it out as I learn.


If you can stand it, Id suggest against even the "lighter" bench workout. At the least, make sure you have a good 4 days rest between your last bench workout (assuming it's light) and the competition.

Good luck! And by the way, I assume this is the competition at the Ping student rec center? If so, I competed in that back in '01 and '02, and I was lucky enough to get 1st both times :slightly_smiling: Let me know how it goes.


Using a shirt or not? The training will differ depending on that factor.

Also, personally, I like to pick my opener 2-3 weeks out to make sure I nail it. Trying to figure it out the week of the meet is poor planning, IMO. Give yourself time to make adjustments as needed. Of course, I have been competing for 11 years and open with near-max loads, so my views may be skewed.