T Nation

25-30lbs to Your Bench in 8-12wks


I was curious as to what is the best set/rep scheme you all have ever used to increase your maxs....whether bench, aquat, deadlift or OHP. Quite a few years ago, I used the following set/rep scheme to help increase my raw 1RM from 365 to 390 in about 10 weeks. I think it would be more successful for a younger lifter or someone with a little less experience, but its one of the best set/rep schemes I have ever used for increasing my max bench.

One of the main keys to success with this program is that you have to use an ACTUAL 1RM, not a guess. And one other thing to remember is to not drive your CNS into the ground. Get your sets and reps each workout, then walk away. With this program keep in mind that just because you feel like you haven't done much, doesn't mean you haven't done anything.

Here's the breakdown:

Day 1 - Do a few warm-up sets, nothing stressful, then work up to 4 singles at 95%!
Day 2 - Again a few warm-up sets, then 3 sets of 3 at 85%!
Day 3 - Warm-up, then 5 sets of 5 at 75%!

The next time you bench, go back to your 95% weight and add 5lbs, then 4 singles again.
You continue to add 5 lbs. to your top work sets through every rotation, so 3x3@85%+5lbs, then 5x5@75%+lbs, etc.

The program was designed to be ran for 6 weeks, based off benching twice a week. When I did it, I only benched once a week and ran it for 2 months. Not only did my max go up, but my reps for everything else went up as well. For instance, I was doing 315 for 3-5 on a good day, but by the time I was done, I could do 315 for 5 sets of 5 fairly easy.

I'm not sure how it works on squats and deadlifts, but on the bench its pretty effective.

Give it a try if your bench seems to be stalled out, I'm sure it will help.

Any other effective set/rep schemes that you all have used??



I'm currently using the 6 week bench program by Tim Henriques and have been for about a month and a half. My maxes are shooting up like crazy. The program is great but I also have been increasing my calories substantially cause i need it. But yea this program has really worked well for me.


AWESOME!! Thanks stefan! Yea my nephew did that program as well and he loved it. He said the weights were flying up by the end of the cycle. He also did The Juggernaut Method for a few cycles before that, and he said that worked really for him on all three lifts. He told me on The Juggernaut Method, that by the end of like the third time thru, he was doing 10 reps with weights he was originally doing for 5s when he started. Good stuff! I think I'm gonna try that Tim Henriques one after the new year. But I'm really on the fence. I was thinking about trying a modified Justa Singles program for the bench as well. I posted a thread about it like a week ago or so.

Have you tried it for deadlifts or squats too, of just the bench?


I have only used it for benching. I use 5/3/1 for my squat and deadlift. I might try Tim's method for those lifts eventually.


This sounds like a good routine! I took some time off benching but I'm going to start again in about a week maybe I'll give this routine a go to try something new.


Ghost, I have no doubt that it will work well for you. The important thing to remember, especially if you're specifically after strength, is don't run your CNS into the ground by going to failure. Make sure you get your reps, then leave while you are still fresh. It's the same mindset that is used for 5/3/1, The Juggernaut Method, The 40 days program, etc. You get the idea. When I did it, I got stronger on that faster than anything I had ever tried before. Good Luck...and let me know how it goes if you try it.


Are you saying for each set I should still have another rep left in the tank?


Yep....at least for the first 3 weeks to a month. If you start "grinding" to soon, you will kill your momentum and your progress will stall. If ever in doubt, go just a shade lighter when u start out. That's why Jim Wendler recommends starting at that 90% instead of basing your lifts off of 100% in his 5/3/1 program. It helps you build more momentum, and helps you to run a longer, more successful cycle.