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Bench Bodyweight For Reps


I entered the 5K Pump and Run @ the Arnold Expo. I am trying to get my reps up on the bodyweight bench press for the first half of that event. I keep waffling between wanting to train heavy to get my strength up and just shooting for using lighter weights to increase my endurance. It is about 5 wks out right now.

Any ideas about the best way to go?

Right now I am 187 lbs. and the last time I tried that weight I got 12 reps.


Try to get 20 in 3 minutes. Maybe do a set of 8, rest 30 secs, then do 5, rest 30 secs, do maybe 3, rest 30 secs,then maybe 1 or 2. Continue to reduce rest periods between each set til you achieve 20 straight.


So you're thinking just work that weight alone and don't mess around with lighter/heavier weights at all?


What's your current 1RM? Unless it's only about 200, I'd work on the metabolic aspects only 3 weeks out.

The 20 rep EDT is good. Another idea might be to rep out at 187 (or 190 since it's easier to set up) and then use a lighter weight, 135 for instance, and keep going for the full time you have allotted (or is it a just till you fail thing?).



DeFranco explains in his combine tape, that maximal strength or limit strength is most important for the 225 for reps test. his example was somehting like who do you think will get more reps at 225, the person who has a 300 max or the person who has a 450 max. i know you only have 5weeks until you contest, just thought i throw this out there for future endeavors.


My 1RM is about 255. I have been doing 135 for reps after a 225X3 set and I just peter out after about 25 reps. Its more like 5 wks, but I am thinking the same thing. I don't think there is time for any real strength gains.

The event is to keep benching until you stop. They allow up to 30 reps and each rep is counted as 30 secs off of your run. I am a little fat and hope to be under 180 by the Arnold. That way I won't have to bench as much.


I'm training for the 225 rep test, it comes up this friday. What I do is to do a normal workout, and then after I'm done use 225 like I would and rep it out. I realize that this is kinda like training to failure, but i don't think that its the same because I don't feel like I'm overtraining.


How many reps are you shooting for?
I've always wondered what the record is for reps with 225.


This is how DeFranco makes his living by getting athletes ready for these things.

Make sure you work on improving your max. Don't just focus on repping out with the lower weight.


What's your workout like during the week?

I was thinking that you could do both...meaning one day a week you can do the bodyweight for as many reps as you can. Then on the second bench day of the week you can max out total weight. Space the days out evenly during the week and you'll get the best of both worlds.


Its funny that defranco's name was brought up several times. WSSB was the first thing I thought of when I saw this post.

Not having much time to train you may have to change it some. I would at the very least aim to maintain your limit strength along with increasing your BW bench.

Also "grease the groove" comes to mind... practice often staying away from failure


I can vouch for DeFrano's claim. Number one, max strength is foundational to strength endurance.

Two, the only time I ever did poorly in a 225 for reps test was when I traied for reps leading up to the test.
I was doing 230 for max reps, and lost about 5 off my best total.

Next time the test came, I stuck to mostly heavy benching with some higher rep stuff...which is pretty much what I normally do...and I broke my own record.


Last year, I had a client enter a "bodyweight bench for reps" contest at his University. I had him do 3 bench sessions a week (1 max effort day, 1 dynamic effort day, 1 repetition day) and 1 "maintenance" session for the rest of his body. He ended up getting something like 39 reps with his bw (186-ish, if I recall), and he maintained his 320 max bench. If you're interested, I'll toss the rough outline up here.

We worked it over 8 weeks, but I think you could jump into it for these next 4 -4 and a half weeks, and still see some decent results.

Just be careful about dropping your bodyweight. If you lose muscle, it'll be counterproductive. I'd rather see you at a stronger 184, than a weaker 181.


If it's not too much trouble, please post it. My chest sucks.

Also, what was the starting strength of your client in terms of #reps bw pressing, please?



Get a time machine and go back a few weeks. Just kidding. I did one of these about a year ago. I was only 165 lbs at the time but I trained every second week low rep high weight, than on the other weeks 10 lbs over my bodyweight for as many as I could get.

I got 23 reps in the end but that was by no means great considering the winner had something like 44 reps. Another guy got 40 reps. Good luck!

Oh yeah, just for comparison purposes my 1 RM was 255 lbs at the time.


I would like to take a look at it.


I've been worried about that a little too, but I have to run 3 miles after too and the extra weight I have isn't doing me any good for either.

I just moved into the office for 40 hours a week after doing field construction 60 to 80 hours a week for 4 years and it has been real hard to adjust the calories down. I was burning so much at work I was still eating like a fifteen yr old kid. Ah the good old days. dammit!

I think my running practice is probably throwing my bench in the toilet too.


During the Fiesta Bowl they mentioned that Mike Kudla, OSU's graduating defensive end, was trying to break the NFL Combine record which is 43 reps of 225 set by Scott Young in 2005.

I've read that Kudla has done 46 in the weight room, and he has a legit 550 raw bench. I imagine there are powerlifters who can get well over 50.


So, I double checked my records. I was a bit off in my recollections, but not majorly. My guy weighed about 175, he did end up scoring 39 reps, and before he started, he was able to get in the mid 20's.

It was a 6-week program I designed (inspired by some basic Westside concepts) to have a total of three workouts each week. Tuesdays were for maintenance on the other bodyparts. Monday and Thursday were bench-specific sessions, rotating three different set/rep/load parameters. So the calendar looked like...

Week 1:
Mon. - Dynamic effort
Tues. - Other stuff, maintenance
Thurs. - Repetition day

Week 2:
Mon. - Max effort
Tues. - Other stuff, maintenance
Thurs. - Dynamic effort

Week 3:
Mon. - Repetition day
Tues. - Other stuff, maintenance
Thurs. - Max effort

Week 4:
Mon. - Dynamic effort
Tues. - Other stuff, maintenance
Thurs. - Repetition day

Week 5:
Mon. - Max effort
Tues. - Other stuff, maintenance
Thurs. - Dynamic effort

Week 6: (Deloading)
Mon. - Very high rep day
Thurs. - Very high rep day

Week 7:
Sat. - Competition.

(I'll follow with all the nitty-gritty details shortly...)


For what it's worth, I know several guys with a similar max bench to mine (and we all weigh approx the same), but I can bench lighter weights for considerably more reps than them. A possible explanation is that I spent many years training in the 8-12 rep area.

For example, I could bang out at least 5-6 more reps of 225 than these guys. I understand everyone is different, but the higher rep training probably factored greatly into these results.

Just my $.02.


I read that a gym owner challenged Ronnie Coleman to a 225 rep contest and he got 79, but who knows what to think of that. I wish people would grab a video camera for something like that.

I ran into a guy on the jobsite one time that claimed he deadlifted 1200 lbs. when he was younger. I told him to revise that number to something a little under the world record if he wanted anyone to consider believing him. Anybody who would know what the number means would call bullshit. If somebody doesn't know what the number means, you might as well say 8000 lbs. and they wouldn't know the difference.