T Nation

Bench Goal for Next Year


So, my lower body strength is pretty good by most standards. 700+raw squat and close to an 800lb raw deadlift. My bench has always lagged and it is even worse now because I have dropped 40lbs since july in order to get ready for the NOTLD. My best raw bench in competition has been 423 with my best in the gym being 445. I went to test my bench to see where I was at after this weight lose and... 365 for 2. That was it. Depressing to say the least but it was expected.

Anyway, my goal is to bench 500lbs raw by the end of next year. The point to starting this thread is to find out what has worked for others in raising thier raw bench after they hit the 400lb mark. I dont think thier are very many guys on here who are at that point but any input would be appreciated. For example, stuff pertaining to prgramming changes that have worked well, exercise selections, as well as exercise prgressions, set&reps, high volume or intensity or both, just whatever has worked. Thanks.


My trick is to suck more at the other 2 lifts then Bench doesn't look as bad. You might have better luck finding the ones who can bench and just PM them or post on their training logs directly otherwise you'll just get people like me responding. Only 2 I know of are MM and Alpha according to his log, I don't think he posts in the PL forums but maybe bodybuilding or something.


it could depend on what type of prgram you're on, everybodys on something different. i havent reached the 400 raw mark (so idk why im even posting on here), but im planning on getting there soon. good luck with 500... thats quite a milestone


I compete in the 275 division and have hit a comp raw 550 and Gym 585. I never could get the hang of a shirt. Now, to be fair, I only compete bench, not full PL -- BTW your totals would kill mine-- Very nice work!

Biggest thing that helped my bench was punishing my back and dips. I alternate incline work weekly with dumbbells, smith, hammer and do the same for decline work.
My chest days are chest/tri days, and I alternate a triceps exercise with a chest exercise for the frist 4 exercises.
and I always, always, always start with flat bench first and then always always always hit my dips after flat.
Everything else just depends.
Then again, I'm an old bastard and am set in my ways.


I am a big believer in the bench/dip combo as well. What does your back punishment look like if you don't mind my asking?


I'll usually follow a chest day with a back day.
I'll usually start with seated hammer rows going single arm for my warm up. I'll start with one plate and work my way up to a full pin.

The main thing that I added in was starting with heavy bent over row with a barbell OR heavy wide-grip T-bar work to start with. I'll alternate each workout between those two. 5 x10 increasing weight with a drop set burn-out at the end.
Starting adding this in from just talking to this old dude, 54, that was still hitting 455 raw at meets. I was getting frustrated and he told me if you plan on lifting heavy, you've got to have a good base-- makes a lot of sense

After the heavy bent overs, it's a combination of different exercises. I like the hammer strength work using single arm, i find that it's harder to cheat your form that way. I'll also some biceps work, I'll hit that inbetween back exercises, as keeps my back from getting overly fatiqued too quick.

Seated wide pulls-- paying attention to form, I'll also get two or three sets leaning way forward-- got that from an article on the main page a few months back. Gives you a sweet feeling in your upper lats
close grip pulls-- focus on form again
Cable low rows with the ez bar, under hand grip
hammer low rows-- single arms again
cable high pulls using nylon D grips-- pulling past chest

Basically, putting as much emphasis on your back work as you do on your chest. All told, about 10 exercises on back/bi day.

If I could only pick two exercises to raise my bench, I would recommend heavy bent overs and dips.


Switching max effort and speed days has been beneficial to me.


Looks similar to that one guys routine in the 600lb bench thread. Different than a normal PL workout but maybe that's the key to a good bench.


Awesome information. I have been thinking about doing more incline work. I feel like I dont work that angle of my triceps/chest as much as I should. Mostly because I am weak as shit on anything inclined so I avoid it like the plague. Here is how I am planning on working in some more incline presses/extensions:


ME Day-
Max bench variation
flat bench barbell or db variation for 2 sets of 15, one set close, one extra wide
Incline tricep extension variaiton for 5 or 6 sets
Other assistance stuff

DE Day-
DE bench variation
Incline barbell or db variation, 2 sets of 15
Flat tricep extension variation, 5 or 6 sets
other assistance stuff

I feel my bench form is pretty tight. my lockout has always sucked though. More bench volume has never helped but I'm hoping some higher volume with more variation on bench-like exercises will help develop the weaknesses.

Thanks for the input and those are some huge fucking bench numbers.


Maybe some OHP's? Not sure if you already do them, but I've heard a lot of big benchers swear by them.


I'm not a 400+ Bencher, but I just wanted to say that I feel your pain. I have dropped about 45lbs from my heaviest bw, and my bench went from 385ish to 315x3 (whatever that is). Carry on.