T Nation

Bench Press Competition

Well, here’s the story; my untit is having a “physical fitness” competition in march and in addition to the situps, pushups, and mile and a half run, there’s a bench comp too. Now i could really care less about banging out 3 zillion pushups or situps or doing my best prefontaine impression on the track, but i’m REAL interested in smoking everyone in the bench comp. I competed a little in HS with powerlifting, but nothing serious. I need some help coming up with a 4 week lifting and supplementation routine to peak for this thing. I should be coming off Ian King’s 12 weeks to super strength program mid february so i got about 4 weeks to prep. Right now my current 1 rep max(calculated) is 285, i stand about 6 foot 5 and weigh in at about 290 lbs. I’m supplemnting with ZMA, creatine, and EFA’s(not to mention protein but i put that in the food coulumn). Please help me out guys…winning this would mean alot to me.


Although it’s relatively short notice, I recommend you check out “Achieving Structural Balance” here at T-Mag and assess your external rotator: close grip bench press ratio. Chances are that you’ll find you’re deficient in this regard, and some specific external rotation work along with rows and posterior delt work will give you a few extra pounds. Good luck!

By the way, are you at the academy in New London?

Thanx, i’ll check that article! No, i’m stationed at USCG TISCOM, Honor Guard Division, Alexandria VA. I’m enlisted, and i’m an e-3 if that helps any.


You are sure to find a lot of ideas here, and you should be able to formulate what should work best for you. What worked for me in a hurry was an approach I got off of a reference here. The time frame you have is about what I had done. Nothing to failure. I started at 75% of my previous 1rm. THE KEY WAS NEVER GOING TO FAILURE EVER. 2 sets per day, M-F of 5 reps, adding 5 lbs per day. 3 minute rest. When form got loose, I switched to a timed rep scheme sarting at every minute with that 5 rep plateau. 1 rep, 2 reps, 3 reps, starting a “set” @ every minute. repeat again after 5 minute rest. 1,2,3, (5 minutes), 1,2,3. Every other day for 3 training sessions. After 3 of these sessions, I went with that weight as a start, because time was approaching, 1 rep per minute for 5 minutes (max, form being a guide)daily, adding another 5 lbs per session. Nearing the top, 3 sets was all I did. I did this the day before my test. worked out great. That was me though. It wasn’t as it was written, but tweaked to fit what I felt. Hopefully your form is tight and you haven’t any imbalances. Have someone who knows look at your form. Good luck.

OK listen, there is not a lot of time to make GREAT power gains in 4 weeks. You can make some, but not a lot, so I am going to give you 1. Some simple things that may instantly or very quickly increase you bench, and then 2. I will give you some things that will help in the long run, and MAY help here. First is your set up. At your hieght if you are not taking the widest grip allowed in competition, then you are moving the bar way too far. Take as wide a grip as you can legally. (Index fingers on the rings) Secondly You need to make sure that you pull your lats together before lying down on the bench. This will raise your chest an inch or two higher, and also give you a good base to lift from. Thirdly, Make sure that you are using your legs as much as possible in the lift…After a good bench workout my legs are as tired as my chest and tris…To do this lay down lower on the bench than normal (With the bar even with the top of your head) Then pushing with your feet, roll back onto your shoulders. This should put your eyes about even with the bar, your chest should raise even a little higher once again. Finally wear a weight belt, and fill that belly of yours up with air, and push out on the belt hard. this will help you stay tight…Now being four weeks out, make sure you are doing very low reps 2-4 with 75-90% of your 1rm…Work the tris, and cut out all the extra Bodybuilding lifts (Curls, Crossovers, flys, Etc) and work on the big movements…Hope this helps, and good luck!

Well I hate to sound negative but if the competition is in a couple of months, and (if there are no typos) you currently “think” you could bench 5 lbs over your body weight you are not gonna be in a position to “blow anyone away”. Maybe if the comp is a test of absolute strength, and if you are far and away the biggest in the comp you could prevail, and no weight classes apply…but you would be kidding yourself, I’m 43 and weigh 178 lbs and you couldn’t blow me away (i’ve never competed lifting, posing etc, am natural and “garage trained”) I’m not trying to be down, just real. I think your goal should be personal best, compete against yourself and disregard the competetion. Good Luck, give us a post after the comp and let us know how you did.

Even though four weeks is a short period of time to make a drastic improvement, you can definitely up your 1RM. You’ll need to start lifting with low reps, never lifting to failure and following a plan that Dave Tate or even Pavel Tsatsouline have used to increase 1RM. At your current max, don’t expect to blow anyone away, especially at your size. You are lifting 5lbs less than your bodyweight. In order to have a good bench, you will realistically need to do at least 1 1/2 times your weight. This is a sad reality. I have a friend who has competed at 148lbs and has benched 409lbs in his college days. Now, at 34, he can still bench 365 at about 155lbs, and that’s with him rarely ever benching anymore. When he does, it’s usually once a week for about five sets on the bench. That’s all. Yes, he’s a genetic freak, but there are many people who can put up a lot of weight even though they may not be big. So do what the others have said, and compete against yourself. Try to make a new PR for you! That’s what matters most. If you go in thinking you are going to smoke everyone, you’re going to be disappointed.

Thanx for the tips everyone! Here’s the deal with the comp…It’s an absolute strength thing and the current high max here is like 330 by this guy with big bitch tits whoose been on that plateau forever. Currently there’s this perception of me as being a fat guy who never excersises or does anything and i’m looking to turn that around and shut everyone up once and for all. I just wanna put that up and have everyone go “sweet jesus, i never thought he could do that”. I’m not a total space cadet here. I know in a powerlifting meet i’d be near the bottom of the field in my weight class. Sorry if i gave the wrong perception. It’s more of an ego/image thing. Once again, thanx everybody…I have a much better picture of what to do to prepare.