T Nation

Bench Press Competition

I am entering a bench press contest where the goal is to bench press your bodyweight as many times as possible. I have 12 weeks to train and am wondering what you guys think a good way to approach the training might be.

This was the rage here in the eastern US about 10 years ago. I had some friends win contest and all they did was “do the excercise”. Bench press your weight for 3-5 sets as many times as you can twice / week. Keep a log and always do more reps the next workout. Do plenty of tricep and lat work.

Don’t train to failure, but stop a set with a few in the can. Do an assload of sets. long rest. Its working like a charm for me with chins.

Any ides of whats a good number of reps in the contest? Im 170 and have done 10 x 200. I always hoped we could an informal type of contest like this on this forum. If your training permits and we find some people here with sufficient nutsack here, we could do one in the lead up to the contest.

I know for a fact that I will be competing against a few badasses. Both of the guys have set national bench press records at low bodyweights. One guy weighs 181 and maxed out at 440. Last year, he did his bodyweight 48 times. The other guy weighs 145, maxed out at 315, and did his bodyweight 34 times. Those are some humbling numbers for me!!

You might want to try a variation of Cluster Training. It’s a strength training technique that develops maximal strength in a short time, but you could probably adapt it to your goal. Basically, use your bodyweight or maybe a slightly heavier weight and start to do singles resting 10s in between each single rep. What your doing is making your nervous system more efficient and allowing it to handle greater stress and volume. For your first workout, probably do about 10-15 singles and see how you feel, try to move up the amount of singles till you get to a range/number you are comfortable with that might win you the contest. You also should probably do some external rotator cuff execises on chest day, but not too much and don’t train to failure on any of the 2 exercises. Always stop a couple of reps short of failure and as the contest gets closer, decrease the rest time in between sets so your body can handle the lactic acid build-up. I would also probably recommend some lactate style training to help your body be accustomed to the levels of lactic acid you will be experiencing. This is usually constant tension sets 202 Tempo and short rests 30s-60s rest between sets for your other exercises. You probably don’t need to do other chest exercises as you don’t want to overtrain your chest. Hope this helps.

Give this a shot, do a set to faliure at your bodyweight. Say you do 30 reps, Rest the amount of time it took you to complete 30reps. Then do as many reps as possible again, lets say now you can only do 10 reps, then rest the amount of time it took to get those 10 reps. Contiune this trend until you can only get one rep. Try to increase your Total number of reps with the least amount of sets possible each workout. This will be extemely taxing, so be careful with your recovery, don’t overtrain. Best of Luck.

Another thing you may want to take into careful consideration is what tempo you have the best endurance at. For example you may be able to do your bodyweight 20 times using a
1-0-1 tempo but you may be able to do 25 using a 2-0-1 tempe for example.

Just a thought. Good luck man.

12 weeks is a long time to train for a specific event like this. I would divide my training to two parts, 4 weeks of maximal strength training (ie. drive 1 rep max poundables up as high as possible) and then 8 weeks of strength endurance training.
for the first phase i would try perhaps benching twice over a 5 day cycle, with one day being a maximum effort day and one day being dynamic very similiar to west side training. For the maximum effort day i would use something like cluster training or the 5 percent solution of 8 x 3 method. For the dynamic effort day i say stick with louie simmons recommendations. Since you are training the upper body, i would shift my rep brackets and perhaps tempos every 2 - 3 workouts, probably downwards.
For the strength endurance method i would try two things. First I would use a workout in which i took my bodyweight, benched it as many times as possible, rested 2 minutes, benched it as many times as possible etc.
Second i would use Pavel Tsauolines ladder method, where you take your bodyweight, bench it once, rest how long that took you, bench it twice, rest how long that took you, bench it three times, rest how long that took you, and keep going but stop a few reps short of failure. Several sets can be used with this method.

You could try the Synaptic Facilitation training that Pavel is on about.