T Nation

Bench Pressing Frequency

Just curious to hear how much the strength folks press (bench or incline) during a week. BB or DB-- doesn’t matter.

For example, some folks might only bench once per week. Some twice, maybe bench and incline. Programs like Madcow call for 3 presses per week (eg. 2 bench, 1 incline).

What frequency (and of course rep range) do you find works best for you?

I bench once per 6 day cycle. I work the hell out of it that one day though. I do 3 heavy sets of 3-5 reps (usually 3) on the first movement, 5-8reps by 3-5 sets on a secondary, then a high rep bench (shooting for 30 reps). Triceps stuff after that. Seems to be working for me so far.

Being near 50 my frequency has had to go down to enable complete recovery. However - I have had some success in the past benching 3x per week doing 2x5-6 for one pressing movement.

I think you can have success either way - low frequency,high frequency - so long as you can manage workload and recovery for the scheme you’re using. The advantage of high frequency is the neural efficiency you can develop through frequent practice. Sheiko programs are built around that idea, I believe.

Interesting post as I am sorting this out for myself right now. For all lifts.

I have been playing around with frequent full body workouts (every other day) using heavy weight but very few sets. Also been doing increased volume with reduced frequency.

I don’t like doing a few heavy sets on main lifts only once week, with most of the volume being in accessory work, ala westside. I also don’t like an incredible amount of volume every other day, ala Sheiko.

I travel quite a bit so my workouts are a bit sporatic. Often times I have to cram workouts into 3 or 4 consecutive days before hitting the road for 3 or 4 days. My diet is shit as well when I’m in driving through the middle of nowhere eating out of gas stations.

If I feel like I might want to get 2 bench (or squat/DL) workouts in 3 or 4 days, I’ll go heavy with only a few sets and some light accesory work.

If I know I have 4 days before I bench again, I’ll go heavy for more sets (Sheiko)or add in more or heavier assesory work (Westside).

I’ve only been back lifting for under a year, so more often than not I’ll add more sets of the main lifts rather than accessory work. This will probably change eventually.

I like to keep my work sets in a specific rep range. Just adjust number of work sets (1 to 6) depending on what the next couple of days looks like.

Bench or variants - 1 to 4 reps
CG incline bench - 4 to 6 reps
DB press, flat or incline - 4 to 6 reps
BB tri work - 4 to 8 reps
DB tri work - 6 to 10 reps
Shoulder pressing - 4 to 8 reps
Other shoulder - 8 to 12 reps
Back - 6 to 12 reps

Squat and variants - 1 to 4 reps
DL and variants - singles
RDL and GM - 4 to 8 reps

As you can see, I like to stay in the lower rep ranges. Higher reps feel good when doing them (pump) but going heavy makes me feel good days after. When I bench heavy, my shoulders, back, and arms feel like granite. When I squat or DL heavy, I feel like I have to boulders for ass cheeks. Under the flubber that is. And no DOMS!

I had good progress running madcow’s 5x5 (both versions), which has you benching quite a bit.
I did find, however, that running the exact program back to back does NOT work. :wink: I did this for almost a year.

Right now, I’m following the WS4SB template, and only flat bench on my RE day: 3 sets of ~15 reps. I incline barbell press on my ME day: work up to a 3rm on my 4th set, 1 back off set at 80-85% for 8. I also flat DB bench on my ME day for 2 sets of ~15 reps. This seems to be working very well. I should easily hit 235 for 3 on the incline next monday, and 200 for ~15 this saturday.

i lift every other day now(so one week 3 days, and one week 4 days) and every other workout is a bench based workout. I’ll do rep work one day, and the other is a max- effort day.

[quote]goochadamg wrote:
I had good progress running madcow’s 5x5 (both versions), which has you benching quite a bit.
I did find, however, that running the exact program back to back does NOT work. :wink: I did this for almost a year.

Right now, I’m following the WS4SB template, and only flat bench on my RE day: 3 sets of ~15 reps. I incline barbell press on my ME day: work up to a 3rm on my 4th set, 1 back off set at 80-85% for 8. I also flat DB bench on my ME day for 2 sets of ~15 reps. This seems to be working very well. I should easily hit 235 for 3 on the incline next monday, and 200 for ~15 this saturday.
[/quote]

x2 on the Madcow…I liked Madcow’s intermediate program far more than WSFSB because I respond better to multiple sessions of benching per week. I feel like multiple ME sessions > one ME session because i have 2 days to try and up the weight instead of one…therefore, the more benching sessions I have, the chance of getting stronger becomes greater

on a side note goochadamg, how did you like Madcow’s advanced program? I debating whether I should run the advanced program or Stephan Korte’s 3x3 program…

[quote]youngblood52 wrote:
on a side note goochadamg, how did you like Madcow’s advanced program? I debating whether I should run the advanced program or Stephan Korte’s 3x3 program…[/quote]

I stalled out on running the linear, even when I waited until the 6th week to hit a PR; that’s when I did the advanced. It worked fantastic.

I was able to follow the spreadsheet he had and complet every single rep. The only thing I did differently is do 3 sets of 5 on the deadlifts on wednesday. I rested ~4-5 minutes doing the 5x5 squat workout by the 3rd and 4th week. It was very very difficult, but it worked exactly as advertised. I never worked so hard. Those 5x5’s with straight weight are brutal. Watching your strength go up hitting the 3x3’s was pretty awesome, too. :slight_smile: It was like magic. :wink:

[Edit: If I were to do the 5x5 advanced program again, I would probably drop the deadlifts on wednesday, or work up to a set of 3. I also would not do any heavy pressing. I would keep the volume lower, and work at lower intensities.]

I’ve considered running Korte’s 3x3, but I read that some people had problems: some actually lost strength in their bench press. I would do some research on that, if I were you, and if you run it be aware of how you feel your pressing strength is and be ready to modify the program.

I’m sure I will run Korte’s 3x3 eventually. I also want to run a sheiko program, and smolov.