T Nation

Bench Strength Tips

What was the best program you have used to increase your flat bench poundages? I seem to get my best strength gains from slow negatives but I also read that it isnt good to do these all the time. My bench press has always progressed WAY slower than any of my other lifts. So I just wanyed some feedback so I can come up with a program to try. I weigh 185 and want to bench 3 plates dammit!! The only time I make any real bench gains is when I do a cycle but again the gain is way less than my other lifts.

I’m certainly no expert, but when I want to increase my bench I do an exorbitantly high amount of sets of 1-4 reps (about 10-20 sets, depending on how I feel). It’s really not for pump, though, if you care about that. I gain about 2.5-5 lbs on my singles max every time I do this. Try it out for about 3-4 weeks, but make sure not to do it for too long, as it puts a high strain on the nervous system.

Read Dave Tate’s Articles. Westside is the king of powerlifting. They currently train the king of all benchers, George Halbert who did 683 at 198. Basicly you gotta up your tricep strenght. If you think you got strong triceps then get them stronger, I cannot emphasize that enough. Read Charles Poliquin’s top ten Tricep Exercises (they are truly the top ten). Lat Strenght is also an important issue too. Train lats on the same plane as your bench, ie if you bench flat then do barbell rows, if you overhead press than it is chins.

Dave Tate’s Bench Press 600 Pounds.
Next time, just do a search. Took about three seconds.

theres lots of ways to increae that bench. first of all jesses idea is a very good one another one that i would start with as a basic is an ed coan 12 week program. youll see good strength gains in all lifts. and then after that start really benching get the form down dave tates article is radicle read that with friend try it out and crituque each others form. then when you find get some form try to fnd the sticking point or your weakness and then train that. and as a westside lifter myself i say tricep tricep and more triceps!
bt ont listen to the tmag number 4 polquins top 10 bcause alot of powerlifters do heavy pulley pushdowns with small bands for girth and stability.

Two ideas for you… First, if you want to bench a lot of weight, you’re going to need to “rehearse” the movement a lot. As Leo suggested, that means lots of sets and reps with heavy weights. I would couple that with some “dynamic effort” training a la Westside Barbell. Second, you might want to take a look structurally at your frame and see where your weaknesses are. I would guess of the top of my head that your triceps are holding you back. Most don’t realize how limiting being weak in this area is to your bench. I may be completely wrong, but it certainly won’t hurt to try a Westside program with close-grips as the max effort lift and added tricep and delt work for the assistor exercises.

The old Shawn Phillips MM2K bench workout has always done wonders for me!

yeah bench a sparsley 3 plates by shawn phillips and while your benching big weights you need a good hairpeice.

Trying benching 4-5 times a week.

Hey Genetic! What’s with the attitude? He asked for people’s PERSONAL experiences with different programs. It has nothing to do with searches. He didn’t ask how Dave Tate says to bench. Again, he wanted to hear feedback on what programs people are using and how well they are working.

Thanks NaturalMan : I WAS asking about personal programs because I am not a powerlifter and dont want to work on my max single. I want to be repping 315 and wanted to see what some of you have experienced. 4-5 chect workouts times a week??? I dont think my chest could recover. I was thinking of trying lots of sets of 2-4 reps with 4/5 minute rest intervals. Or trying the Shawn Phillips program. Anyone else have good results from the old MM2K program??

Actually I had great results from the Shawn Philips workout the first time I did it. I made about a 35-40 lb gain. I tried doing it again about a year later and did not have nearly the same results. One reason I think it worked so well is it was a different way of lifting than the traditional way I was lifting at the time.

Bench 4-5 times a week. Use a either a 5,4,3,2,1 set progression or 3,2,1,3,2,1 Progression. Never go to failure! Use 90% of whatever weight you could have used as your max for that set of reps. Stay with the same weight for those 4 workouts and just work on driving that bar up faster each workout, think speed. Next week try to add up to 5.lbs to the bar and repeat like last week. You could also set aside two of the days per week to do static-dynamic bench press. Don’t do the Negative, start from the chest and try to explode the bar from it’s resting place (your chest) upwards. Great for overcoming a weak spot in the bottom ROM in the bench press. Of course have a spotter or at least do it in the power rack. Oh yeah, this is obviously a bench specialization type program, so you may need to watch the volume on other chest movements and definitely never take them to failure. Take up to 3 minutes rest between sets. Think speed even though the bar may be moving slow.

I increased my 1rm incline bench by about 15lbs in the last three weeks. My workout happened to have alot of forearm work added. I had been doing tons of pullups and it really helped my forearms alot, plus not letting myself use wraps durring deadlift. I had read that squeezing the bar really hard helped, but It never worked, until my most recent program.

If you are 185, I’m guessing you don’t have a real big frame(like me). I was going to give up benching years ago, because I wasn’t getting anything out of it. A powerlifter suggested I narrow my grip. I did. My strength shot up, and I started getting real good pumps.
I also find negatives every now and then to be effective. I do mine after I finish my bench sets. Anyway, you may want to try a narrow grip.

if you ask any top powerlifte they sure as hell dont bench 4-5 times a week thats a sue ticket to overtraining and injury no matter how ya cycle it. you should only bench 2 days a week with at least 3 days inbetween. its funny how ntural man trains like hes on juice.

Actually grant there are many Pros doing even more frequency and many more lifts than what I suggested. Jason Burnell’s website (the forum) has been discussing their experiences with training in the manner that Russian powerlifters train under the coaching of Boris Sheiko. Pavel Tsatsouline who cannot afford to have sore SWAT members and special forces guys, has them train the same lifts 3-5 times a week, preferbably in short multiple daily sessions.

can someone please elaborate on this shawn phillips routine i have been hearing about. i would like to try it. thanks.

actually, grant warren, overtraining is specific to one’s work capacity. If one has a crappy work capacity then they overtrain easily and vice versa. A lot of the guys at West side work out many times a week, like louie does something like 14 or 18 times.

2xs a week workouts. Squat/Bench/Pull up or Rows. First bench workout done with explosive reps, second with slow, controlled reps with full second pause on chest. I squatted first in the workout, but not to failure. I found that handling heavy weights in the squat allowed me to handle the comparatively “light” bench weights easier than if i walked in and benched first.