T Nation

Best Raw Bench Program


I want to kick start my bench program and cant decide which program / style to use.

Any thoughts on the best program you have done to improve your raw bench press?

Also any tips on what to do different for raw benchers ?more shoulder and chest?



I would recommend a westside program. There are a lot of articles here from Dave Tate on pressing. My raw bench has gone up 50 Lbs in 14 weeks using the training technique and tips from the westside program. Also you can go to www.elitefts.com and look through the articles there. I hope that helps.



If your going to do westside raw then make sure you read Wendler's recent articles on raw training...

also not a lot of need for all the lockout work

the general principles though are excellent attack your strength, do use ME DE and RE work... the westside template puts it all together really well...

You will likely need different exercise selection and possibly more overhead work than most equiped people who train westside style do though


Bench Press work up to 5RM (2 wks)
2 Board Press 3RM (2 wks)
Bench Press 3RM (2 wks)
2 Board Press 1RM (2 wks)
Bench Press 1RM (2 wks)

and then for the following tricep exercise:

Close Grip Presses 3RM (3 wks)
3 Board Press 3RM(3 wks)

and on DE day:

Military Press 5x8 (2 wks)
Speed Bench 55% of 1RM 8x3 (1 week)
Dumbell Bench Press 5x8 (2 wks)
Speed Bench 55% of 1Rm 8x3 (1 week)

Adjust rep/set structure based on how your joints feel, I hope this helps a bit.

Good luck.


thanks jlesk68
my sticking point seems to be about 3 inches off the chest- would that require any different exercises from the ones you suggested?


thanks for everones input.
so far the suggestions have been of the westside style. has anyone tried any isometric work like CT suggests?
or heavy ecentric work?


I use the Westside template and it works great. That's for adding strength and size.

If you're new to training, I wouldn't sweat your sticking point too much. Just hammer your tris, lats, and shoulders in addition to speed work and max effort days and you'll have a strong bench.


how about doing a
8 weeks to a record bench program. from CT?


I tried it but couldnt handle to volume!- it blew me away ( i even dropped it down by about 20%) i didnt keep up with his recovery recommations but thought the volume reduction would make up for it. my loads were droping in the lifts after the first 3 weeks.
maybe that is to be expected?but it felt just too much. i like to feeling of recovering enought so each workout i at least feel as strong if not stronger than the last workout


Get stronger.


wow great idea!
thanks for the input


The workout that I suggested is very good for raw benching, it'll take care of the sticking point, also the speed work will help, if you're a slow bencher then modify DE day to speed bench every other week instead, always listen to your body.


OK sounds good.thanks for your help.
re back and lat training just add to each ME with same reps / sets?


You are welcome.


Work your lats with high volume, total 60 reps per workout, 4x15, 6x10. Also work your upper back/traps 40 reps, 4x10 , 3x15. Change the exercise or rep/set structure when you feel that the exercise is getting easier, about every 3 weeks or so.

With this whole program, if you're start feeling beat up take a workout off.


What do you bench now and at what bodyweight?


I would do speed work every week and do the dumbell and military pressing after the speed work. There is also a good article for raw benching on readthecore.com by Matt Reynolds, it might be in last months issue, but its on there.


Thanks a lot for the post, I'm interested in doing this when I change programs in January. But could you elaborate a little more for those of us with only some knowledge of Westside? The first bit (bench and board press) is ME day, to be done once a week? With no assistance exercises, or with the tricep stuff listed? And DE day has more than just the 5 or 8 sets listed right?


I highly reccomend Waterbury's programs. The first routine I did using his 10X3 method which jumped my bench from 315 to 375lbs with in 4weeks. Recently I've done Waterbury's quatro dynamo which helped be go from 405 to ~445lbs on bench. Doing these programs increased all of my lifts as well not just my bench.

Like Waterbury has said, "something about 10x3 hits a sweet spot."


just come off a holiday so its down a little but around 250 at bodyweight of 185. i know its crap so thats why i want to increase it!