T Nation

Critique 3 Day Bench 'Specialist' Routine


Hi. I put bench 'specialist' in commas as I'm not strong enough to be a specialist yet, but I'm restricted to bench only competing with a disability!

I'm looking to switch down to 3 days a week to give better recovery, and more time to work on mobility. I was just hoping you could spot any obvious things wrong with my programming.

Day one will be heavy bench day. It's basically a 531 for Powerlifting day.
Bench 531 sets and reps. (Chins between sets)
1 - 3 joker sets on 3 and 531 weeks.
5sets 3 - 5 reps bench assistance - boring but strong percentages
5 sets 8 - 12 reps lat work.
2 sets 8 - 12 reps triceps.

Day two -
Box squat 531 sets and reps.
Rack pull 3 sets 6 - 10 reps
Unilateral quad move 3 sets 8 - 12 reps
Lighter posterior chain move 2 sets 8 - 12 reps
Calf move 2 sets 8 - 12 reps.

Day three -
Bench, speed sets 8 sets 3 reps
Accessory bench 2 sets 6 - 10 reps
Triceps 2 sets 8 - 12 reps
Row/ lat work 4 sets 6 - 10 reps (supersets with above 2 exercises)
Shoulder complex 2 sets 8 - 12 reps
Biceps 2 sets 8 - 12 reps.

The main question I have is whether I could or should put a few sets of bench into day two to give more bench frequency? I'm lifting around 1.5 x bodyweight at the minute, so maybe more frequency would help? Or would it be over training that one move? I was thinking of adding maybe 3 sets of floor press or incline bench or something that day.

I'll do some ab work on two of those days too. Just maybe 2 or 3 sets of two moves.


Why not pick a program that has you benching three times a week? If that's what you want to specialize in, you can and most likely should bench thrice weekly.


Thanks for your reply!

Ya, that's definitely something I should look into. But I just can't find one that fits my individual requirements. The ones I've found are generally full body templates. I can afford to strip back the lower body work, and run some additional upper body assistance. I also do quite well off a higher volume of lat work as I have a previous shoulder injury that basically came about from too much pressing, not enough pulling, along with poor mobility. I try now to at the very least match my pressing with pulling, if not aim for more pulling than pressing. I do band pull aparts and other such moves also, I generally throw them in during rest periods on lower body day for example.

A speed rep dynamic day has been working real well for me too. It's brought on my bench a good bit. That's why I have this sort of 531/ Westside hybrid thing going on. I know messing with templates is a big no no, but I've sort of arrived at this template through constant evolution.

Is there a good program that you think would meet my requirements? I've thought about Texas Method and Madcow, but I don't think they are a perfect fit for me. I don't need a big emphasis on lower body work as I don't need big numbers on it. I can't do the competition standard squat and deadlift anyway. That's why I was thinking of tacking on the third day of benching on to the leg day. But that's a bit random though isn't it? A leg day with a few isolated sets of bench thrown in. Almost like an afterthought.


I trained 6 times a week in the past and generally I only did one lower body movement per lower body training session albeit I did a lot of sets. That left a ton of space for upper body movements of my choice. You can do something like lower body movement + bench variation + assistance three times a week and just pick the lower body movement and assistance work for your individual needs.

Johnnie Candito's program has you benching three times a week but it unfortunately has two lower body days totaling 5 days of training.


There is a Sheiko bench specialization program out there, look around and you might find it. For lower body stuff you can just do a couple exercises at the end of each workout or add a fourth day.


Looks very reasonable. Try it for a bit and see how it goes, and if you need add the third bench day, but I don't think you'd need it


Thanks everyone. I think what I'll do is run my template as a base program, then when I'm 8 - 12 weeks out from a meet, maybe add some bench work to day two. Then I'll consider some form of peaking cycle for the last 4 weeks. Maybe Smolev Jr. I looked at the Sheiko programmes. They did look great, but from my understanding of them, I'm not at the standard to consider using them yet. Maybe if I hit x2 bodyweight or above they might be something to come back to.


Are you talking about benching raw or equipped? A 2x bodyweight raw bench is pretty impressive.


It's raw. I'm at 1.5 x bw now. But I'm a small guy! 65kg give or take a little.