T Nation

Critique Bench Routine



Newbie lifter working out by myself. My bench routine is done on the Hammer Strength machines. Bench, incline, and decline.

I start on one machine and do ten reps and the move to the next and do ten reps. Bench x10, incline x10, decline x10. Then back to the beginning doing 8 reps at each machine. Back to the beginning and doing reps to failure at each machine. I start at a different machine at each new workout.

Is this an effective routine? Recommendations?




what do you have against free weights?


Keeping into consideration that you are a self-proclaimed "newbie lifter," I will say that this routine is not effective at all. As a beginner, I would highly suggest you follow a 5x5 program or Starting Strength. This will mean that you are going to need to learn how to bench press for real (and not with Hammer Strength machines).

In recommending this, I have to also add that I hope you are doing things besides chest. You need to be squatting first and foremost, deadlifting comes in at a very close second, and upper body compound lifts all tie for third. Please don't devolve into a monkey (of the bench press variety).


Nothing against free weights. I prefer them in almost all exercises except bench as I am worried about working to failure and lying there with a bar across my chest.

Now that I think about it, and put it to words, benching appropriate weights should be safe. Just work up in weight slowly and know when to stop.

I try to keep a balanced workout but I must admit arms get the attention. Maybe after trolling on T-Nation for all these years I would learn something!

Thank you,



This is your training session for an upper body day? If so this routine is awful!!!!!!!!!!!! Given all the machine work your doing I'm assuming you're training in a gym and not in your garage in which case why are you worried about having the bar stuck on your chest. Ask someone for a spot. I've never experienced or seen an occasion where someone who asked another.

As a newbie you should be doing one bench exercise per training session, lots of tricep (Big triceps = big bench) and back work.


Try using this technique:

Tense the left sterncleidomastoid muscle to rotate your neck. After it turns about 45 degrees, relax it and tense the right one. Continue doing this while also working your levitori palpibrae superioris. When you see another guy, say "Hey man, could you give me a spot?"


Learn it, live it, love it:



I also work out on my own and generally use Dumbells for bench press exercises as you dont generally lift as much weight to get a similar work out and can always drop the weight in a hurry AWAY FROM YOUR FACE :wink:

You need to build yourself a program as working to failure all the time doesnt mean you are actually working smartly