CT's 8 Week Bench Program Progress

I have completed the first week of CT’s Bench program as outlined in his article and felt pretty good. I just started week 2 today and my triceps are just shot. I couldn’t do even the same weight as last week and CT says I should be increasing each week. I think the heavy negatives on day 3 last week did them in or something. I have 12 years solid lifting experience, am eating plenty of food with totals of 300 pro/450 carb/100 fat and I am 6’1 210 pounds… what else? well I followed the training exactly and followed each session with contrast shower and ice massage. Coffee on day 1 but I don’t take Power Drive. But I know that isn’t the problem because neurologically I’m fine, there is just major damage to the triceps from all this heavy lifting. Finally, my question: What should I do: lay off any triceps/chest training until next week and try again, or keep going with the program as scheduled but use significantly lighter weights until the muscle feels recovered? I have gotten at least 9 hours quality sleep each night, I have a very low stress job as a local truck driver, am eating clean whole foods and taking dextrose/isolate/creatine/ala combo with vitamin C/E/multi/etc etc…
Again, I feel great overall, just acute soreness at the triceps and pec-delt tie in. Thanks for any advice on this, I really appreciate it.

Pete: Either PM me with your progress if you continue the program or continue to post it here. If things do not work out for you on this program, I have some suggestions that may help that we have been doing with our guys lately. Pretty cool stuff!

Thanks for the reply, Alexandr, I might as well turn this into a log for my progress… no mention of food will be made for simplicity sake…program based on current 325 max raw bench with pause on chest.

Monday Jan 10

Workout #1 @5:45AM
Preworkout: 1 Mug Coffee, icepak strategy used as well…
290X1, 290X1, 290X1, 290X1, 290X1, 290X1, 290X1, 290X1, 290X1, 295X1, 295X1, 295X1
I felt like a machine- could have gone up but stopped there…good stuff.
245X5, 245X5, 245X5, 245X5, 245X5 easy.

Workout #2 @ 2:00PM
Preworkout: icepak
BENCH PRESS: 90% 5X5 with 12s rest per rep… 290X5 (tough), 285X5, 285X5, 285X5, 285X5 wow, not as much power left in the 'ol triceps…
65’sX6, 65X6, 65X6, 75X4, 65X5 wanted to take it easy- I’m sore already and still have another session to go!

Workout #3: 6PM
BENCH PRESS: drop sets 3X4 reps
305X1, 290X1, 275X1, 260X1…did that three times , first rep is tough but after that its easy…
110X5, 110X5, 110X5, 110X5, 110X5

260X3, X3, X3, X3, X3, X3 felt good…
155X3 for 8 sets felt nice to use light weight for a change…
225X5 for 5 sets good strength…
bar+90X4 for 5 sets
90X12, 90X11, 90X10

BENCH PRESS negatives 100%
325X3, 325X5, 325X5, 325X4 felt light off pins…
335X2 whoa where’s my triceps strength? (oh yeah I just fried 'em to crisps with the negatives) 325X3, 325X3, 330X3
BACK SQUAT (don’t laugh)
225X6, 225X5, 225X5, 225X4, 225X4
90X6, 110X6, 120X6, 130X6, 140X6

End of first week notes: I felt good about the program and was looking forward to the next monday am workout with jave in my bloodstream doing 5 more pounds with ease…

BENCH PRESS 90% +5lbs
300X1, 300X1, 300X1 here I knew I would not get the next one with a pause, so…
300X1 touch and go, 295 touch and go, 295X1 barely with spotter… my triceps felt tight and sore from previous week despite lots of good food and sleep and self ice massage, contrast showers etc… I felt horrible, like there’s something wrong with me! Last week I felt like I could have gone on forever but now it felt like someone had just operated on my triceps- its a weird feeling… anyways continuing…
245X4 touch and go, 245X4TG, X4TG, X3TG, X3TG This sucks.

I decided to soldier on a bit lighter…
BENCH PRESS 5X5 12s rest between reps
275X3 oh god I hurt but I’ll go on…
225X5 easy but I hurt…
225X5 this is crap I quit. Give it a rest…
50’sX6 my triceps hurt…
60X6, 60X6, 60X6, 60X6
Here I decide to cut my losses, do a couple more movements and call it a day, skipping the 3rd session tonight.
275X5 for 5 sets
5 sets as many as possible

This is the part where I wrote the above post asking for help. I decided to take the rest of this week to recover, lay off chest and triceps and do some light pumping work and stretching to help speed recovery. My plan is to continue the workout next monday and try the 300X1 8 times. If it feels good during the warmups and for the singles, I’ll continue. If not I’ll rest some more or hike all the way to CT’s house, knock on his door and ask him in person what the hell I’m doing wrong here! Again, neurologically I know what it weels like to be burnt out, and I am not. I feel awesome overall, but I think my triceps aren’t used to this kind of heavy training 3X a week (was doing the Ed Coan bench program before) so I am hoping my tri’s will adapt soon and I will be able to continue the program as it is laid out. Otherwise I may try an every other week version of this…

WEDNESDAY JAN19: Recovery work
180X6 for 5 sets
5 sets 10 reps lots of stretching
150X6 for 5 sets
50X20reps, 40X20, 30X18 just to get the blood flowing…
75X12 for 3 sets

And that brings me to the present moment… joints are fine, triceps I feel may be ready for monday, they’re not sore now, not even that tight, its just when I get under the heavy weights… will update again monday…

Pete, thanks for continuing to post. I’m really intrigued by this program and am planning on starting it after I finish about 2 months of tier system work, so its good to have a preview. keep us updated.

Will do, KBC… I am still excited about the program, I am just now really focussing on my bench so that one day I can do 405 with a pause, and then enter a bench comp… I hope to get to 365 by the end of this program, take a rest, then continue with something else… I have personally never seen anyone lifetime drug free yada yada bench 4 plates strict, so I made that my 2 year goal… I’m going to eat and take a nap now:)

Sorry for the delay, had to hook up my expired internet connection again, so here goes…

Friday Jan 22: Recovery Work
Bench Press Technique work
95X12, X12, X12, 135X8, 135X6
Back Squat
185X6, 225X4, X4, X3
Single Leg Curl
140X6, X6, 100X8
Various Arm exercises, shoulder recovery work about 10 sets total…
(All figures do not include warmups)

Sunday, Jan23: Try heavy bench again…
Bench Press 30 second intervals
300X1, X1, X1, X1, X1, X1, Xfail
So I didn’t get the minimum 8 reps specified, but close…
Close Grip Decline Bench
245X5, X5, X5, X5, X5 felt good…

Monday, Jan 24 Do rest of “day 1” of plan in one workout…
Bench Press drop sets
310X1, 295X1, 280X1, 265X1 did it 3 times, so thats an improvement:)
Lying EZ Bar Triceps Extension
110X6, X6, X6, X6, X5 better than last time:)
Barbell Shrugs
275X5, X5, X5, X5, X5
decided to do just the bench and triceps movement and throw in shrugs since this is the only workout today…

Thursday, Jan 27 Day 2 Full Workout
Dead Stop Bench
265X3, X3, X3, X3, X3, X3 easy…
Iso-Relaxation Bench
160X3 for 8 sets
Lat Pulldown
225X5 for 5 sets
EZ Bar Curl
100X6 for 5 sets
Seated Cable Row to Neck
90X12 for 3 sets
Feel fully recovered and making improvements!

Saturday, Jan 29 Full Day 3 of Program
Bench lockouts in power rack 110degree
335X3, 345X3, 345X3, 365X3 easy stuff!
Bench Press negatives
335X3 for 4 sets decided to take it a bit easier with the negatives than the first week- not quite as slow and fewer reps, but more weight totally in control:)
Front Squat
135X6 for 5 sets
Lunges with dumbells
40’s X6, X6, X6, X6 whew! got me sweating…

So I feel better now and ready to do the full 3 workouts tomorrow, will update tomorrow…

Start of Week 4:
Monday, Jan 31
Workout “A” 6AM
Bench Press singles with 30sec rest
305X1 8 times… excellent, right on track!
Close Grip Bench Decline
245X6, X6, X6, X5, X5 Good improvement…

Workout “B” 12:15PM
Bench 5X5 15sec interval
295X5, X5, X5, X5, X4 Beter than expected… Had to take off…

Workout “C” 3PM
Seated DB Shoulder Press
65X6 for 5 sets
Skull Crushers
100+bar X5, X4, X5, X4, X4

Thurs Feb 2
Dead Stop Bench
270X3 for 6 sets easy…
Iso- Relax Bench
165X3 for 8 sets good for practicing technique…
Lat Pulls Wide
225X6 for 5 sets good improvement
EZ Bar biceps curl
110X5 for 5 sets
Seated cable row 2 neck
135X10, 105X12, 105X12

so I am right on track and feeling good… as a side note, today at the gym I saw this gal on the bench and didn’t really notice her until I saw her loading the bench press up with 45’s on each side and I couldn’t believe it… then I looked more closely and saw she was BUILT! But in a really good way, like fitness model hard… I then watched her crank out 7 perfectly controlled slow reps… awesome inspiration… especially for the poor guy on the bench beside her doing quarters a side- man, I wonder how he felt- ha!

Friday, Feb 4
Bench press lockouts from 110 degrees elbow bend in power rack:
365X3, 385X3, 405X3 wow yeah babee…
Bench press negatives:
340X2 (bad spotter, no one around…
Squats, Lunges, ham curls

Beginning of Week 5:
Monday, feb 7
Workout “A” 7AM
Bench Press 30 sec rest reps
310X1 8 times YEAH, up 20 pounds from start of program:)

Session “B” 2:30PM
Bench 5X5 15 sec rest each rep
310X5, X5, X5, X4, X5 awesome…
Close grip decline bench
250X6, X5, X5, X5, X5 good improvement
DB Shoulder Press Seated
70’s X6, X6, X5, X5, X5
BB Shrugs
315X5, X5, X5, X5, 135X25
I did 2 sessions instead of 3 due to my work/life situation- as long as my strength continues to improve 5 pounds per week on the bench then I’m a happy camper!

Wednesday, Feb 9
Dead Stop Bench: 275X3 for 6 sets
Speed Bench: 170X3 for 8 sets
Lat Pulldowns Wide: 240X5 for 5 sets
EZ Bar Biceps Curl: 110X6 for 5 sets
Seated Cable Row 2 Neck: 120X8,X8,105X9

So everything is on track for a 40 pound gain on my bench in 8 weeks! I have started epsom salt baths for 20 minutes after my monday sessions and it really helps me recover…

Friday, Feb 11
Power Rack Bench Lockouts 120 degree
worked up to 405X2, 385X3, 385X3,385X3
I think I could have pushed 405 for a couple triples if I had warmed up more thoroughly…
Bench Negatives 100% X 4 sets
345X2, 345X3

No good spotters around! first time the guy didn’t help enough, the second set I got a guy to spot me on each side and thats just messed up… GOD I WISH I HAD A TRAINING PARTNER!!! anyone out there in Burnaby, BC Canada???

Back Squat
185X6, 225X6, 225X6, 225X6
DB Lunges (need to work on glutes as a priority) 50’sX6, 55’sX6, 55’sX4
Ham Curls 110X6, 170X6

Monday, Feb 14
Workout “A”
Bench 30 sec interval singles
315X1 8 times baby, feel strong!
Decline Close Grip Bench
255X5 for 5 sets all pauses- stronger!

skipped other two workouts for Valentine’s…

Tuesday, Feb 15
Workout “B”
Bench drop sets 3 sets of 4 singles
330X1, 315X1, 300X1, 285X1 for three sets YES! 330 went up like nothing! that’s a 5 pound gain already, feel like I could do 345-350…
DB Seated shoulder press
75’sX5,X5,X5,X6,X5 good increase…

right on track…

Wed Feb 16
Dead stop Bench 6X3 reps
285X3 for 6 sets
Speed Bench 8X3 reps
185X3 for 8 sets
Lat Pulldowns 5X4-6 reps
255X5 for 5 sets
Barbell Underhand Rows
185X5, 205X5, switch to low back friendly exercise…
Machine rows
190X5, 220X5, 220X5
Rope Seated High Cable Rows
105X11, 105X10, 105X10

Friday feb18
Bench Lockouts 120 degree
385X3, 405X3, 385X3, 385X3
Bench Negatives 100%1RM
355X3, X3, X3
Dumbell Lunges
55’sX6 for 5 sets
Hamstring Curls
155X6 for 5 sets
BB Shrugs
275X5 for 5 sets
switching things up a little…

Monday feb 20 Workout ‘A’
Bench Press 8X1 30s rest
320X1 8 times:) felt great…
Close Grip Decline Bench
265X5 for 5 sets awesome 10 pound gain

Workout ‘B’
Bench Drop sets 3X4 reps 95/90/85/80%
Set 1: 335X1, 320X1, 300X1, 285X1
Set 2: 340X1, 320X1, 300X1, 285X1
Set 3: 345X1, 325X1, 305X1, 290X1
Wow! all easy reps, pause on chest I felt like I could have done 355 or 360!
This program ROCKS!
Seated DB Shoulder Perss 5X4-6 reps
80’sX6 for 5 sets
Skull Crushers 5X4-6 reps
bar+100 X 6 for 5 sets
Hammer Strength Ab Crunch
70X10, X10, X10, X8, X6

I feel stronger than I’ve ever been thanks to this program, lots of good food, lots of rest, on track for 365 by the end of the program:) Then maintenance for awhile and start growing again…

[quote]Alexandar wrote:
Pete: Either PM me with your progress if you continue the program or continue to post it here. If things do not work out for you on this program, I have some suggestions that may help that we have been doing with our guys lately. Pretty cool stuff![/quote]

can you elaborate a bit?

Interesting log.

Now you’re back on track what do you put down your initial failure to recover to?

Perhaps the program is so different to the volume you were doing before your body just needed a few weeks to adapt?

I think my initial “failure” was due to the sudden increase in volume and weight in the bench press. I just wasn’t used to benching heavy 3 times a week, heck 5 times if u include day 1… I think anyone who tries this program should listen to their body like I did and not try to “push thru the pain.” I took it easy the second week to recover and my body bounced back very nicely. Also, FYI I was about 8 weeks into a different bench program when I started this one- it involved benching once a week with low volume. I f you type in “Ed Coan Bench Routine” on google you’ll see the site with the article there… it worked for me somewhat- I went from a 305 max to 325 in 8 weeks, but CT’s program seems to work better for obvious reasons (more focus on the bench) I can’t wait to bench 365! Also I just read Mike RObertson’s Article and the picture of the guy arching is freaky- I wonder if the pic is untouched???
Take care,

that freaky arch is pretty normal in powerlifting circles, it’s thereal deal.

[quote]Peteman wrote: Also I just read Mike RObertson’s Article and the picture of the guy arching is freaky- I wonder if the pic is untouched???
Take care,


Are you meaning the little picture of the person in blue with the phenominal arch?

If so, She may not like being called a guy


Thanks for the info.

Given that you had just added 20 pounds in 8 weeks you look set for some great overall gains. I like the way you have tried to stick with the program despite early difficulties.

Just so I have this straight, you are skipping one of the recommended workouts (Mini-Session #2 mostly) on the “High Stress” day, correct?

How did you determine which Mini-Session to skip and why?

Just curious as to how you adapted the program for yourself.


Well, I’m a “day by day” kinda guy in that I am flexible with my routines so I fit the gym in when I can on day one. I decided I just didn’t need to do all three workouts on day one. I think one week I did two workouts on monday then made up for the third one on tuesday… I make sure I do two of the monday bench press movements and all of the assistance triceps and shoulder work every week. I do the “workout A” bench every week because it is my barometer for progress. I now prefer to do the 3 drop sets for bench as well in “Workout C” because I like benching 95% max for the first rep. I think it is more beneficial for me than benching 90% for 5X5 because I get to acclimate myself to a heavier weight. I have just taken CT’s program and modified it to my liking, and it seems to work!
As for the lady benching, my bad… I have only been to 2 powerlifting meets before and I just don’t remember seeing an arch like that. She looks like her ROM would be about 2 or 3 inches:) I’ll have to try that technique with the feet out freaky wide like that- looks like it could add another 10 percent to my bench!

Friday, Feb 25
Bench Lockouts in Power Rack 4X3
385X3, 405X3, 405X3, 415X3PR
DB Lunges 5X4-6
55X5, 55X6, 60X5, 60X5, 60X6
Ham Curls 5X4-6
155X5, 170X6, 170X6, 170X6, 170X6
Bench Negatives 100%
365X3, 365X3, 365X3 Finally found a good spotter in the gym on a Friday:)

Well I left negatives for last because I was hoping someone would show up who could spot me properly and sure enough, someone did thank God… In case anyone reading this is getting confused reading all this and trying to make heads or tales out of it I will write a summary of all my gains including bodyweight etc at the end of next week (week 8) then the following monday or tuesday I will go for broke and see what my new max is…
Take Care,

Monday, Feb 28
Workout “A” 5:45AM
Bench 8X1 30sec rest
325X1 for 8 reps
Close Grip Decline Bench
275X5 for 5 sets easy!

Workout “B” 5PM
Bench drop sets 3X4
350X1, 330X1, 315X1, 295X1 for 3 sets
*350 is my previous all time best touch and go, but I was 225 pounds. Now I’m 215 and doing it with a pause easily!
Seated DB shoulder press
85X5 for 5 sets
Triceps skull crushers
105X5, 105X5, 105X4 triceps feel too stressed, so…
Triceps pushdowns 100X8, 50X30