T Nation

Max Effort or Heavy Triples


I am currently focusing on my bench press and aiming for 405 raw in the middle of June. My basic starting plan was to build up my weight for heavy triples (4 x 3 done in a 10 minue time frame) trying to add 5 pounds a week. I lift raw and have found that I have to use primarily raw weight much of the time or I lose strength off the chest.

Today, I decided to use choked #5 bands (large?) because even though I feel I need the starting power, I still get stuck in the tricep zone. I am doing lots of tricep work-including some closegrip lockouts on a different day than my main bench day.

I got 2 triples at 275 with the choked large bands, and the 275 was just flying off the chest so I got the urge to go for a max. I did 295, 305 and 315 at which point I was right at the edge of having my butt come off the bench. This was with a maximum width grip. I am not sure how this translates to a current max, but I did 400 trying on a single ply shirt a couple of months ago, and I would guess it was about 400-405 at the top, maybe 320-325 at the bottom.

Anyway, my question is, how do you all feel that a real max effort single like this compares to doing 4 x 3 at maybe 80-85% I am starting to feel that I can make up the extra volume on my big assistance exercises-I actually have 4 real special assistance exercises and if I do hit close to 400 I will probably post them with pictures.

I don't do lighter speed work as my assistance exercises separately hit the shoulders and triceps plyometrically. I don't want to sound like a know-it-all, I just want to know how you all feel that going to a max single on a bench variation compares to progressing slowing with multiple triples. Thanks!



I use both heavy triples and the max effirt singles. On monday i alternate between heavy triples and speed work each week. Here is what i do
Week 1
Pick on exercise and work up to a max 3
-floor press
-decline bench
-pause bench press
-incline press

shirted bench off board- heavy triples

Week 2
speed bench- 6x3
strict over head presses- 3x5

regular max effort exercises to a heavy single
-reverse band press, 2 or 3 board, or fat bar bench

I really feel the paused benches and floor press help me off my chest. And then thursday is geared towards top end and shirt benching. Even if you are not using a shirt i think this would still work great for raw bench. One day for low end strength and speed, and one day for top end strength.


Thanks for the explanation. That's pretty similar to how my training has evolved over time. Have you tried using bands and doubled bands?


I always use doubled mini's for speed work but i haven't done it for max effort.


What's ur max? Cause I'm trying to break 400lbs raw by December and my current max is 335lbs. Want to gauge my progress through you.


I'm not positive. I did 355 with a real long pause (maybe 3 sec.) last time I maxed and when I did that, I had just broken through a rep-set barrier of 295 x 5 x 3 in 10 minutes.

It took me 3-4 workouts with 295 to get all 5 sets of 3 so I think the 5 x 3 is a pretty good gauge. I got 295 x 4 x 3 2 weeks ago very easily (I have cut down to 4 sets because I think that's all I need at my current strength level). I had a very slight twinge in the bicep using doubled bands and so I dropped to 275 for higher reps last week and got 275 x 3 x 8, but I am sure I am at 310-320 for 4 x 3 now and considering I probably had 10 pounds more for the 355, I'd estimate about 380.

I will probably go for a max triple next week and then drop down to 4 x 2 for 3-4 weeks. I know that estimating like this is a little lame, but I feel sure I could take out 335 for a triple or 315 for 5 right now.


I like doing max singles. But after a lot of soul-searching, I have come to the conlusion that my bench training progresses more with reps(3-6 reps for the most part). The same with squats and deads, although I mostly use triples on these except for the occasional down set of 5 or 6. Kind of a shame, 'cos I 'd rather go heavy all the time.