View Full Version : Shooting up my bench

06-23-2004, 05:50 PM
Read just the bold stuff if you don't want to waste your time.

I'm trying to get my bench up to 300 lbs by August 14th, when college starts. I declined 265 today and I think that I can probably bench around 250 right now. This is a kind of small time frame to be adding 50 pounds especially considering I am not going in with a taper or anything, but I had a couple ideas that I thought may work. I'm training everything of course, but my size is much better than my strength and this is just a personal goal I'm after. I'm bulking. I'd like your advice on whether this will work.

I'm training my bench using Westside methods. My days are:

ME Bench (going to do board presses, max bench, board presses, close grip unless someone has a better idea)
Tricep Extensions (high sets, 7-10 reps usually)
Tricep Pushdowns (one or two sets)

DE Bench (8 sets of 3 at 155 normal bench, which may be slightly heavy but I don't know if I should change it now)
1 set of about 90% 1rm on normal bench
1 set within a rep of failure with 185 (I can do about 13 after this stuff)
Close grip
DB Incline
Tricep Pushdowns (usually one or two sets)

Anyway, my idea is to throw in two or three really serious sessions. At first I didn't buy the idea of Mentzer rest-pausing, but I am kind of interested in that.

I thought maybe one or two ME days I could just do 6 or 7 singles with 240 (higher as I get stronger) and short rest and then maybe with 230 or so and then maybe just throw in triceps and be done with the workout.

And then on maybe one or two DE days do what I understand is an Adam Archuleta workout where I do some speed bench ranging from 135 to 160 for 2-5 reps and after every 15 reps do a heavy single and then back again for maybe 4 total "sets" of this.

Would this work actually help? I don't feel like I'm really overtraining anything right now. I've got about 20 months experience lifting weights. My sticky point is a few inches off my chest. I'm tall (6'3) and relative to my height I've got pretty long arms.

And that completes my post where I give way too much info on something simple.

06-23-2004, 06:21 PM
If your current 1RM is 250 after almost 2 years of lifting, then you should set your sights on benching 275 (a 10% increase) by the end of August.

The program that you outlined is not one from WestSide Barbell.

Benching heavy will tax your chest, shoulders and triceps. So will 1 and 2 board presses. 3 Board presses (at your height) will mostly be working your triceps and should be viewed as a triceps exercise.

I would avoid military presses, as the combination of heavy benching and military pressing will most likely overtrain your shoulders.

High volume tricep extensions and tricep pushdowns will not build much strength (if any) in your bench. Medium heavy tricep extensions will (where you're maxing out around the 6-10th rep each set.)

Repping out with a weight that you can bench more than 10 times will probably not do much for strength building.

Train your full range bench once per week and train your triceps twice per week (once on the day that you're benching and then again 3-4 days later.)

Drop the dumbbell pressing work and train with a barbell.

A good basic benchpress program, for a lifter with a 1RM of 250 and without access to bands, chains, ect. would be the following:

Day 1 (Tuesday)
Flat Bench - Bar x 20, 135x12, 185x6, 205x3, 215x3x4 (add 5 pounds to this weight each week up thru the week you start college)
2 Board Press - 205x3x4 (add 5 pounds to this weight each week up thru the week that you start college)
3 Board Press - 225x3x4 (add 5 pounds to this weight each week up thru the week you start college)

Day 2 (Friday)
3 Board Press - 135x12, 185x6, 225x3x4 (add 5 pounds to this weight each week up thru the week that you start college)
5 Board Press - 225x3, 250x3, 275x3x4 (add 5 pounds to this weight each week up thru the week that you start college)
Skull Crushers - 4 sets of 8-12 reps where you don't rep to failure, but the last rep that you do should be very heavy

This is probably more than enough work volume wise (you're not bodybuilding, you're strength training) but you could add in 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps on the incline bench on Day 1 if you wanted to (at the end of your workout.)

06-23-2004, 06:29 PM
what kind of routine would you reccomend without the use of boards as well

06-24-2004, 03:07 AM
A substitute for board pressing would be rack lockouts. I don't like these as much because the safety pins take the weight when the bar touches down on them and, for some people, rack lockouts tend to be tough on the shoulders. But, rack lockouts work well for building your triceps and lockout strength. Set up a flat bench inside a power rack and then set the safety pins so that, when the bar is resting on them, it's either 1/2 way off your chest or 2/3 of the way off your chest (you'll be able to press more weight when the height is 2/3 and the work load will be much more focused on the triceps.) Another important note is that, with each rep, bring the bar to a complete stop on the pins. Also, keep your elbows tucked and your lats flared so that you're not trying to start the weight moving with (primarily) your shoulders.
Another substitute for board pressed is floor presses. This is benching, laying on the floor inside the power rack, and you'll be bringing down the bar until your triceps are pressed against the ground (the bar will be about halfway between your chest and lockout.) It will take you awhile to get comfortable with balancing the bar, but these are great for building triceps strength.
You can also perform close grip benchpresses, but those still involve a lot of chest and shoulders and it would be better to put more of the workload on to the triceps.
You can do the above training program and then just substitute rack lockouts and floor presses for board presses (same number of sets and reps.)

Another really basic, but effective, benchpress training routine would be to do the following:
Day 1
Flat Bench - Take 3-5 sets to warm up to your working weight. Then, perform 6 sets of 3 with 55% of your 1RM. Each week, add 5% of your 1RM to your working weight. When the training percentage gets up to 80%, drop the number of working sets to 4. When the training percentage gets to 90%, drop the number of working sets to 2. By the time you reach 100% of your previous 1RM, you'll be able to perform 1-2 sets of triples!
After Flat Bench, Train 5 sets of 5 with two of the following 3 exercises; Rack Lockouts, Floor Presses and Incline Bench. You shouldn't miss any reps, but it should be tough work getting the fifth rep of each set. Try and pick a weight that you can barely do five sets of five reps with and take a few minutes rest between each set.
Finish up with some cable crossovers and triceps pushdowns (a few sets of 12-20 reps each.) This is more for pumping up the muscles and as a post heavy work wind down than for strength building.
Day 2
Same training program except substitute the flat benching for close grip benching and warm up and then perform 4 sets of 6-10 reps (not repping to failure.)

My favorite assistance lifts for benching are board presses and benching with chains though. If at all possible, integrate these two lifts into your system. After that, I also really like light weight + bands speed work because speed benching with bands is great for developing your reaction time. Another great one is reverse band presses in the power rack (where the bands are tied to the top of the power rack and they're helping to pull the bar off of your chest but they don't help during the lockout phase because the tension has mostly gone out of them.)

If you've got two training partners, you can also do plyometric benching with a smith machine. Load up the Smith Machine with about 50% of your 1RM. Then, when you bench the weight, try and shove throw it up to the top of the machine (the weight should be heavy enough so that you can't hit the top of the machine rack.) Then, your partners will catch the weight (that's why you're using a smith machine), lower it back down to you and you'll repeat the process. The benefit of this training lift is that you'll be teaching your muscles to exert maximum force regardless of the weight being used. Learning to press with maximum force will make you a stronger bencher when you attempt maximum weights. I like performing 3-4 sets of triples with this exercise. This would be a lift that you'd only train like every other Day 2 training day and you'd perform them after your heavy assistance work.

06-24-2004, 04:22 PM
thanks for the assistance, I currently train by myself so was looking for a way to utilize this type of system, the advice is greatly appreciated.

06-28-2004, 11:13 AM
You betcha. I'm a powerlifting journalist, so it's no prob for me to speed type out a basic strength building program and I'm looking forward to reading about your upcoming PR. :strong:

06-28-2004, 11:37 AM
I think 30% is better for ballistic benching (the throws on the Smith machine).

Is that all of the upper body work you are planning on doing? Are you going to be doing any back work? The lats are a very important part of benching.


06-28-2004, 05:42 PM
In addition to the two training days posted, there should also be time in the week reserved for training the rest of the body. Two of the best "assistance lifts" a bencher can train are barbell squats and bent over rows.

06-28-2004, 10:56 PM
Oh, yeah, I was already doing back work. I train my back on squat days. Thanks for the program, Sean!

06-29-2004, 07:37 AM
Sean I sent you a PM

06-30-2004, 04:35 PM
The best way to contact me is to email me at



06-30-2004, 04:44 PM
Sean I sent you a PM


I just IM'd ya back.


06-30-2004, 09:34 PM