I posted this in response to another thread, but upon further thought, I realized this deserved its own thread as there are probably some reading this site who don't know how to get started, but are interested in getting strong.
The quoted section is right here:
Re: board presses, Jeez - O - Man, how come you guys are not doing these? Get some two by fours, or two by sixes and either nail, screw, glue, or tape them together and get to board pressing. Board presses are very important to building a big bench and strong triceps, plus they have the added benefit of protecting your pecs so you don't tear them.
Do board presses to either a one, two, three, four or 5 board, these are just two by's sandwiched together, nothing fancy or difficult about it.
Switch the boards you are pressing to often, and you will find you can max to a different board every week and get stronger every single time you go into the gym without ever burning out. Try the following:
Max out on the bench. Write that number down. Next week, max again. Hopefully you beat the old number by at least 5 lbs. Write that number down.
Week 3, max out to a 2 board, write that number down. Week 4 max out to the 2 board again. Week 4's number should be at least 5 to 10 lbs bigger than week 3's number.
Week 5, max out to a 3 board, write it down, then max again the next week, again trying to beat the previous week's number by at least 5 to 10 lbs.
Week 7, max out to a 5 board, write down this number, do the same routine the next week, trying to beat week 7's number by 5 to 10 lbs.
THEN . . . .
Max out again on the flat bench, and come back here and report what you have found. My guess is almost everyone on this board will find that when they max out after this 8 week cycle, they will find that they have increased their bench max by anywhere from 10-30 lbs.
How to work up? You ask, here it is. Warm up with 2 or 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps with a light weight, then begin doing triples with ever increasing weight till it gets difficult to complete the triples. Then drop to singles, and keep increasing the weight till you cannot go any heavier, and the last weight you could successfully lift was your max.
I challenge you to do the above and see if your bench press does not come up significantly.
Now note this is not the full workout necessary, as there are accessory movements to be done, working back muscles, shoulders and triceps, which must be done, and you should hit all those areas hard as well, focussing on building up muscles in those supporting areas, but the above is a solid plan, and one that will serve most reading this board very well.
You can change up the exercises any way you like, substituting floor presses for one of the listed board presses, for example, or doing inclines or declines instead of a board press some of the time, which is another good idea. But the basic template I listed above will work.
That routine, and variations of it served me very well for my first 2 years in powerlifting, where I put on about 150 lbs on my contest bench in exactly 2 years.
Hope this helps.