Bench Press Countdown Workout
This is a bench press workout that my training partner and I employed prior to the 2008 British Bench Press Championship where I benched 225kg raw. This was my biggest ever raw benchand I proved to myself that my training principles worked.
The workout consists of four workouts in a ten day period. The individual sessions alternate as follows:
- Heavybench press and assistance.
- Heavy squat and speed deadlift.
- Speed bench press and assistance.
- Speed squat and heavy deadlift.
The 10 day cycle is a mini cycle of workouts within a larger cycle that runs for 30 days and this larger cycle is part of an even larger cycle that runs for 90 days. Once in the 30 day period a single 1 rep maximum press was attempted to calculate progress. Each 30 day cycle concentrates on a specific bench assistance piece of equipment e.g bands or chains. Prior to starting this training schedule my training partner and I both benched our 1 rep max so we could calculate weight percentages. My 1 rep maximum was 195kg. We trained three days a week on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Shoulders were trained hard and heavy on the speed day.
The workouts are as follows:
- Under the column weight I have written the % of my 1 rep max for the flat benchonly. This figure is approximate and is rounded up to the nearest 5 or 10 kilogram jump.
- On the days not mentioned e.g. the Wednesday of the first 10 day cycle I am training squat and deadlift.
- All close grip presses are lowered to a 3 board height.
- On heavy bench day I always do close grip press as well.
- Warm up properly prior to exercise including warming up on the specific exercise.
- All workouts are done using wrist wraps only.
First 30 Day Cycle
Monday Flat Bench Press 5 sets 5 reps @ 160kg (80%) Friday Speed Bench Press 8 sets 3 reps @ 100kg (50%) Wednesday Flat Bench Press 8 sets 3 reps @ 175kg (90%) Monday Speed Bench Press 12 sets 2 reps @ 100kg (50%) Friday Flat Bench Press 3 sets 1rep @ 200kg MAX. Wednesday Speed Bench Press 12 sets 2 reps @ 100kg (50%)
On the heavy bench training day I complete 2 chest assistance exercises and 3 tricep assistance exercises. The exercises are from the following lists but the list isn’t exhaustive and other exercises can be added:
Bench Assistance Incline Press Decline Press Flat, Incline, Decline Flyes Pec Dec Flye Floor Press
Tricep Assistance Close Grip Press Skull Crushers / Kettlebell / Barbell Tricep Pressdown Dips Rack Lockouts
This cycle is now repeated for the second 30 day cycle only now instead of just plainpressing I introduced BANDS. I used medium blue woody bands which add approximately 20kg onto the bar weight at the top of the movement meaning an ’empty’ bar now weighed 40kg. My 1 rep max had now increased to 200kg so all calculations now have to be worked out on this new weight, however, due to the introduction of the bands I actually reduced the bar weight by 10kg! Bands were used for both speed and heavy days.
At the end of the second 30 day cycle we again tested our 1 rep max bench in order to calculate what bar weight we needed for our third and final cycle. My 1 rep max had now increased to 205kg and I was feeling very strong and happy I had broken the 200kg barrier.
The third cycle repeated the previous two only instead of bands we introduced CHAINS. To each side of the bar I added 17.5kg in chain weight meaning an ’empty’ bar now weighted 55kg. My 1 rep max had now increased to 205kg so I had to recalculate my workout percentages to take this into account. Chains were used for both speed and heavy days.
Finally, at the end of this cycle I tested my 1 rep max again and managed to bench 210kg. The most I had ever managed without wearing a specialist equipment. I was obviously delighted with the result and both my training partner and I had never felt stronger. I now rested fully for 2 weeks, not training even once during this period. Then on the Saturday I competed in the British Championship and benched 225kg which surprised me as this was 15kg over my previous best which shows how important rest and nutrition is within a training routine.
Conclusion Bands and chains look confusing and are often difficult to control but persistence can offer great gains in return. Explosive power off the chest is greatly increased driving you through previous sticking points. Training only ‘heavy’ once every 10 days allowed the muscles to completely recover and I felt fresh for every workout. Speed training increased the explosive power even more and allowed me to bench press quicker even on the heavy days.
For more information on bench pressing, bench press tips, bench press videos and bench press workouts please visit my website at www.increasebenchpressnow.com.