How Much Do You Bench?

Chest Building Program

Bench Press is the ultimate chest building exercise

Anyone who has worked out in a gym must have been asked this question at least once in his life.

It’s not the Squat or the Deadlift; Two exercises where you can lift considerably more weight.

It’s the Bench Press.

Why are people so enamored with the Bench Press?

The prevailing theory is that the chest has been identified as a symbol of strength and power.

It is the first body part you see because it is front and centre.

If you’re a strong Squatter, no one can see your muscular legs when they are covered up most of the time.

If you’re a strong Deadlifter, no one will notice your wide, thick and muscular back unless you wear tight clothes.

But no amount of clothing can hide a wide, thick and well-formed chest.

Even if you are wearing a suit and tie, the size of your chest will still be noticeable.

Thus, many people naturally gravitate toward the Bench Press.

Despite all the criticisms it has received, the Bench Press remains one of the most popular exercises in the gym.

The best way to gain size is to gain strength. Thus, if you want a bigger chest you must have a bigger Bench Press.

So how do you get your Bench Press numbers up?

First, you have to work your form and technique.

Trainers who criticise the Bench Press say it causes shoulder problems, leads to torn pectoral muscles and doesn’t result in complete development of the chest.

Trainers who experience these problems do so because of 3 factors:

1. Poor technique
2. Extra-large ego
3. Lack of variety

As popular as the Bench Press is, it is easily the most abused exercise.

Here are 5 common mistakes in Bench Press form and technique:

1. Flaring of elbows;
2. Shoulders rise off the bench;
3. Bringing the bar only halfway;
4. Unstable feet position or placing of feet on top of the bench;
5. Buttocks rising off the bench.

These are only 5, there are at least 10 more mistakes people make when Bench Pressing.

Just one of these mistakes can setback your chest development or result in injury.

So if you want a big Bench, perfect your technique first.

Chest Building Plan

Hit your pecs with a variety of chest exercise to trigger growth

Your Chest Building Program

This 8-week program will require you to Bench Press twice a week. Each workout must be spaced 3 days apart.

The first bench Press day is called the “Speed Day”.

You will focus on developing power while maintaining proper technique.

You will only use 50% of your 1-rep maximum in the Bench Press and the rest period between sets is only 1 minute. Press the weight as fast as you can.

The second Bench Press day is called the “Strength Day”.

You will progressively increase the amount of weight while decreasing the number of sets and reps every week. The rest period between sets is 3 to 5 minutes.

Week Speed: Sets: Reps: Strength: Sets: Reps:
1 50% 9 3 77.5% 6 6
2 50% 9 3 80% 5 5
3 50% 9 3 82.5% 5 5
4 50% 9 3 85% 4 4
5 50% 9 3 87.5% 4 4
6 50% 9 3 90% 3 3
7 50% 9 3 92.5% 2 2
8 50% 9 3 95% 2 1

These are your assistance exercises for your Speed Day. They will remain constant throughout the 8-week program.

1. Push Ups –     2 sets x 20 reps
2. Face Pulls –     2 sets x 10 reps  (Face Pulls are used as a Rotator Cuff strengthening exercise)
3. JM Press –     4 sets x 6 reps

For your Strength Day, you will include an Overload exercise after Bench Pressing:

Week # Overload: % of Max: Sets: Reps:
1 Reverse Grip 60% 4 8
2 Reverse Grip 65% 4 6
3 Floor Press 70% 4 6
4 Floor Press 72.5% 4 6
5 Floor Press 75% 4 4
6 Pin Press 80% 3 5
7 Pin Press 82.5% 3 3
8 Pin Press 85% 2 2

Then you will follow up with these assistance exercises:

1. Incline Dumbbell Press – 2 sets x 12-15 reps
2. Chest Dips – 2 sets x 10 reps

If you don’t know your maximum Bench Press, get the heaviest weight you can do 3 reps with then multiply by 3.

Then multiply the answer with 0.033. Add the figure back to the heaviest weight you can do for 3 reps.

For example:

Heaviest weight for 3 reps = 90 kilos
90 kilos x 3 = 270
270 x 0.033 = 8.9
90 kilos + 8.9 = 98.9 kilos

Your theoretical max in the Bench Press is 98.9 kilos. You can round this off to 95 kilos to be more conservative.

It is very important to hit every set and rep in the program.

On the 9th week, try to surpass your maximum Bench Press. You should be able to exceed it by 5 to 10 kilos.

But more than that, your chest should be looking bigger, more defined and shaped.