Bench Press Countdown Workout
This is a bench press workout my training partner and I used prior to the 2008 British Bench Press Championships where I lifted 225kg raw. This was my biggest raw bench ever and I proved to myself that my training principles worked.
The training consists of four workouts in a ten day period. Individual sessions alternate as follows:
- Heavy bench press and assist.
- Heavy squats and speed deadlifts.
- Speed and assist bench press.
- Speed squats and heavy deadlifts.
The 10-day cycle is a mini training cycle within a larger 30-day cycle, and this larger cycle is part of an even larger 90-day cycle. Once in the 30-day period, a single repetition maximum of 1 repetition was attempted to gauge progress. Each 30-day cycle focuses on a specific bank support team, eg gangs or chains. Before beginning this training program, my training partner and I benched our 1-rep max so we could calculate weight percentages. My 1 rep max was 195kg. We trained three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Shoulders trained hard and heavy on speed day.
The workouts are as follows:
- Under the spinal weight I have written the % of my 1 rep max for the flat bench only. This figure is approximate and rounded to the nearest 5 or 10 kilogram jump.
- On days not mentioned, for example, Wednesday of the first 10-day cycle I’m training squats and deadlifts.
- All close grip vises are lowered to a height of 3 boards.
- On heavy bench day I always do close grip pressing as well.
- Perform a proper warm-up before exercise, including the warm-up on the specific exercise.
- All workouts are done with wrist wraps only.
First cycle of 30 days
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 series 1 rep @ 200kg MAX. Wednesday Speed bench press 12 sets 2 reps @ 100kg (50%)
On heavy bench training day complete 2 chest assist exercises and 3 triceps assist exercises. The exercises are from the following lists, but the list is not exhaustive and other exercises may be added:
bench support Incline Press Decline Press Flat, Incline, Decline Flyes Pec Dec Flye Floor Press
triceps stand Close Grip Press Skull Crushers / Kettlebell / Barbell Tricep Pressdown Dips Rack Lockouts
This cycle now repeats for the second 30 day cycle only now instead of just pressing I entered BANDS. I used medium blue wooden bands which add about 20kg to the weight of the bar at the top of the movement, meaning an “empty” bar now weighed 40kg. My one rep max had now increased to 200kg so all calculations now have to be done at this new weight, however due to the introduction of the bands I actually dropped the barbell weight by 10kg! The 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 to figure out what barbell weight we needed for our third and final cycle. My one rep max had now increased to 205kg and I felt very strong and happy to have 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 of chain weight, meaning an “empty” bar now weighed 55kg. My one rep max had now increased to 205kg so I had to recalculate my training percentages to account for this. The 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 press 210kg. The most he had accomplished without using specialized equipment. I was obviously delighted with the result and both my training partner and I have never felt stronger. Now I completely rested for 2 weeks, without training even once during this period. Then on Saturday I competed at the British Championships and hit 225kg on the bench which surprised me as I was 15kg off my previous best which shows how important rest and nutrition is within a training routine.
conclusion Gangs and chains seem confusing and are often difficult to control, but persistence can pay off big in return. The explosive power of the chest is greatly increased and drives you through previous sticking points. Training only ‘heavy’ once every 10 days allowed the muscles to fully recover and I felt fresh for each workout. Speed training further increased explosive power and allowed me to bench press faster even on heavy days.
For more information on bench press, bench press tips, bench press videos, and bench press workouts, please visit my website at www.increasebenchpressnow.com.