How to Increase Your Bench Press by 50 Pounds in 10 Weeks
Increasing your bench by 50 pounds in 10 weeks as someone completely new to training shouldn't be a huge struggle. As a newbie lifter, strength gains come quickly. For those at more of an intermediate or advanced level, however, bench press progress is a little harder to come by. Boosting your bench by 50 pounds in 10 weeks is possible, but it takes an advanced, bench-specific routine.
Perform bench presses more regularly. High-frequency training is the most effective way to boost your bench press in a short time span, according to performance coach Kelly Baggett.
Load the bar with 85 percent of your single-repetition maximum and bench it for four sets of three on Monday. Perform three sets of two at 90 percent on Tuesday and one maximum rep along with three to four single reps at 95 percent on Wednesday. Take Thursday off then perform light single repetitions on Friday before resting over the weekend, advises Baggett.
Add accessory lifts into your workouts after your bench presses. Perform dips on Monday, close-grip bench presses on Tuesday, dumbbell presses on Wednesday and overhead barbell presses on Friday. Complete four to five sets of six to 10 reps on each.
Reduce the volume and intensity of all your other body parts. As your chest, shoulders and arms are working so hard, you don't want to do too much for your other muscle groups; otherwise, you compromise recovery. Perform one light leg workout and one light back and biceps workout each week.
Test your bench press at the end of week 10. Take four to five days off benching prior to these and conduct the test safely. Warm up with multiple sets of five to 10 reps, adding a little weight on each one. Once this becomes tougher, drop to sets of two to five reps and keep adding weight every set. When you're near your maximum, complete just one rep each time until you either fail a lift or feel you can't go any heavier. Always have a spotter present when testing your maximum.
Correct Bench Press Technique
Set the pins in the bench press so you can touch the bar with your arms very slightly bent.
Grab the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip and lift it out of the rack.
Lower the bar toward your chest by bending your elbows. Imagine you're trying to pull the bar apart.
Hold your upper back, glutes and core as tight as you can and dig your feet into the floor.
Pause with the bar lightly touching your chest at nipple height, then push it straight back up as powerfully as you can.
Finish the rep with your arms straight. Keep your butt and head on the bench at all times. When you've finished your set, place the bar back carefully in the safety pins.
Training your bench press three days in a row may sound like overkill, but this is part of a planned over-training cycle, notes Baggett. The volume of each session is so low it won't cause muscle damage, but it will get you accustomed to lifting heavy loads with good technique. Beginners should avoid this, however, and leave at least 48 hours between sessions.
Reduce your bench pressing frequency to just once a week for 10 weeks after completing this program, then start it again if you feel your bench needs a further boost.
Check with your doctor before embarking on a new training program.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.