The Bench Press Pyramid Workout

July 27, 2012

Must See Strength Training Videos

The Bench Press is one of the most studied and practiced lifts. The ability to press loads of weight over your chest is the foundation for building the pectorals and other upper-body muscles, including the delts and triceps.

When performing the Bench Press, you don't want to lie on the bench and arbitrarily press weight or perform the same workout over and over again. You want to have a plan designed to challenge your muscles to build a bigger bench.

Below is a 4-week Bench Press Pyramid Routine that will get you out of your Bench Press rut and start building strength and muscle size. Perform each workout once per week.

Bench Press Pyramid

Week 1: Full Pyramid

  • Warm-up
  • 1x8 - 75 percent of max
  • 1x6 - 85 percent of max
  • 1x1 - 95 percent of max
  • 1x6 - 85 percent of max
  • 1x8 - 75 percent of max

Week 2: Reverse Pyramid

  • Warm-up
  • 1x3 - 90 percent of max
  • 1x6 - 80 percent of max
  • 1x8 - 70 percent of max
  • 1x6 - 80 percent of max
  • 1x3 - 90 percent of max

Week 3: Full Pyramid

  • Warm-up
  • 1x8 - 70 percent of max
  • 1x6 - 80 percent of max
  • 1x4 - 90 percent of max
  • 1x1 - 99 percent of max
  • 1x4 - 90 percent of max
  • 1x6 - 80 percent of max
  • 1x8 - 70 percent of max

Week 4: Reverse Pyramid

  • Warm-up
  • 1x2 - 95 percent of max
  • 1x4 - 85 percent of max
  • 1x6 - 75 percent of max
  • 1x8 - 65 percent of max
  • 1x6 - 75 percent of max
  • 1x4 - 85 percent of max
  • 1x2 - 95 percent of max

Getting Started

Do not attempt this workout on your first visit to the gym. Before attempting this workout, you must have a good foundation of chest muscle already developed. You can achieve this with bodyweight chest exercises like Push-Ups, and then by familiarizing yourself with the Bench Press.

Goals

This workout cuts repetitions as weight increases, then reverses the sequence to add stress to the muscles. It follows the overload principle, since you increase intensity by completing both sides of the pyramid. Your muscles then break down and rebuild stronger and larger.

Rest

I do not recommend completing this workout over and over again. A good idea is to complete the four-week cycle, then take two to four weeks off before your next cycle.

Be sure to rest for two minutes between sets to allow your muscles to recover. This is a strength workout, so it's more about completing quality reps than feeling gassed and fatigued.

Safety

Always use a partner to spot you, especially for a workout that causes this much stress. The use of a spotter during workouts both motivates you and adds a sense of security, allowing you to focus on pressing the weight.

Photo:  dualfit.com

Topics: BENCH PRESS
Rob Thompson
- Rob Thompson is a Florida high school assistant football coach who has coached defensive line and special teams since 2008. He also has three years...
Rob Thompson
- Rob Thompson is a Florida high school assistant football coach who has coached defensive line and special teams since 2008. He also has three years...
Must See
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,799,405
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 86,415
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 41,120,736

Featured Videos

James Harden Resisted Euro-Step James Harden Resisted Euro-Step Views: 27,251
Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 22,312
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,074
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,332,792
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,498,870
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,228,339
Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling
Views: 1,174,469
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 890,413

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Battle Rope Workout That Will Get You Shredded

Battle Rope Workout That Will Get You Shredded

The battle rope workout has become a staple in the fitness world. There is no secret as to why the military and world class athletes resort to battle...

Duncan Keith's Stanley Cup MVP Training

Duncan Keith's Stanley Cup MVP Training

Are You Loading Barbells Wrong?

Are You Loading Barbells Wrong?

3 Barbell-Only, Full-Body Workout Programs for Any Fitness Goal

3 Barbell-Only, Full-Body Workout Programs for Any Fitness Goal

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

Strengthen Your Core With 2 Simple Anti-Rotational Exercises

Strengthen Your Core With 2 Simple Anti-Rotational Exercises

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

Why Everything You Know About Core Training is Wrong

Why Everything You Know About Core Training is Wrong

Know Your Row: The Pros and Cons of 8 Different Back Exercises

Know Your Row: The Pros and Cons of 8 Different Back Exercises

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Why Your Instagram Box Jump Isn't That Impressive

Why Your Instagram Box Jump Isn't That Impressive

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

How to Fix Back Rounding When Deadlifting

How to Fix Back Rounding When Deadlifting

Is CrossFit Appropriate for Basketball Players?

Is CrossFit Appropriate for Basketball Players?

5 Training Ideas You Should Steal From the NFL's Best

5 Training Ideas You Should Steal From the NFL's Best

Why the Clean Pull is Perfect for Athletes

Why the Clean Pull is Perfect for Athletes

Austen Lane's Complete NFL Workout

Austen Lane's Complete NFL Workout

A Simple 6-Exercise Core Workout

A Simple 6-Exercise Core Workout

How to Perform the Farmer's Walk with Dumbbells

How to Perform the Farmer's Walk with Dumbbells

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Advanced Anti-Rotation Core Strengthening Exercises

Advanced Anti-Rotation Core Strengthening Exercises

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

Build Explosive Strength with This Olympic Weightlifting Program

Build Explosive Strength with This Olympic Weightlifting Program

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

How to Get More Out of the Dumbbell Press

How to Get More Out of the Dumbbell Press

8 Ways to Use a Weight Vest in Your Workouts

8 Ways to Use a Weight Vest in Your Workouts

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

8 Cures for a Weak Grip

8 Cures for a Weak Grip

Why Every Athlete Should Do Farmer's Walks

Why Every Athlete Should Do Farmer's Walks

German Volume Training: How to Pack on Muscle Mass

German Volume Training: How to Pack on Muscle Mass

How to Build Arm Strength for Baseball Before Your Season

How to Build Arm Strength for Baseball Before Your Season

Build Strength with Kettlebell Sandbags

Build Strength with Kettlebell Sandbags

Keep Your Workouts Simple for Better Results

Keep Your Workouts Simple for Better Results

Wrestlers: Improve Double-Leg Takedowns With Sled Pushes

Wrestlers: Improve Double-Leg Takedowns With Sled Pushes

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

Everything You Need to Know About Using Farmer's Walk Handles

Everything You Need to Know About Using Farmer's Walk Handles

YardBarker