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...

Featured Videos

Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Views: 179,065
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 75,992
Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 588,674
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

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,252,646
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,192
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,172
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,872
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,117,437

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

A Modern Twist to the Original Burpee

A Modern Twist to the Original Burpee

3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

Building Functional Balance for Figure Skaters

Building Functional Balance for Figure Skaters

Why Single-Arm and Single-Leg Training is Better for Athletes

Why Single-Arm and Single-Leg Training is Better for Athletes

What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

Why Reverse Lunges Are Better Than Forward Lunges

Why Reverse Lunges Are Better Than Forward Lunges

2015 Summer Training Guide: Track

2015 Summer Training Guide: Track

2015 Summer Training Guide: Volleyball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Volleyball

Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

2015 Summer Training Guide: Basketball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Basketball

Use Single-Leg Strength to Enhance Soccer Performance

Use Single-Leg Strength to Enhance Soccer Performance

Build Lower-Body Power with This Squat Workout

Build Lower-Body Power with This Squat Workout

How to Build Strong Neck Muscles

How to Build Strong Neck Muscles

The Squat Variation That Torches Your Core

The Squat Variation That Torches Your Core

Fix 7 Common Problem Areas with Exercises From Todd Durkin

Fix 7 Common Problem Areas with Exercises From Todd Durkin

7 Trap Bar Exercises You Should Try

7 Trap Bar Exercises You Should Try

2015 Summer Training Guide: Wrestling

2015 Summer Training Guide: Wrestling

3 Simple Tips to Gain Muscle Mass

3 Simple Tips to Gain Muscle Mass

9 Ways to Improve Your Squat Technique

9 Ways to Improve Your Squat Technique

2015 Summer Training Guide: Soccer

2015 Summer Training Guide: Soccer

Marcus Mariota's Speed and Strength Workout

Marcus Mariota's Speed and Strength Workout

10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout

10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout

5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout

5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout

Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form

Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form

Build Elite Strength With This Training System

Build Elite Strength With This Training System

Building Brakes for More Speed

Building Brakes for More Speed

Full-Body Training: 4 Dumbbell Ring Training Exercises

Full-Body Training: 4 Dumbbell Ring Training Exercises

Are You Using the Right Weight for Every Exercise?

Are You Using the Right Weight for Every Exercise?

The 10-Minute Grip Strengthening Workout

The 10-Minute Grip Strengthening Workout

2015 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Softball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Softball

The Most American Workout Ever

The Most American Workout Ever

Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

2015 Summer Training Guide: Football

2015 Summer Training Guide: Football

2015 Summer Training Guide: Lacrosse

2015 Summer Training Guide: Lacrosse

Go Against Traditional Workout Order for Bigger Gains

Go Against Traditional Workout Order for Bigger Gains

Olympian Carrie Tollefson's Core Workout

Olympian Carrie Tollefson's Core Workout

Strength Isn’t Just How Much You Can Lift on a Barbell

Strength Isn't Just How Much You Can Lift on a Barbell

YardBarker