Add Pounds to Your Bench Press

This workout will help you add weight to your Bench Press. Who doesn't want that?

Want to add pounds to your Bench Press? If you're determined and follow these guidelines, a bigger lift may be in your future.

Setup is key. When you properly set up for the Bench, the bottom third of the lift will engage your back (latissimus dorsi) muscles, the middle part will engage your chest, and the top third will primarily involve your triceps. If you notice "sticking points " (the bar pauses, or stops) during any segment of the lift, spend additional time on strengthening that specific muscle.

Rick Scarpulla does an amazing job of demonstrating how to properly set up a Bench Press.

You're Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link

When examining the Bench Press, the foundation lies in the back.

Step One: Start doing more lifts for your back (e.g., Bent-Over Rows, Lat Pull-Downs, Cable Rows and Pull-Ups.)

Step Two: Build the base of your body—your legs. You should Squat more weight than you Bench. If that's not the case, you need to direct your attention to your legs. Regularly perform exercises like Squats, DeadLifts, Lunges and Hip Thrusts.

Step Three: Bench more. In this plan, you Bench two days a week and do lots of Push-Ups. Let's pretend your Bench Press 1RM is currently 225 pounds. The following is the percentage breakdown to use in this program.

  • 65%: 145 pounds
  • 75%: 175 pounds
  • 85%: 190 pounds
  • 120%: 275 pounds

Week 1

Monday

Bench

  • S1: 135 lbs x 10 reps, rest two minutes
  • S2: 175 lbs x 8 reps, rest two minutes
  • S3-S7: 190 lbs max reps followed immediately by Plyometric Push-Ups. Rest three minutes.

Incline Dumbbell

  • 5 sets of Single-Arm Presses for 8-12 reps resting one-two minutes. This will develop your core.

Wednesday

Bench

  • S1: 135 lbs x 10 reps, rest one minute
  • S2-6: 185 lbs x max, rest 90 seconds
  • Super Set Chest Flies & Push-Ups with one leg held out
  • 5 sets of 10 into Push-Ups until failure.

Friday

  • 10 sets of 10-20 Push-Ups, i.e., Squats into Push-Ups.

Week 2

Monday

Bench

  • S1: 135 lbs x 10 reps, rest two minutes
  • S2: 175 lbs x 5 reps, rest two minutes
  • S3-5: 175 lbs x 1 rep. Take two seconds to lower the bar to your chest and then maximally press the bar up. This will build muscular power. The bar should be moving rapidly. Rest two minutes between sets.
  • S6-8: 145 lbs x 3 reps. Same as above, but with multiple reps. Rest two minutes.

Incline Dumbbell

  • 5 sets of Single-Arm Presses for 8-12 reps, rest one-two minutes.

Wednesday 

Bench

  • S1: 135 lbs x 10 reps, rest one minute
  • S2-6: 185 lbs x max, rest 90 seconds
  • Super Set Chest Flies & Push-Ups with one leg held out

Friday

  • 10 sets of 10-20 Push-Ups.

Week 3

Monday

Bench

  • S1: 135 lbs x 10 reps, rest two minutes
  • S2: 175 lbs x 8 reps, rest two minutes
  • S3: 205 lbs x 1 rep, rest five minutes
  • S4: 225 lbs x max reps, rest three minutes
  • S5-7. 275 lbs. CAUTION: You'll need a good spotter to lift the bar up. Perform 1 negative with 120% of your 1RM. Try to go as slow as you can. Rest two-three minutes.

Wednesday

Bench

  • S1: 135 lbs x 10 reps, rest one minute
  • S2-6: 185 lbs x max, rest 90 seconds
  • Super Set Chest Flies & Push-Ups with one leg held out

Friday

  • 10 sets of 10-20 Push-Ups.

Weeks 4-6

Repeat Weeks 1-3.

During Week 6, do not perform Friday's Push-Up workout and do not work out over the weekend. In Week 7, perform your one rep max followed here.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CHEST | BENCH PRESS | BENCH | PRESS | LIFTS