Bench Press 315 Pounds With This Training Plan

This workout program from STACK Expert Chris Hitchko will have you on your way to bench pressing 315 pounds.

The Bench Press is the exercise that separates men from boys. Nothing looks more badass than someone who can bench press 315 pounds. Every guy wants to be able to do it, but what's the proper technique and programming to help you achieve this milestone? In this article, I'm going to help you increase your Bench Press and eventually hit 315 pounds.

RELATED: Add 30 Pounds to Your Bench Press in 20 Minutes

In order for this program to work, you need to establish your One-Rep Maximum (1RM).

How to find your 1RM

  • Set 1 = 8-10 @ 50%
  • Set 2 = 3-5 @ 75%
  • Set 3 = 1 @ 85%
  • Set 4 = 1 @ 95%
  • Set 5 = Max attempt
  • Rest 3-5 minutes between sets; closer to 10 minutes for the 1RM.

Muscles Engaged During a Bench Press

Bench Press 315 Pounds With This Training Plan

Now that we've identified how to get your 1RM, let's take a closer at some of the muscles that will help you bench press 315 pounds: chest, triceps, anterior deltoid, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior, glutes, upper back and core.

RELATED: 10 Bench Press Variations for a Bigger and Stronger Chest

Chest: The pectoralis major is the prime mover during the Bench. If your goal is to add size to the upper portion, do these exercises: Incline Bench, Incline DB Press (without touching the weights), Incline Flys, Feet-Elevated Push-Ups, Chest Fly Pull-Throughs. If your goal is to develop the lower portion, do these exercises: Decline Press, Frontal Chest Flys, Hammer Strength Side Presses, Low Hand Placement Push-Ups. If your goal is to develop the mid portion or overall size, do these exercises: Bench Press, Push-Ups (daily), Chest Flys with internal rotation (twist dumbbells), and more Bench Press.

Tricep Brachii: The triceps help the pecs press the weight by extending your elbows. If you have trouble "locking out" at the end of the Bench, work on developing the triceps with these exercises: Close Grip Bench Press, Push-Ups, Tricep Extensions, and Skull Crushers. It wouldn't be wise to do a heavy or high volume day of Rows the day before a max out on Bench Press. When you pull weight toward your chest, the long head of the triceps are synergistically engaged.

Deltoids: To have optimal shoulder health, you need to recruit the anterior (front), medial (side) and posterior (rear) heads of the deltoid. The problem lies with the nation being Bench Press Happy (#internationalchestday); you gotta even out the posterior side of the deltoid. At Show Up Fitness, our athletes perform a 2-to-1 ratio posteriorly to anteriorly. If you Bench on Monday, you better even that out by doing a Bent-Over Row and Reverse Fly somewhere within that workout week. If your goal is to develop the anterior head of the deltoid, do these exercises: Bench Press, Push-Ups, Military Press, Front Raises, and Chest Flys.

Latissimus Dorsi: If you find the bar getting planted at the bottom of the Bench, the chances are that your back is weak. The Lats begin in the mid-part of the back, run down into the lower back and halfway across the pelvis. To optimize the engagement of the lats, you'll hear, "squeeze the shoulder blades together." This cue may help some, but it's technically incorrect. Squeezing the shoulder blades together retracts the scapulae and engages the middle back, not the lats. I prefer cueing our athletes to "squeeze someone's hands into your armpits," or as Dead Somerset says, "squeeze an orange between your armpits." If your goal is to get the bar off your chest faster, start training your Latissimus Dorsi with these exercises: Bent-Over Rows, Pull-Ups, Cable Rows, Inverted Rows, Straight Arms Pull-Downs, and Hammer Strength Rows.

RELATED: 7 Reasons Why Your Bench Press Is Weak

Serratus Anterior, Glutes, Core and Upper Back: Remember Rocky IV when the Russian and Rocky square off before the grueling 15-round fight? Rocky has some shredded Serratus Anterior, or the side muscles above the obliques. To optimally press forward, the scapulae need to be able to protract forward (protract = press). By constantly Benching, the scapulae tend to get glued into the rib rage. It's imperative for shoulder health to keep the scapulae mobile. To maintain an optimal range of motion, Push-Ups should become your new best friend. At the end of each workout, do a five-minute Push-Up challenge. Set the clock for five minutes, and see how many Push-Ups you can do. Before you know it, you'll soon have those "Rocky Muscles."

The Glutes keep your butt locked into the bench. In a real powerlifting meet, you'll be disqualified if your butt comes off the bench. The best way to set up for a Bench Press is to get your eyes level with the bar, bring your feet close to being under your butt, tighten your core, press your upper back into the mat, and squeeze your cheeks as if you're about to squeak out a loud fart on a first date. Especially in your early sets, it's important to program "glutes engaged" into your setup by learning to clinch as hard as possible.

How to Increase Your Bench Press

Bench Press

In this 30-day periodized program to help you bench press 315 pounds, you'll be benching on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays using weight based off a 315 1RM, multiplying your 1RM by the decimal e.g., 275 x .75 (75%) = 206.5 (use 205 on Bench).

RELATED: Bench Press Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise


Workout 1 - Monday

  • 1) Bench Press - 10x2 @ 85% with 2-3 minutes rest. Focus on how fast you can press the weight off your chest.
  • 2) DB Incline Press - 3x8
  • 3a) Standing Chest Press - 3x10
  • 3b) Push-Ups: 3xMAX

Workout 2 - Thursday

  • 1) Bench Press - 10x6 @ 75% with 2 minutes rest
  • 2a) Hammer Strength Presses - 3x10
  • 2b) Push-Ups - 3xMAX
  • 3a) Chest Flies - 3x12
  • 3b) DB Negative Press - 3x12 with 5-second negative

Workout 3 - Saturday

  • 1) Incline Press - 5x5 2 @ 65% with 2-3 minutes rest
  • 2) Deadstop Bench Press - 5x4 @ 70% sets
  • 3) Band Push-Ups - 3xMAX


Workout 4 - Monday

  • 1) Bench Press - 5x1 @ 95% with 2-3 minutes rest
  • 2) Negative Bench Press - 3x1 @ 110% with a 3-4 second negative. Focus on lifting heavy weight without getting too psyched up. The central nervous system can become extremely taxed when you rile yourself up. Take a big deep breath and lift the weight under control, ideally without any music.

Workout 5 - Thursday

  • 1) Bench Press- 5x5 @ 80%
  • 2) Incline Bench Press - 5x10 @ 60%
  • 3a) Chest Flies - 5x10
  • 3b) Push-Ups - 5xMAX

Workout 6 - Saturday

  • 1) Bench Press - 6x5 with 2-3 minutes rest. For sets 1-2 use 45%, for sets 3-4 use 35% and for sets 5-6 use 30%. Move the weight as quickly as possible,
  • 2a) Include DB Press - 3x10
  • 2b) Push-Ups - 3xMAX
  • 3a) Standing Shoulder Press - 3x1-0
  • 3b) Push-Ups - 3x10


Workout 7 - Monday

  • 1) Bench Press - 3x10 @ 85% with 2-3 minutes rest
  • 2) DB Incline Press - 3x8
  • 3a) Standing Chest Press - 3x10
  • 3b) Push-Ups - 3xMAX

Workout 8 - Thursday

  • 1a) Incline Bench Press - 5x5 @ 70%
  • 1b) Plyo Push-Ups - 5x5 with 2-3 minutes rest
  • 2a) Chest Flys - 5x10
  • 2b) Push-Ups - 5xMAZ
  • 3) Bench Press - 3x60 seconds with 5-second negative and 1-second press
  • 4) Bench Press - 3xMAX @ 40%

Workout 9 - Saturday

  • 1) Bench Press - 10x8 @ 75% with 2 minutes rest
  • 2) Hammer Strength Press - 3x10 (partner accelerated negative for last 5 reps)
  • 3a) Chest Flies - 3x12
  • 3b) Push-Ups - 3x60 seconds


Workout 10 - Monday

  • 1) Bench Press - 5x1 @ 95% with 2-3 minutes rest
  • 2a) Bench Press Drop Set - 5x1 @ 87%, drop set into 70% for max reps
  • 2b) Bench Press Drop Set - 5xMAX @ 70%, drop set into 40% for max reps
  • 3a) Close-Grip Bench - 5xMAX @ 40%
  • 3b) Push-Ups - 5xMAX

Workout 11 - Thursday

  • 1) Incline Bench Press - 5x5 @ 70% with 2-3 minutes rest
  • 2) Deadstop Bench Press - 5x5 @ 70%
  • 3a) DB Incline Press - 5x6
  • 3b) Standing Chest Press - 5x10
  • 3c) Push-Ups - 5xMAX

Workout 12 - Saturday

  • 1) Bench Press - 5x3 @ 85% with 2-3 minutes rest
  • 2) Bench Press - 3x1 @ 110%
  • 3) Bench Press - 2x15-second negative @ 100%
  • 4a) Incline Bench Press - 5x10
  • 4b) Bench Press - 5xMAX
  • 5) Band Push-Ups - 5xMAX

Now on to testing. Rest on Monday and Tuesday and max out Wednesday to test your new strength.

Accessory Lifts to Improve the Bench Press

Bench Press

You need to train your triceps, anterior deltoid and back equally to make sure the gain train is headed your way. Here are some exercises you should perform three times per week:

  • Face Pulls - 5x10-15
  • Skullcrushers - 5x8-15
  • Band Pull-Aparts - 5x12-25
  • Farmers Walks - 2x100 yards @ 75-95% of your bodyweight
  • Bent-Over Rows - 5x6-12

Common Injuries

During an aggressive Bench Press plan, it's important to maintain optimal shoulder health. Spend at least 5 minutes a day with a lacrosse ball or the end of a barbell (I like the end of the Smith machine) and massage your upper traps, chest and rhomboids. I suggest getting a massage every other week by an Active Release Technician (ART), or some type of deep tissue massage. Another area of common overuse are the forearms. At least three times a week, do Wrist Curls with 5 to 10 pounds at a 3x3x3 tempo (3-second contraction, 3-second hold, 3-second negative). The slower the better. Stretching is fine and dandy, but you need to strengthen your tissue.

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