This report contains details on a specific method of training that is drastically different from many of the current trends. This routine does NOT involve working each bodypart one day per week.
If you are not already making the kind of strength and size gains you want, reading this special report will be of enormous benefit to you, as this routine is among the very best for increasing your bench press and packing on overall muscular size.
The routine was formulated for me by the late Anthony Ditillo back in 1971. Anthony is known for being one of the best writers in the field of strength and developing muscular bulk. With it, I increased my bench press from 295 to 335 over the six-week period.
Section Two: What’s a realistic goal for your bench?
You’ll hear all kinds of stuff about how much you should be able to bench. The table below is excerpted from ExRx.net.
The standards presented in the linked tables below represent a 1RM performance (in pounds) that can be reasonably expected of an adult athlete at various levels of training advancement using standard full range-of-motion barbell exercises with no supportive wraps or suits.
The most important thing is not the ultimate number, but that you are making progress.
Untrained – Expected level of strength in a healthy individual who has not trained on the exercise before but can perform it correctly. This represents the minimum level of strength required to maintain a reasonable quality of life in a sedentary individual.
Novice – A person training regularly for a period of 3-9 months. This strength level supports the demands of vigorous recreational activities.
Intermediate – A person who has engaged in regular training for up to two years. The intermediate level indicates some degree of specialization in the exercises and a high level of performance at the recreational level.
Advanced –An individual with multi-year training experience with definite goals in the higher levels of competitive athletics.
Elite – Refers specifically to athletes competing in strength sports. Less than 1% of the weight training population will attain this level.
Bench Press – Adult Men
Bench Press – Adult Women
Ed. Note: If you are 50 years of age or older you could deduct 10% from the standard, and at age 60 another 10%.
Section Three: Instruction
During this six-week program you’re going to bench three days a week. Yes, you read that right... three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the full six weeks. After all, the best bench pressers (and the most muscular guys) in the days before super bench shirts and super steroid doses usually trained on the bench press three days per week.
That’s a total of eighteen workouts. You should see an increase in your bench press max of very close to thirty pounds or better. Still think three bench workouts per week is too much? The first man to bench press 700 pounds, Jim Williams trained his bench six days a week!*
Monday is the heavy day. Warm-up by slowly increasing the weight of the bar; then use 90% of your one rep max for five singles. (We’ll base things on a one-rep max of 250 lbs. An example would be as follows: 250lbs x 90% = 225 lbs.) Do five singles with 225 on the bar.Rest exactly three minutes between these singles.
Then drop 10% or thirty pounds whichever is less and do three sets of doubles or triples.
Drop another 10% or thirty pounds and do three sets of five to seven repetitions.
Then choose one assistance movement for each of the other upper body parts, for example: Shoulder Press, Bent-Over Row, Lying Triceps Press, and Barbell Curl. Do 3-5 sets of 5-7 reps for each.
Here is a list of the best assistance exercises:
Shoulders: Military Press, Press Behind Neck and Partial Presses within the power rack are the best; Standing Side Laterals and Forward Laterals have also been used by some with great success.
Triceps: Standing Triceps Extensions, Lying Triceps Extensions, Parallel Bar Dips and Pushdowns
Back(which is really the launching pad for the bench press): Barbell Rows, Dumbbell Rows, Seated Cable Rows, Chins, Pulldowns, and Shoulder Shrugs.
Biceps: heavy Barbell and Dumbbell Curls.
DAY TWO: Wednesday is a light day. You’ll use just 60%-65% of your your maximum for 4 sets of 5-7 reps. On your assistance movements pick a different exercise for each body-part and perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps. That’s all don’t do more.
DAY THREE: Friday is your medium day. Work up to around 80% of your one rep max for 5-7 sets of 3-5 repetitions. After the benches perform 4 sets of 5-7 reps on one assistance exercise for each bodypart.
Here you have a basic, proven routine for increasing bench-pressing strength and development. You can take Tuesday or Saturday to train your legs so that they don’t lag behind.
It is important that you determine your one rep max before starting the program. You can do this by slowly working up to your best one rep lift in perfect form. (Be sure the spotter does not touch the bar at all or it does not count. He’s there to save you not feed your ego.) Another method is to use a calculated one-rep max. Here you work up to your best set of 5 reps, again with perfect form and no spotter touches. Take this five-rep maximum and with a calculator divide by .875.
Example: you can get a maximum of five reps with 220; divide 225 by .875 on a calculator and you’ll get a result of 251. Round to 250 for your max. The workout below is based on a maximum one-rep bench press of 250 pounds. So you’d add about five pounds to each weight in the example below.
Now let’s go through the workout step by step. Remember the illustration below is based on a one-rep maximum of 250 pounds, if your max is less or greater just adjust the weight accordingly.
Monday (Heavy) Bench Press: Warm-up: 135 x 5, 185 x 3, 205 x 1
Five sets of one rep: 225 (90% of 250) Lift explosively! Three minutes rest per set. If successful increase by 10 pounds the next week you’ll use 235 pounds for five sets of one rep and so on each week. After week three increase just five pounds per week. (Note: I know you can do more than 225 pounds the first week. That’s not the idea! The idea is to follow the program, then max out after six weeks. You’ll be amazed to see that you are now in the 275-280 range.)
Three sets of two to three reps. Now drop the bar 10% to 200 pounds and do three sets of three reps.
Three sets of five to seven reps. Now drop the bar 10% more to 180 pounds and do three more sets of five to seven reps.
Shoulder Press – 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Bent Row – 4sets of 5-7 reps
Lying Triceps Extension – 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Barbell Curl – 4sets of 5-7 reps
Tuesday (or Saturday) Legs
Bench Press Warm-up, then 4 sets of 5-7 reps with just 65% of your one rep maximum or 165 (65% of 250). Yes, it’s light. It’s supposed to be. Take two minutes rest per set and really focus on form and explosiveness.
Incline DB Press (Optional) 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Front Dumbbell or Plate Raise 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Dumbbell Row 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Triceps Pushdown 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Preacher Bench Curls or Curl Machine 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Don’t be tempted to add more sets or exercises to this workout. It is light and relatively easy on purpose.
Bench Press Warm-up, then do 5-7 sets of 3-5 reps with 80% of your one rep max. (For our purposes 80% of 250 or 200 pounds.)
Dumbbell Press or Press Behind Neck 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Lat Pulldowns 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Parallel Bar Dips 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Alternate DB Curls 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Here is a chart showing how you should progress on each bench press day:
5 x 1
3 x 3
3 x 5-7
4 x 5-7
5-7 x 3-5
Important Note: When ever you are able to perform the heavy day workout successfully it is then time to increase the entire weight progression scheme by five or ten pounds on the heavy day (Monday) and five pounds on the light (Wednesday) and medium (Friday) days.
You will discover that at first it is almost impossible to fully recuperate from workout to workout and the used muscles and joints will be constantly inflamed and sore. But if you will persevere past this initial period of physical discomfort you will reach a point where you will most assuredly recuperate from this daily grueling work, and it is at this point that you will really begin to gain! The secret to this type of training is adaptation. What you are really doing is getting your body used to a certain amount of work, performed daily and after a certain length of time, we begin to adapt to this amount of stress and our body begins to respond to this constant stimulation. The reason why we can expect to get stronger when using this grueling type of training is because at no time do we use a weight we cannot handle correctly and confidently.
*Jim Williams trained his bench press five, and often six days per week on the following program: 315 x 8, 405 x 5, 475 x 3, 605 x 1, 675 x 1, 600 x 2. That’s it. No assistance exercises.
A 6-lb fat loss may not seem like a lot, but let’s take the average female demo of our No Nonsense readers. The average weight for a 35-45 year old female is 145 lbs. Average body composition of our reader demographic (70th percentile in fitness over the general population) is about 21%.