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Bench Press Programs – How to Increase Your Bench Press

The Best Bench Press Programs
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If you are wondering how to increase your bench press, there are many great bench press programs that can help you with your goals.

Although vertical jump workouts are my primary specialty, I would consider myself an expert in bench press programs because I have bench pressed over 350lbs, even though I am a 6′ 10″ basketball player who doesn’t necessarily need the bench press exercise at all.

One important thing I learned during my experiences with various bench press programs is that there is more than one bench press program that can help you increase your bench press a lot.

Best Bench Press Programs

Before I discuss each of these in more detail, here are the best bench press programs to increase your bench press, in my opinion:

5×5 Bench Press Routine

The first real bench press program that followed was the 5×5 approach. The 5×5 bench press program is simple, but it works.

3×5 and 5×3 Bench Press Programs

One bench press workout that helped me increase my bench press quite a bit was using a benching program similar to the classic 5-3-1 program, but with a little twist.

10×3 Bench Press Workout Routine

The 10×3 bench press workout is probably my favorite bench press program overall and it is the biggest reason I was able to increase push my bench press over 350lbs!

Reverse Pyramid Training

A primary advantage of the RPT training program is that you should also be able to use a bit higher % of your 1RM per set because you do not need to “save” energy for the end.

The Bench 300 Program

The Bench 300 bench press program is a program to increase your bench press that you can only get access to by subscribing to BodyFit by Bodybuilding.com.

8×8 – The Honest Workout

The 8×8 system was one of Vince Gironda's favorite workouts, as it emphasizes exercising with several sets and reps; creating a shorter but much more effective workout overall.

10×10 Bench Press Workout

The last type of bench press workout I will comment on is the German Volume Training or 10×10 method. German Volume Training is another great high-volume bench press program that can help increase your bench press.

best program to increase your bench press

I increased my bench press through a combination of numerous different bench press workouts and training method, so I will outline those for you.

The exact bench press program I used is a little bit incoherent since I generally go more off of “feel” than an actual program, but I used a combination of many other typical bench press programs on the way.

But first, I believe it is important for you to understand that any personal trainer or fitness coach can sell you a workout program, but not everyone can teach you how to know yourself and listen to your body.

Now that you know that the best bench press program for yourself may not be exactly the same bench press program as others use and it might be an entirely different bench press program than exists today, let’s look at some of the best bench press programs for increasing your bench press:

5×5 Bench Press Routine

When I began lifting around 15 years old I started with the basic 3 sets of 10. After this, I discovered the “pyramid” technique of lifting: 10-8-6-4-6-8-10.

However, both of these bench press workout routines didn’t do much for me outside of building a foundation of strength because they are beginner programs. You can make progress as a novice with these beginner bench press programs, but after this, you need something substantial.

The first real bench press program that followed was the 5×5 approach. The 5×5 bench press program is simple, but it works.

I actually made significant progress with the 5×5 bench press workout routine since it was so easy to follow and stay on track.

Any bench press workout program that you are consistent with will work to a certain extent, and the 5×5 benching program proves this.

If you’d liked to have a customized version of the 5×5 program and a digital way to track your progress with this program, check out:

>> 5×5 Muscle and Strength Program on BodyFit by BodyBuilding.com

3×5 and 5×3 Bench Press Programs

After using the 5×5 method for a while and increasing my 1 rep max bench press too nearly 300lbs, I began to feel that the 5×5 bench program was getting a bit stale to me. I wasn’t gaining as much size or definition as I used to, and my numbers were slowing down.

One bench press workout that helped me quite a bit was using a benching program similar to the classic 5-3-1 program, but with a little twist.

For this bench press workout routine, I start with a weight that I can do for 5 sets of 3 reps. Then, on my next bench press workout day, I use this weight and do 3 sets of 5 reps. Finally, in the next bench press workout day, I will do this same weight for 5 sets of 5 reps.

If you have used 5×5 bench press workout routine for a while and want a change, I suggest you try this out.

10×3 Bench Press Workout Routine

The 10×3 bench press workout is probably my favorite bench press program overall and it is the biggest reason I was able to increase push my bench press over 350lbs! Also, the 10×3 benching program taught me that the bench press can be a great exercise for metabolic conditioning and burning fat.

To do the 10×3 bench workout, start with a weight that you can easily get for 6-7 reps because you want to give yourself room for growth over a period of 1-2 months.

This bench press workout routine is very simple as well: just do 10 sets of 3 reps.

Keep rest times to around a minute and a half.

Don’t rush the rest, but also don’t rest too long.

The beautiful part of this program to increase your bench press is that your body should adapt and the weights become easier to lift towards the later sets.

The primary reason that I believe the 10×3 bench press workout is very effective is because you do 30 reps with a heavy weight, where many traditional strength training programs have you doing 10 or fewer reps with a heavy weight.

I suggest add 5 total pounds to the bar each workout, and work up slowly.

Reverse Pyramid Training

As the name suggests, reverse pyramid training is the “reverse” of pyramid training. Pyramid Training is a standard weightlifting training system that starts with lighter weights and higher reps and then progresses to heavier weights and lower reps. For example, a standard pyramid bench press program day would look like this:

  • Set 1: 10-12 Reps @ 60% 1RM (1 Rep Max)
  • Set 2: 7-9 Reps @ 70% 1RM
  • Set 3: 5-6 Reps @ 80% 1RM
  • Set 4: 3-4 Reps @ 85% 1RM

This is a simple form of traditional pyramid training.

Reverse pyramid training, on the other hand, would be the opposite. Unlike traditional pyramid training programs, you won’t do a very low rep set. However, you’ll probably start at 5-6 reps.

Additionally, you will begin your training program with your “heaviest” set and then work up to the lightest set.

For example:

  • Set 1: 5-6 Reps @ 85% 1RM
  • Set 2: 7-9 Reps @ 80% 1RM
  • Set 3: 10-12 Reps @ 70% 1RM
  • Set 4: 12-15 Reps @ 60% 1RM

As you can see, another advantage of the RPT training program is that you should also be able to use a bit higher % of your 1RM per set because you do not need to “save” energy for the end.

This is a simple explanation of the reverse pyramid training program, which is all it needs because it is a simple program! By performing your heavy set first, you shift your body into a temporary state of heightened muscle fiber activation. This means that all of the lighter sets you do afterward will promote more muscle growth than if you did them beforehand.

This is a great program to increase your bench press to use for 6-8 weeks at a time.

The Bench 300 Program

The Bench 300 bench press program is a program to increase your bench press that you can only get access to by subscribing to BodyFit by Bodybuilding.com.

This bench press program is designed to do one thing: move you from 225lbs for a few reps to bench pressing 300lbs.

In this program to increase your bench press, each weight for each rep is laid out for you so there is no guessing or math involved! It is a 12-week program that will help you bench press more weight!

8×8 – The Honest Workout

Known as the “Iron Guru”, Vincent Anselmo Gironda was a popular professional bodybuilder and also the owner of “Vince’s Gym.”

Gironda referred to training density as training intensity, and he is of the view that a bodybuilder should strive to increase the amount of work done in a given amount of time. Gironda believed that you can decrease your rest intervals while maintaining a constant increase in your training density.

This is reflected in the training style of Gironda’s pupils who took rest within a time in a range of 10 to 15 seconds between sets. Crossfit is a prime example of this theory.

The 8×8 system was always one of his favorite workouts, as it emphasizes exercising with several sets and reps; creating a shorter but much more effective workout overall.

With most of his workouts lasting for an hour or less, Gironda trained that way to give the muscle groups time to recover from hard training sessions.

The 8×8 strategy has worked incredibly well when attempting to increase my overall bench press, as it focuses both on power and strength, as well as reducing body fat. This method involves doing 8 sets of 8 reps with about 30 seconds of rest to start with. I promise you, it works!

Start with a weight that you feel will be even too light for you.

Work your way up by increments of 5-10lbs total per workout.

When you find a way that you are proud of accomplishing, try shortening the rest time!

10×10 Bench Press Workout

The last type of bench press workout I will comment on is the German Volume Training or 10×10 method. German Volume Training is another great high-volume bench press program that can help increase your bench press.

If you want to do German Volume Training to increase your bench press, I don’t suggest that you do this for more than 4 weeks. German Volume Training is much better for increasing muscle mass than improving strength, but it can be a nice shock to your body if you are constantly doing low-rep bench press programs.

If you’d like to follow along with a customized German Volume Training plan, check out:

>> German Volume Training on BodyFit by BodyBuilding.com

Accessory Exercises to Increase Your Bench Press

what program should you use to increase your bench press

Outside of the sets and reps in my favorite bench press programs, there are other ways you can improve your bench press. In fact, there are tons of assistance exercises that can dramatically increase your bench press as well.

Check out these additional tips for improving your bench press:

Face Pulls

Early on in my training, I made this mistake, so I won’t let you! Strengthen your rear delts, and it does not take too much more than a consistent approach to doing face pulls. They are truly a miracle exercise for people who bench press a lot.

One of my biggest limiting factors early in my lifting career was imbalances in my body, generally caused by a poor understanding of the body. As I got older, I became wiser.  Start every upper body day off with face pulls as a warm-up and you will feel the difference quickly, I promise!

Face pulls will improve the health of your shoulders, as well as their ability to move weight!

Take this from someone who has beaten shoulders from years of basketball but can still easily bench over 315lbs with almost no bench press training anymore, face pulls will save your shoulders!

Check out this video of me performing kneeling face pulls:

Dumbbell Floor Press

If you are doing a lot of barbell bench pressing, you should also maintain your shoulder health with the dumbbell floor press. The dumbbell floor press is a great exercise for building balanced and stable shoulders, and it is also a tricep killer.

It is the perfect accessory exercise to any barbell bench press program.

Fat Gripz Bench Press

If you want to increase your bench press, buying a pair of Fat Gripz and doing Fat Gripz bench pressing is a great way to save the health of your elbows and shoulders while also increasing your grip strength.

Using Fat Gripz for bench pressing is especially beneficial for warm-up sets, and you should not try to do heavy weights with the Fat Gripz. However, doing warm-up sets with Fat Gripz is a great way to increase the muscle activation in your elbows and shoulders to prepare for heavier bench pressing.

You can read my Fat Gripz review to learn more about them as well.

Fat Gripz Pro - The Simple Proven Way to Get Big Biceps & Forearms Fast (Winner of The Men’s Health Magazine Strength Training Equipment Award) (2.25” Outer Diameter)
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Fat Gripz Pro - The Simple Proven Way to Get Big Biceps & Forearms Fast (Winner of The Men’s Health Magazine Strength Training Equipment Award) (2.25” Outer Diameter)
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Concluding Thoughts – Picking the Best Bench Press Program for Yourself

a program to increase your bench press

I am here to tell you today that if you want to bench press to 200, 300, 400, or even 500lbs, you can!

My body is not made for bench pressing, but I was able to bench press 365lbs due to the fact that I was motivated to improve my bench press, and that I understood the value of doing the different bench press workouts.

Along with this, I am also here to tell you that building your bench press can be very effective for helping you burn body fat and get an aesthetic body.

So, choose whichever bench press workout routine that looks the best to you, and get to work!

Read Next: The Best Dumbbell Chest Exercises

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Adam Kemp
Hello! My name is Adam Kemp. I am a professional basketball player and an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer. In 2014 I graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Communications, and for the last seven years, I have played professional basketball in Europe. I am also an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, and I am currently completing my Masters of Science in Nutrition Education at American University. The health and fitness tips you can find throughout the articles I have written include information I have learned throughout my basketball career, academic studies, and my own personal research. If you would like to learn more about my life, please take a moment to follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

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