Want to increase your bench press fast? In this article, I will explain what bench press programs I used to bench press 365 lbs as a 6′ 10″ basketball player and a few of the best bench press programs for strength and muscle mass you might want to consider trying.
One important thing I learned during my experiences with various bench press programs is that there is more than one program that can help you increase your bench press because people respond differently to different forms of training.
For example, you might get better results from a traditional 5×5 bench press program, while someone else might be better off with a pyramid bench press workout.
My goal in this article is to help you understand the best bench press routines that can increase your bench press while also helping you evaluate the different options.
Best Bench Press Workout Routines (2023)
I increased my bench press through various workouts and training methods, which I will outline below.
However, I believe you should understand that any personal trainer or fitness coach can sell you a workout program to increase your bench press, 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 fast!
5×5 Bench Press Routine
When I began lifting around 15 years old, I started with a basic 3 sets of 10 rep routine. After this, I discovered the “pyramid” technique of lifting: 10-8-6-4-6-8-10.
These bench press workout routines helped me build a foundation of strength because they are beginner bench press programs, but after a couple of years of training, I realized I needed a more substantial bench press routine if I wanted to reach my goal of bench pressing “3 plates” (315lbs).
The first “real” bench press program that I followed was the 5×5 approach. The 5×5 bench press program is simple, but it works.
I made significant progress with the 5×5 bench press workout routine since it was easy to follow and stay on track, and any bench press workout program that you are consistent with will work to a certain extent.
The 5×5 bench press program is simple: you do 5 sets of 5 reps and increase the weight once you get all the sets done without missing a rep.
To start using the 5×5 bench press program, I suggest you pick a weight about 70% of your 1 rep max. Doing so will give you comfortable room to grow, and you won’t burn out before you increase your bench press strength!
If you’d like to have a customized version of the 5×5 bench press program and a digital way to track your progress with this program, check out the 5×5 Program on BodyFit by BodyBuilding.com:
3×5 and 5×3 Bench Press Programs
After using the 5×5 bench press program for a while and increasing my 1 rep max bench press too nearly 300lbs, I began to feel that the 5×5 bench press routine was getting stale. I wasn’t gaining as much size or definition as I used to, and my numbers were slowing down.
One workout routine 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 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, on the next bench press workout day, I will do this same weight for 5 sets of 5 reps.
If you have used the 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 program overall, and it was the biggest reason I could increase my bench press to over 350lbs!
Also, the 10×3 benching program taught me that the bench press can be a great exercise for metabolic conditioning and fat-burning.
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 couple of months.
- This bench press workout routine is simple: 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 can 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 that you do 30 reps with a heavy weight, whereas many traditional strength training programs have you doing 10 or fewer reps with a heavy weight.
I suggest you 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.
You will also begin your training program with your “heaviest” set and work up to the lightest set.
- 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. Therefore, the lighter sets you do afterward will promote more muscle growth than if you did them beforehand.
This is a great workout routine to increase your bench press 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.
Gironda referred to training density as training intensity, and he believed 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 only rested 10 to 15 seconds between sets.
Crossfit is a prime example of this theory of training density.
The 8×8 system was always one of his favorite workouts, as it emphasizes exercising with several sets and reps, creating a shorter but more effective workout.
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.
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 weight 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 doing this for more than 4 weeks in a row.
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 constantly do low-rep bench press programs.
If you’d like to follow along with a customized German Volume Training plan, check out:
Accessory Exercises to Increase Your Bench Press
Outside of the sets and reps in my favorite bench press programs, there are other ways to improve your bench press. In fact, many assistance exercises can also dramatically increase your bench press.
Check out these additional exercises that can help increase your bench press:
Early in my training career, I made a huge mistake, so I won’t let you!
When I started using various bench press programs, I failed to strengthen my rear delts and balance my shoulder muscles adequately.
To have strong and healthy shoulders, you must do shoulder exercises for your rear delts.
A simple way to improve your shoulder health and increase your bench press is by starting every upper body day off with face pulls.
Face pulls will improve the health of your shoulders and help you bench press more weight!
Take this from someone who has worn-out shoulders from years of basketball but can still easily bench over 315lbs with almost no bench press training: face pulls will save your shoulders!
Here is an example kneeling face pulls, one of my favorite face pull variations:
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 for 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 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.
Concluding Thoughts – How to Pick the Best Bench Press Program for Yourself
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 bench-pressed 365lbs because I was motivated to improve my bench press, and I understood the value of doing the different bench press workouts.
So, choose whichever bench press workout routine that looks the best to you, and get to work!
Read Next: The Best Dumbbell Chest Exercises