8 Week Bench Press Builder

Build a bigger bench press with this intense and effective 8 week specialization program that features two pressing workouts per week.

Workout Summary

Increase Strength
Single Muscle Group
Intermediate
4
Barbell, Dumbbells, EZ Bar
Male & Female

Workout Description

It's time to build up your paltry bench press. This intense 8 week bench press program is a specialization routine that can repeated cycle after cycle.

For best strength results, combine this bench press cycle with a higher than normal caloric intake. When you're not eating, eat more. When you're not eating more, rest, take naps or plan your next meal.

8 Week Bench Press Builder

The following split is recommend. The 2 additional training days would traditionally be used for posterior chain work - squats, deadlifts, hamstrings, etc.

  • Day 1 - Bench Press Workout A
  • Day 2 - Squat Day
  • Day 3 - OFF
  • Day 4 - Bench Press Workout B
  • Day 5 - Deadlift Day
  • Day 6 - OFF
  • Day 7 - OFF

Notes: All numbers are based off you current one rep bench press max. Take a complete week away from training after these 8 weeks. Rest, eat, rest and eat.

Day One Assistance Exercises

Day Four Assistance Exercises

Week 1
Workout A
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
60% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 4 Max Reps
Workout B
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
60% of 1RM 1 3
70% of 1RM 4 Max Reps
Week 2
Workout A
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
60% of 1RM 1 3
70% of 1RM 4 Max Reps
Workout B
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
75% of 1RM 4 Max Reps
Week 3
Workout A
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
75% of 1RM 4 Max Reps
Workout B
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
80% of 1RM 4 Max Reps
Week 4
Workout A
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
80% of 1RM 4 Max Reps
Workout B
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
75% of 1RM 1 1
85% of 1RM 3 Max Reps
Week 5
Workout A
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
75% of 1RM 1 1
85% of 1RM 3 Max Reps
Workout B
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
75% of 1RM 1 1
85% of 1RM 1 1
90% of 1RM 2 Max Reps
80% of 1RM 1 Max Reps
Week 6
Workout A
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
75% of 1RM 1 1
85% of 1RM 1 1
90% of 1RM 2 Max Reps
80% of 1RM 1 Max Reps
Workout B
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
75% of 1RM 1 1
85% of 1RM 1 1
95% of 1RM 2 Max Reps
80% of 1RM 1 Max Reps
Week 7
Workout A
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
75% of 1RM 1 1
85% of 1RM 1 1
95% of 1RM 2 Max Reps
80% of 1RM 1 Max Reps
Workout B
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
75% of 1RM 1 1
85% of 1RM 1 1
92.5% of 1RM 1 1
100% of 1RM 1 Max Reps
80% of 1RM 1 Max Reps
Week 8
Workout A
Exercise Sets Reps
     
***NO WORKOUT - REST***    
     
Workout B
Exercise Sets Reps
Bar 1 10
35% of 1RM 1 10
45% of 1RM 1 5
55% of 1RM 1 3
65% of 1RM 1 3
75% of 1RM 1 1
85% of 1RM 1 1
95% of 1RM 1 1
105% of 1RM (If you make this, try 107.5%) 1 1
107.5% of 1RM (If you make this, try 110%) 1 1
110% of 1RM 1 1

 

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61 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 09/07/2012 - 17:43
david
This seems like a great workout but I've got a few questions. So on day 1 and 4 of each week on top of the bench you also do the assisted excercises? And also what should I be doing for the squats and deadlifts? As far as weight, reps, and other excersices?
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 09/08/2012 - 12:57
Steven
Yes, correct - you also do the assistance exercises. Squats and deadlifts you can pretty much do any conventional lower body work, perhaps a Wendler's 531 squat and deadlift day.
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Posted Sat, 09/08/2012 - 12:00
lucas
I don't understand what the % of 1RM means. Can you please explain.
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 09/08/2012 - 12:58
Steven
Percentage of your one rep max.
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Posted Sat, 09/08/2012 - 14:05
mefist
Hi Steve. Currently im doing the Westside Barbell program and ive seen some good results from it. Will this program be any better for bench press?
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 09/08/2012 - 23:39
Steven
If you want to take an 8 week break to experiment, nothing wrong with it.
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Posted Sun, 09/09/2012 - 23:29
Tam
Hi Steve, i have a question. For day 1 and day 4 are both bench press right? Because in the sheet it said Workout A and Workout B so i don't quite get that! Thanks Steve! Oh and if you can guide me how to use the summary that would be great. Thnaks Steve! -Tam
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/10/2012 - 12:32
Steven
Hi Tam, On the schedule listing you can find this: Day 1 - Bench Press Workout A Day 2 - Squat Day Day 3 - OFF Day 4 - Bench Press Workout B Day 1 is workout A, and day 4 is workout B.
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Posted Thu, 09/13/2012 - 21:26
Aaron
Hey, Steve. How much rest should I take between each set? Can I put my deadlift day on day 2 and my squat day on day 4? Also, what sort of deadlift workout and squat workout would go well with your program?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/17/2012 - 14:45
Steven
When you start to get above 80% you want to be resting at least 2-3 minutes between sets. when a weight becomes real challenging, I sometimes rest as long as 5 minutes between sets. The key is to rest until you feel 100% physically and mentally ready.
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Posted Sat, 09/15/2012 - 01:16
Eric
I feel like my shoulders would be getting neglected from this considering they are rarely directly worked. I understand that they are stil worked during bench, but is there really no other shoulder work needed?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/17/2012 - 14:48
Steven
Hi Eric, This program features 2 shoulder exercises, and overhead press, and reverse flyes to target rear delts. That is enough. Remember this is a strength specialization program, not a bodybuilding program. Trust the process and the program. You do not need to hammer every muscle group into submission; you are trying to build strength.
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Posted Sat, 09/15/2012 - 02:00
Eric
Also, what exactly is the schedule for week 8? I'm a little confused with that.
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/17/2012 - 14:49
Steven
During week 8 you skip Workout A so that you can rest, and then test your max during Workout B.
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Posted Sat, 09/15/2012 - 02:05
Jem
Hi steve What is 35% of my one rep max? Does that mean 35% of how much i can bench press?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/17/2012 - 14:50
Steven
Percentages are relative to your one rep bench press maximum.
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Posted Wed, 09/19/2012 - 03:18
ely
Hey Steve is this done with Flat Bench only 1 exercise on Bench or i can still do incline and decline
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 14:45
Steven
This program is specifically designed to help a lifter improve their flat bench press, but you could certainly use a variation if you desire.
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Posted Tue, 09/25/2012 - 21:24
Mauro
Hey, i just started this workout routine and was wondering about how much more weight should i be able to bench press when i'm finished, approximately? thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 14:47
Steven
I can't answer that question. There are too many variables. It will be different for everyone depending on a myriad of factors from nutrition to skill level.
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Posted Tue, 05/20/2014 - 13:27
tavimba Musumhi
Hey Steve, could I still have my own bicep, tricep, shoulders, and back days and do the supplement movements then.
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Posted Mon, 10/08/2012 - 23:54
James
Max Reps? Really? Does that mean in week one i'm doing 4 sets of 12+ reps at 65%.
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Posted Tue, 10/09/2012 - 17:23
Daniel
How important is the dead lift and squat? I work out consistently but my bench isn't increasing much. Can I add the benching to my regular routines?
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Posted Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:43
George
Haven't worked out since the military but can't wait to get back into it
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Posted Sun, 10/21/2012 - 06:55
Pasi Hautala
Should all sets where "max reps" are indicated be taken to failure?
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Posted Mon, 10/22/2012 - 00:08
Jmama
What exactly do you mean by "max reps"? I suspect in week 1 at 65% and 70% I could do 15-20 reps before failing. Do you really mean I should keep going on each set until just before failure?
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Posted Wed, 10/24/2012 - 22:33
Chad Becker
Steve, I was wondering about how to progress through the 8 weeks. So far I am on week 4 and am excelling quite well from my previous efforts. Should I progress the percentages right along with my progress, or should I maintain the same weight numbers with my previous 1 rep max. I am actually quite surprised with the progress thus far!! Example : Every week I beat my last week's numbers by either poundage or # of reps. Last week: Max sets of 235 x 7, 235 x 6, 235 x 5, 235 x 5. This week: Max sets 245 x 7, 245 x 6, 245 x 5. So should my regimen increase with my progress or should I hold out and just kill the hell out of my previous 1 Rep Max? Thanks
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Posted Mon, 10/29/2012 - 17:24
Mikw
Hi steve, I was a little confused when you said max reps for the last couple sets of you workout. Should I be going to failure, or should I do as many reps as I can without going to failure? I heard that going to failure was for body building not strength. Thanks, Michael
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Posted Wed, 10/31/2012 - 16:02
Jake
Hey Steve I have a question. On day 1 should I run straight through Bench workout A and then do the assistance exercises after. And the same thing on Day 4 with Workout B and the assistance exercises? Or do I do the first set(bar) and then do an assistance exercise then return to the bench for the second set(
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Posted Thu, 11/01/2012 - 20:56
Jon Lawrence
I was about to start this routine. do you think doing 5/3/1 for my deadlift and squat days is fine? also will it be ok if i do dumbell shoulder press on both bench days? and weighted pullups instead of the back exercises?
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Posted Fri, 11/02/2012 - 19:30
doug
how much should this increase your 1rm after the full 8 weeks
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Posted Thu, 11/08/2012 - 15:06
Bob
I was wondering if this is a good type of work out to help me push through my plateau for benching?
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Posted Mon, 11/12/2012 - 20:06
matt
when you say eat more do you mean carbs protein or fat if i eat 30% protein 50% carbs and 20% fat.
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Posted Tue, 11/13/2012 - 21:16
Steven Plouffe
Hey Steve, I am 15 and workout at my high school I can only get rides home on Monday Wednesday and Friday do you think it would be ok if I did workout A on Monday, The squat day on Wednesday and Workout B on Friday?
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Posted Wed, 11/14/2012 - 18:51
Steven Plouffe
Hey Steve, I have one question I am a freshman in high school so I can only get rides home on certain days Monday Wednesday and Friday I have recently been doing workout A on Monday and B on Friday will it still have the same effect if I do it on Friday instead of Thursday?
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Posted Thu, 11/22/2012 - 00:26
Eddie
This workout was excellent got my max up by 20 lbs after the 8 weeks
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 11/27/2012 - 15:55
Steven
Excellent!
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Posted Mon, 11/26/2012 - 18:18
Stephen Johnson
Steve, would you reccomend doing the assistance exercises before or after benching? I would guess after but not sure what would be best.
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 11/27/2012 - 15:56
Steven
Definitely after.
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Posted Wed, 11/28/2012 - 14:00
Matt
Hey Steve, I love the workout, but I have 2 questions. On the assistance exercises I don't see any chest workouts, so only do bench for chest? Also, on the last day you mention if you can do 105, go to 107.5% then do 107.5. Then if you can do 107.5 go to 110% then do 110%. Does this mean that if I am strong enough to go up I will be doing 2 sets of 1 rep for both the 107.5 and 110? Or am I only doing 1 set of each?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/28/2012 - 15:47
Steven
The 2 days a week of benching are plenty for chest. Add to that 3 extra sets of dumbbell benches or close grips and that will be more than enough to build your bench, and more muscle.
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Posted Mon, 12/17/2012 - 20:02
Kevin
Steve, Thanks for this program. I may have undershot my 1rm when I started, but working with a max of 250 on day one of week six I hit 14 reps at 225. This may sound like BS, but thanks for posting this. It WORKS.
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Posted Thu, 12/20/2012 - 14:57
Chris
Steve, Is it bad to do cardio on the off-days just to stay active? I realize that this will burn the extra calories that are taken in, but it won't affect the overall strength building will it? Should I limit my exercise to the allotted exercises on the 4 days?
Joey's picture
Posted Fri, 12/21/2012 - 13:55
Joey
Cardio has great health benefits and you can certainly keep active on "off days". I would still recommend getting one complete day of rest per week. If you're looking to build muscle then you'll simply need to increase calories to make up for it.
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Posted Sun, 01/13/2013 - 17:33
David
Am i reading this wrong? I'm reading this as about 12 sets of bench on every bench day? Not trashing it, but at any busy gym somebody would complain that you're hogging a bench.
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Posted Sun, 01/20/2013 - 05:06
robbyanderson
hi there great article! i was just wondering what you would think if i were to add a second squat day to this training spilt, so i would do bench press day squat day rest day bench press day squat day rest day dead lift/back do you this this 5 day split would be a bit of an overkill? thank a lot i look forward to hearing what you have to say
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Posted Tue, 01/22/2013 - 09:02
Caleb
Can I use the same percentages for squat and dead lift days?
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Posted Tue, 01/29/2013 - 06:38
MARK FEIST
can't squat heavy anymore at 48 ive had 10 surgerys leg presses work instead
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Posted Sun, 02/03/2013 - 16:41
omar
hi steve I played your 8 week bench press program but at week 8 i didn't gain any power growth all i feel now - which is by the way 1 week after the 8 weeks finished - is exhausting pain in all of my joints also my 100% rep -1 r m- is not getting up any more i have tried it for 2 times now once in the 8th week when i didn't lift any new percentage 105% nor 107.5% nor 110% what shall i do considering that i used amino tablets-4 pills before workout and 4 pills after - along with your program , resting and eating i want to know your opinion in this problem and what shall i do
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Posted Tue, 02/19/2013 - 20:01
Wyatt
Hello im 15 and looking for a good workout that will boost my bench press. Is this possible without squats or anything else a would like to find a program that has me lifting every weekday and resting on weekends my max bench is 150 if that matters but id like to find a program about 10 weeks long that can help me get it close to 200. Any help would be awesome.

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