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12 Weeks To A Bigger Bench Press

How much do you bench? If you feel it's never enough, then this 12 week specialization cycle is for you. Give this program a try and beef up your bench in no time.

Workout Summary

Increase Strength
Single Muscle Group
Beginner
3
Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

So, how much do you bench?

Odds are at someone point in every man's life he will be asked this question. While the bench press is not always a great indicator of strength, it is the movement your average person knows best, and a favorite amongst most gym goers.

So now let's take that bench press to a respectable number! Assuming all things related to form are correct, there are a handful of key points to focus on when building a bigger bench press.

Improving your chest strength

The first one is obvious, chest strength. Obviously there are a number of movements to build a bigger and stronger chest. The ones we will focus on will be the bench, pause bench, and incline dumbbell bench.

These done in a correct combination and rep range will add quality size and strength to your chest. That is not to say there are not other important aspects of the chest, but we are trying to build a bigger bench NOW.

Improving your triceps strength

The second area we will focus on is triceps. The triceps are a big mover of the bench, especially the top end of the movement. Most often when people fail on the bench before lockout it is due to weak triceps.

There are lots of ways to fix this, but for a beginner lifter, there is no need to overcomplicate things. For the purpose of this training template we will focus on close grip bench, dumbbell skull crushers, and push downs.

Bench Press

Improving your upper back strength

The third area that we will focus on is the upper back. Look at the biggest bench pressers in the world. None of these guys have a small back.

Having a bigger back allows for a larger surface areas to push off of. It will also allow you to control the weight as it comes down to your chest. And besides, who doesn't want a big back?

Improving your shoulder strength

A forth area that will help move your bench press is that of the shoulders. For this you will focus on overhead press work.

In most cases this will not be heavy. Just continue to grow weak points that may surface as you get stronger.

12 week bench press program

For the purpose of this training program we will focus three days of each week on the four previously listed areas. This is not to say you should neglect your legs and other areas. Just know that the bench press will be your current focus for the next 12 weeks.

Day one. Day one is a bench training workout. This is the day where we focus on the bench press as the main lift, and follow up with two accessory exercises.

Day two. Day two will be an upper back day with all work supporting the upper back. This will be followed by some light overhead press work, or overhead press work followed by upper back movements.

This day will allow for some recovery and build a bigger base to bench from. The first movement of the day is the heaviest, and the movements that follow are auxiliary work and should not be done with a weight that causes failure.

Day three. Day three will be a bench assistance day. You will do a bench press movement, followed my more tricep work.

You will use either a close grip bench or a paused bench for the main movement of the day. This will be whatever lift that was not used as an auxiliary movement on day one. It is followed by two tricep exercises to end the training day.

Let's take a look at a sample template.

Bench Press Program
Day One
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 *see below
Close Grip Bench Press or Paused Bench Press 3 8
Dumbbell Skullcrushers or Tricep Extensions 3 8/20
Bench Press Program
Day Two
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Rows or Military Press 3 6
Pull Ups or One Arm Dumbbell Rows 3 5-10/10
Military Press or Lat Pull Downs 3 8/10
Bench Press Program
Day Three
Exercise Sets Reps
Paused Bench Press or Close Grip Bench Press 3 10
Dumbbell Bench Press or Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 20
Tricep Extensions or Dumbbell Skullcrushers 3 20

Program notes

Bench press reps are cycled as follows:

  • Weeks 1 & 2 - 3 sets x 6 reps
  • Weeks 3 & 4 - 3 sets x 5 reps
  • Weeks 5 & 6 - 3 sets x 4 reps
  • Week 7 - 3 sets x 3 reps
  • Weeks 8, 9 & 10 - 3 sets x 2 reps
  • Week 11 - Complete rest
  • Week 12 - Test your new one rep max

Week 11 is a rest week. Do not workout during this week.

When 2 exercise choices are listed, you are to alternate these exercises week to week. For example, on day one you would start with dumbbell skullcrushers during week one for 3 sets of 8 reps, and then do 3 sets of 20 reps for tricep extensions during week 2.

Your complete week one, day one workout would be:

  • Bench Press - 3 sets
  • Close Grip Bench Press - 3 sets x 8 reps
  • Dumbbell Skullcrushers - 3 sets x 8 reps

Your complete week two, day one workout would be:

  • Bench Press - 3 sets
  • Paused Bench Press - 3 sets x 8 reps
  • Tricep Extensions - 3 sets x 20 reps

23 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 10/31/2014 - 11:43
hendrik

hey I am looking for a completed gym workout for 5 days a week I want to gain size and build muscle please sent me something

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Posted Mon, 10/27/2014 - 00:04
aaron

This helped out great i used natural whey suppliment and now i feel like im a new person thanx

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Posted Sun, 10/26/2014 - 19:20
Owin

Hi I'm 15 and I am looking to get a huge gain on my bench. I weigh 145 and my max bench is 150. What should I start repping at for this 12 week bench program?

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Posted Thu, 08/20/2015 - 17:06
vittorio

I would just do 110 to start out

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Posted Sun, 10/26/2014 - 19:15
Owin

Hi, I'm 15 and I'm trying to get big gain on my bench. I weigh 145 and my max is 150. What should I start repping at for this 12 week program?

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Posted Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:35
Roberto Alarcón

Hi, I want to know with how much weigh I should start? and how to increase it.
right now my max bench press is 225lbs.

should I go for the max during training, should I add weigh on each week?

What kind of exercises should I do on resting days? biceps? squats? shoulder?

thanks!

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Posted Sat, 05/31/2014 - 02:15
Ricardo

Is for example Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Is that good for the 3 days speaking generally now

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Posted Sat, 05/03/2014 - 21:15
Bronco

I'm not sure how hard I should be pushing on these assistance movements.
close to failure on the last set of every movement? or will that be too much volume to recover from?

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Posted Mon, 04/07/2014 - 23:41
Dusty Rhodes

What weight should u start at

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Posted Sat, 04/05/2014 - 00:24
nav

what should rest period between set ? Thx

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Posted Thu, 04/03/2014 - 17:57
Pepe

Lbs????

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Posted Fri, 03/28/2014 - 10:56
Jfran

What should be the barbell weight? I am 80kg. Thanks!

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Posted Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:35
Jonathan Byrd

There maybe some confusion on my end with your question, but I do believe you are asking me what weight to use? That will vary from person to person, but you should select a weight in which you complete all the number of reps. If you fail to get that number of reps, lower the weight for the next set.

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Posted Wed, 03/26/2014 - 04:10
bannie

mr Byrd,what do you recoment as the best bodybuilding supplemen?

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Posted Thu, 03/27/2014 - 12:20
Jonathan Byrd

Food! Nothing can replace a solid diet, but if you want me to pick a supplement. A good whey protein or some quality BCAA's will be a staple for most.

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Posted Fri, 12/23/2016 - 03:25
Samuel

Yeah!!

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Posted Mon, 03/24/2014 - 05:14
bannie

thanx for the program its really working GREAT

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Posted Tue, 03/25/2014 - 08:24
Jonathan Byrd

I am glad to hear it is working for you. Let me know how it worked out when you finish up.

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Posted Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:04
pedro

and lots of flys too.....

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Posted Fri, 03/14/2014 - 12:25
Jonathan Byrd

The workout should be spread out over the week. The other days of training should be dedicated to legs and lower back. Typically a squat focus and a deadlift focus day. Hope that answers your question.

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Posted Thu, 03/13/2014 - 14:14
chase

should day 1,2 and 3 be done in a row or any day of rest between the three?

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Posted Fri, 03/14/2014 - 12:38
Jonathan Byrd

No, the 3 days should be spaced out through the week based on your ability to recover and your schedule. Other days should be worked in with a primary focus on squats and deadlifts. Hope that answered your question.

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Posted Tue, 12/02/2014 - 21:16
L

hey this is a good program to follow but it doesn't tell you how much weight or at what percentage to start at or when to increase the weight.