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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62 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 04/22/2015 - 21:09
Bobo

Steve, I must say that this cycle is golden and is the only one that has helped me make gains besides smolov jr. I have used this cycle for over 2 years now and it continues to make linear gains for me.

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Posted Mon, 02/09/2015 - 00:53
Ryan

So how often should I be testing my 1RM? I mean, it should be increasing over the 8-week course, right? If this assumes a fixed-1RM then where are the gains? Please, please help me with this!!

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Posted Fri, 01/30/2015 - 20:14
Scott

Starting this program on Sunday.With a 350 1rm and at 185lb body weight.

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Posted Thu, 05/15/2014 - 16:30
Matthew Wyatt

So in the last sets of 4, how many reps should you be aiming for? 5, 6, 7. What would be considered passing. Ususally there is a pass or fail when you max out reps. I would like to know a number of reps to hit for the last 4 sets? Thanks

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Posted Wed, 04/09/2014 - 12:21
Dwayne Miller

Steve, I think the program is working great. I started off with a one time max of 240 and on week seven I was able to do 240 three times. I am confused on week 8. When you say rest does that mean just on Monday but do the leg day on Tuesday and then the one time max on Thursday or rest all together and only do the thursday routine?

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Posted Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:09
raul

Steve, thank you for writing this greate article, im gonna start the 8 weeks for my third time, great gains on the bench press!

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Posted Sun, 08/18/2013 - 12:59
gabriel

how much more am i going to bench by the end of the program

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Posted Mon, 04/22/2013 - 11:12
Robert Francis ...

Ha, "It's time to build up your paltry bench press." Bench press is everyone's best lift

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Posted Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:06
jacob mehr

dear steve this builder helps im 15 and bench press 310 at max out my name is jacob mehr i was at 320 but i took a small break now im at 310 and my arm sise is at 18 inches flexed but you are like a pro body builder and i want your output on this since im so young and thats a good bench for my age. so if you could contact me back about this

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Posted Wed, 02/27/2013 - 21:56
tyler johnson

can you use this program and do decline bench instead of flat bench press

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Posted Wed, 02/27/2013 - 21:55
tyler johnson

can you use this program and do decline bench instead of flat bench press

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Posted Tue, 02/19/2013 - 20:10
wyatt

hello im 15 and looking for a program that is about 10 weeks long that has me benching every weekday and resting on weekends i only have dumbbells from 30lb to 80lb and a bench and a bar with about 250lb in weight. my current max is 150 and id really like to get it up to 200 by the end of the school year if any one could find me a program that would be awesome.

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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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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, 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 Tue, 01/22/2013 - 09:02
Caleb

Can I use the same percentages for squat and dead lift days?

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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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 11/01/2012 - 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 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 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, 10/24/2012 - 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, 10/22/2012 - 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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.