When Should You Increase The Weight When Bench Pressing?

Expert Gino Caccavale answers our reader's question.

Expert Q&A: When to Increase weight when bench pressing

Question: How often should I increase the weight loads in a bench press to build strength?

Answer:  “Think progression, not max weight. Making small incremental gains weekly is more effective than slapping your goal weight on the bar right away,” says Gino Caccavale, Hers technical adviser. Bench just once a week, or at minimum take five days’ rest between workouts. Do six sets of five reps for 30 reps total, and start at 80% of what you usually begin with for the first set (not including your warmup). Increase by five pounds every set, keeping proper form. Each bench session, “add five pounds to last session’s starting weight. This may seem easy in Weeks 1 and 2 but will get harder as the weeks go on,” Caccavale says. “Training progressively overloads muscles without pushing to exhaustion or risking injury like some max-rep programs. By six to eight weeks, your bench will increase substantially.”