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Big Bench Primer

If you want to bench more, you'll need to know how to program your training. Here's your introduction.

Rob Fitzgerald

I’m going to start off my inaugural Muscle and Fitness Online training article with an answer - of sorts - to the one question everyone will always ask you when you’re a guy who goes to the gym:

How much do you bench?

The advice I’m about to offer will help you answer this question in a way you can be prouder of each month as you make progress. The idea here is to continue making small gains over a large period of time, because that’s how getting bigger and stronger works - you peck away at personal records a pound at a time until the calendar works its magic and you’ve put in enough work to start putting up big weights.

If I told you that I could get you five pounds per month on your max bench press, you’d tell me to take a hike, right? Look at how this really works, though. If you bench, say, 255 right now, and I gave you a piece of paper and asked you to sign off on a 315 pound bench for a month from now, would you take it?

You’re darned right you would, because I highly doubt you’ve gone from 195 to your current 255 over the past year. This won’t happen overnight, because that’s not how things work in the weight room. You have to plot out your training in an intelligent manner, take a look at what’s working and what’s not, and understand the big picture.

A Word on Technique

I’ll address proper bench press form in later articles, I promise. Form and technique are crucial for developing a big bench, but before I actually tell you the keys to learning these things, I want to outline some training concepts so you can understand how a long-term schedule works.