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The workout program to bench press 10% more weight

Add weight to your bench press in just six weeks by fighting the urge to "pile it on."

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The workout program to bench press 10% more weight

The secret to getting stronger isn’t just about lifting as heavy as possible.

That sounds strange, we know. But repeatedly loading up the bar and straining your muscles only leads to injuries and burnout.

If you stick to this program, you’ll be able to bench so much weight that the bar bends—but you’ll have to check your ego at the door for it to work. Do that, and you could increase your bench press max by 10% and up to 20lbs total.

How it works

You’re going to fight the urge to load up the bar and hold back a little bit on all of your bench press sets. You’ll still use challenging weights, but doing fewer reps than you’re capable of will keep you healthy and progress you gradually.

In Week 6, you’ll test your max—yes, you can go all-out then—and you’ll see where all of that extra energy you saved went. Note that some exercises are taken to failure. These are the ones we’re not as concerned about lifting heavy with—you’ll use them to stimulate the muscles that support big benching, so only push hard where noted.

Directions

This program has you working on your bench press twice per week (Day 1 and Day 2)—except on Weeks 5 and 6, when you’ll get the second day off. Perform your own lower-body training on the days in between.

Routine

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Make the Bar Bend: Week 1

Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
5
Rest
--
Exercise 2 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
2
Reps
2
Rest
--
Pause the bar at your chest for one second each rep.
Exercise 3 of 1

Dumbbell Flye

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
As many as possible
Rest
--
Exercise 4 of 1

Inverted Row

Equipment
Power Rack
Sets
4
Reps
15
Rest
--

Make the Bar Bend: Week 1

Day 2

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 5 of 1

Dumbbell Bench Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
--
Exercise 6 of 1

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
--
Exercise 7 of 1

Bentover Row

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
--
Exercise 8 of 1

Shrug

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
--
Exercise 9 of 1

Face Pull

Equipment
Cable Machine
Sets
3
Reps
20
Rest
--
Exercise 10 of 1

Tate Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
5
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 11 of 1

Dumbbell Curl

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
5
Reps
8
Rest
--

Make the Bar Bend: Week 2

Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 12 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
5
Reps
4
Rest
--
Exercise 13 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
2
Reps
1
Rest
--
Pause the bar at your chest for two seconds each rep.
Exercise 14 of 1

Chest Cable Flye

Equipment
Cable Machine
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
--
Exercise 15 of 1

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
15 (each side)
Rest
--

Make the Bar Bend: Week 2

Day 2

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 16 of 1

Neutral-Grip Incline Press

Equipment
Bench
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Use a close grip.
Exercise 17 of 1

Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 18 of 1

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 19 of 1

Lat Pulldown

Equipment
Cable Machine
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 20 of 1

Tate Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
6
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 21 of 1

Dumbbell Curl

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
6
Reps
8
Rest
--

Make the Bar Bend: Week 3

Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 22 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
6
Reps
4
Rest
--
Exercise 23 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
2
Reps
3
Rest
--
Pause the bar at your chest for one second each rep.
Exercise 24 of 1

Pushup

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
As many as possible, minus 1
Rest
--
How to
Exercise 25 of 1

Inverted Row

Equipment
Power Rack
Sets
5
Reps
At least 15
Rest
--

Make the Bar Bend: Week 3

Day 2

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 26 of 1

Floor Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 27 of 1

1 1/4 Neutral-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
10
Rest
--
Exercise 28 of 1

Bentover Row

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 29 of 1

Shrug

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
8
Rest
--
Use a barbell.
Exercise 30 of 1

Triceps Pushdown

Equipment
Elastic Band
Sets
5
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 31 of 1

Lying cable curl

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine
Sets
5
Reps
12
Rest
--

Make the Bar Bend: Week 4

Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 32 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
3
Rest
--
Exercise 33 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
1
Reps
3
Rest
--
Pause the bar at your chest for one second each rep.
Exercise 34 of 1

Dumbbell Bench Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
12-15
Rest
--
Exercise 35 of 1

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
12-15
Rest
--

Make the Bar Bend: Week 4

Day 2

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 36 of 1

Floor Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
5
Reps
5
Rest
--
Hold each rep for one second.
Exercise 37 of 1

Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 38 of 1

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 39 of 1

Bentover Row

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 40 of 1

Triceps Pushdown

Equipment
Elastic Band
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
--
Exercise 41 of 1

Lying cable curl

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
--

Make the Bar Bend: Week 5

Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 42 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
2
Rest
--
Exercise 43 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
1
Reps
1
Rest
--
Hold each rep for one second.
Exercise 44 of 1

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--

Make the Bar Bend: Week 6

Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 45 of 1

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
1
Rest
--
Take a few warm-up sets to prepare your body and then attempt a new one-rep max.
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