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The Big Bench: The Basics & Beyond The Big Bench: The Basics & Beyond
Raw hardcore Bench routine, tips & tricks!
By: J-Rock
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The Big Bench: The Basics & Beyond

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A raw bone training split to gain power and strength in your bench and all other lifts!

Last updated on October 08, 2019

At one point or another, most serious lifters will get the question, "Man, you're pretty big. How much do you bench?" That question can either be one of the most annoying questions in the world or an opportunity for some to get a date, a personal training client or even a workout partner. Most of the time, the person being asked will "pad" their answer depending on who is askingĂ…c If it's a guy, how big he is. If it's a girl, what color hair she has. Still, to lie to yourself is far a worse act than seeking unearned praise. Why not just get stronger?

I have been lifting seriously now for eight years and have competed in all sorts of sports including triathlons, football, bodybuilding, strongman, and powerlifting. One thing that I have noticed through all of these is that they are all related in a lot of ways. I trained the same way with pretty much the same weight five weeks out of the Southeastern USA Bodybuilding show as I did for the Olympia and King of the Bench Competitions. I did the same amount of reps before football practice as I did before lifting in The Cage at the Arnold. Here are a few things that I have found helpful and a few rules that I base my workouts on that have helped me to get to where I am and continue to get stronger as each day passes.

Training Split

Like I said before, I started off lifting heavy in bodybuilding so to this day, this is how my workout split is arranged. I believe that to gain strength in a muscle, you must completely annihilate each muscle group worked. If you do this, you will not only need most of the week to recover, but will in turn end up working smaller muscle groups more than once through secondary training.

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For example, if you do chest on Monday, your triceps will get a pounding as well so doing them a few days later gives them enough time to recuperate for the actual triceps day. Also, I still train every muscle group because I don't want to be that guy who has a big bench but little legs or no back. It is important to push as much as you pull to keep a good and even balance in your muscle groups which will help prevent injuries and get rid of the guy who says, "I used to bench that much, but I blew out my shoulder." Here is my training split with exercises I do every week no matter what. I've also included my gym lifts.

My Split

Monday: Chest

Tuesday: Back

Wednesday: Shoulders

Thursday: Biceps/Forearms

Friday: Triceps

Saturday: Legs

Sunday: Rest

With this split, I get enough rest between complementary muscle groups like chest and tris, back and bis, etc. I do add a few more exercises to each workout but try to get the power movements in first so I'm 100% on them. The little stuff at the end just gives me a little extra pump and fills me up a little more. It also allows me to get the big, power movements knocked out early in the week and Saturday, I have the whole day to prepare myself for a big squat. I also know that I have the entire next day to lie around and do nothing so I better step it up a notch and make it worth my time.

My Gym Lifts

Setting Goals

Setting goals, both short-term and long-term, are a very important process to me. This is not only true for bench but on every lift as well. If you think about it, benching involves not only chest and triceps, but is also very dependant on deltoid and trap strength as well as back strength as a base. Flaring your lats creates a wider base for the bench and in turn generates more power. I set goals for military press, hangcleans, incline bench, close-grip bench, single-arm overhead extensions, anything and everything that will improve my numbers. This is where you will see the greatest improvements in your bench. Working the auxiliary muscles to come together and work as a whole is the best change you can make to increase your bench press.

General Rules

Here are some rules I try to follow. Some are easier than others and some not possible in some cases, but all should help in the effort to increase your bench press.

#1 Listen to your body.

If, during a workout, you hurt yourself, strain something, pop something, stop there. There is no bigger sign that your body telling you, "Quit this shit now." I'd much rather cut a workout short than keep going and make it worse so I miss the next three weeks of lifting.

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#2 Eat more, sleep more.

Simply put, you can always do more of each. I am currently in a phase of my diet where I eat steak twice a day, chicken twice a day, three shakes a day, and carbs all day long. Once you think you're eating enough, eat more, but eat clean. Fat doesn't lift any weight. Sleeping is obviously when you actually grow so for someone to beat themselves up in the gym and waste it by not sleeping is the biggest mistake they could make. Rest up for the next workoutĂ…c You'd be surprised what a good night's rest will do for a bench press.

#3 Workout with someone stronger.

Someone stronger than me always motivates me to go farther than I would've otherwise. Whether it is because I don't want to take a plate off of what he just did or because I don't want someone to catch me, that extra push is sometimes the difference between a good bencher and a great bencher. If this isn't possible, get a workout partner that knows how to push you to your next level and do the same for him.

#4 Go hard and heavy.

Bigger benches come from benching heavy. Lower the reps and increase the weight. After warming up, I pyramid by doing reps of five, three, three, two, one, and then a drop set to failure. Every now and then it's good for reps but I go heavy three out of four weeks.

#5 Don't waste time.

When I go to the gym, I go there for one and only one reason--to get bigger and stronger. I'm not there to impress anyone, to talk to girls, to see who's going out that night, none of that. Working out is an investment you put into yourself and anything worth doing is worth doing right. You get out of it what you put in, so give it your all. Don't leave anything in the gym.

#6 Forced reps.

I love forced reps because it pushed me beyond my limit. If I bench something I could get twice but do it five times with a spot, I've gone way past my limits and only made myself stronger. Don't leave anything!

This is the training I have done for the last eight years and have managed to increase my numbers in all of my lifts. The exercises and lifts will go hand in hand with each other. I hurt my shoulder and stopped doing military presses for a few months and my bench went down drastically. When I started back at them, my bench shot back up and past what it previously was.

This method is what I did to get where I am, the rest is up to you. Training like this is hardcore and definitely not for everyone. It is a way of life and is one of the things that will define you in life. Respect is not given, it is earned.


Tags: Bemch Press

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