The 6-Week Bench Press Power Boosting Workout Routine

If your goal is to pack on the weight and increase your bench press, this simple and proven bench press workout routine is sure to boost your performance.

“How much do you bench press”?

The age-old question for anyone that works out. Bench press has always been one of the core exercises to base your strength. Chances are if you can bench your own weight, you’ve been training for some time.

Yet bench press is not just an exercise to use as a measure of strength – its one of the best exercises to train your power, and bar speed.

If you struggle to answer the question of how much you bench, or maybe you struggle to be proud of the number, then this 6-week bench press power boosting workout routine is perfect for you.


Bench Press Anatomy

Many people know that the bench press is an exercise that primarily targets the chest, but did you know that the triceps, shoulders and upper back muscles are primary movers?

Bench Press Anatomy

What do we mean by primary movers? Take the example of squat – the knee and the hip are primary movers, which is why you train the quads and glutes as main muscles during the squat.

When the bench press is analyzed using this method we see that movement occurs at the elbow, shoulder and scapular region.

The elbow and shoulder are the two systems which take the most amount of stress – these are load-bearing joints.

The main anatomical systems we want to train in order to increase our bench is the triceps brachii, pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, serratus anterior and the rhomboids.

Why Do People Arch Their Back During Bench Press?

Scapular Retraction - Slightly retracting the scapula.

A very common technique used to increase the weight and decrease the range of motion during a bench press is an arched back position.

You may have seen some people do this at the gym, especially if they are training for a competition. For the purposes of our program, the only arch in the back will be to slightly retract the scapula.

Increasing Your Bench Press: Periodization Techniques

There is a simple saying in the strength world; you want to increase your bench press you must bench. This is true, yet focussing on the same bench press movement over and over again can lead to injury or training plateaus.

One of the ways we can continue to induce strength and hypertrophy during a bench press program is to utilize bar speed.

Bar Speed

Bar speed is the speed at which you lower the bar to your chest, and press it up into the finished position. Slow bar speed is used to warm-up the muscles and activate the tissue. A faster bar speed is used to increase power and weight.

Next time you are under the bar, try a slow bar speed, and a fast bar speed. You will immediately notice that by using a faster bar speed you are able to press more weight. You should utilize a slower bar speed during recovery weeks and a faster bar speed during hypertrophy weeks.

Recovery Techniques

Bench training recovery techniques

Recovery – one of the most overlooked components of any fitness program, nevermind a bench training program. The most important aspect to remember with a bench training is the constant stress you will be placing on the shoulder.

During a bench press, the elbow collapses and passes its weight to the shoulder. Many people who train bench without a recovery program will have tight shoulders and a forward shoulder roll – indicative of overdeveloped pecs and anterior deltoids.

We can recover the shoulder with simple stability exercises with a band. Find a pull-up bar or anything you can tie a light resistance band to.

  1. Recover the shoulder with simple stability exercises with a bandGrip the resistance band and pull down so that your arms are adducted (tucked into your hip)
  2. Face your palm forward
  3. Retract your scapula, extend your thoracic spine
  4. Slowly rotate your arm at the shoulder in small circles counterclockwise and clockwise

Perform 10-12 rotations in each direction and switch arms. This exercise will teach your shoulder to be strong in a particular range of motion.

If swelling occurs in the shoulder do your best to ice, rest and compress to reduce the swelling!

Warm Up And Cool Down

A complete warm-up is one of the best ways to ensure you can bench heavy every training session without running into injury. At the end of the day, we must not forget that the purpose of a bench program is to increase the total weight (Your 1 Rep Max).

This means we need to bench heavier and heavier, even when we are deloading.

The Warm-up

Keep it simple. Your goal when warming up for the bench is to warm up mobilize the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. It’s best to start off with some accessory exercises like pushups, dips, and work into mobility exercises with a band.

Once you feel warm you should use %max to work up in weight. Let’s use the example of your first exercise.

Flat Bench8321X090

Assuming your 8RM is 185 lbs (~84 kg), your warm-up progressions would be.

4 Reps @ 50% – 95 lbs (~43 kg)
4 Reps @ 80% – 145 lbs (~65 kg)
4 Reps @ 80% – 145 lbs (~65 kg)

Then move into your working sets. Your working sets are the ones described in your programming.

Cool Down

The best cool down is one that emphases the reduction in swelling of the shoulder, neck and chest. Static stretching can be used in order to increase range of motion, but myofascial release (rolling) will only work to inflame the area – which could lead to injury.

One of my favorite techniques to open up the shoulder and chest after a hard bench workout is a dead hang. Simple and effective – utilize a pullup bar to hang and relax for a total of 120s.

Now that we understand how to take care of the shoulder and what systems are at work – lets take a look at your 6-week Bench Press Workout Routine.

Your Workout Overview

Main Goal:Build muscle, Build strength, Hypertrophy
Workout Type:Split
Training Level:Intermediate
Program Duration:6 weeks, 3 week cycles
Days Per Week:3-4 days/week
Time Per Workout:90-120 min
Equipment Required:Barbell, Dumbbell, Machine, Resistance Band
Target Gender:Male/Female
Author:Gabriello Ianniruberto – Strength Expert, CSEP – CPT

Before you get started there are a couple things you should know.

Your bench press workout routine is going to be the primary goal of your program, yet you will have other exercises and workouts to balance your body and promote strength.

The following workouts are to be completed 36-48 hours apart. You should do your best to hit your chest 2-3x each week. In each of these workouts, the reps and sets will tell you everything you need to know about the amount of weight and work you put into the exercise.

Example: If you have an exercise like dips – at an 8 reps x 3 sets – you can put on a moderate amount of weight. Considering there are only three sets you can work harder than if there were 4 sets.

In contrast a set of incline bench at a 4×2 means high weight for minimal sets. Your weight and intensity should be very high – you only have to complete two sets.

Bench Schedule and Workout Plan, Weeks 1,2 (Hypertrophy)

  • Day 1: Flat Power
  • Day 2: Rest/Active Recovery
  • Day 3: Accessory Exercises
  • Day 4: Rest/Active Recovery
  • Day 5: Hypertrophy
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Off
Flat Bench8321X090
Neutral Grip Press64310190
DB Fly123201090
California Press123211090
Incline Bench83211090
Landmine Press64210190
Machine Press, Flat12320X090
Reverse Grip Bench8321X090
Flat Bench ¼ Reps6321X090
Floor Press43310190
Decline Press4320X090

Bench Schedule and Workout Plan – Week 3 (Recovery Week)

  • Day 1: Flat Strength
  • Day 2: Rest/Active Recovery
  • Day 3: Accessory Exercises
  • Day 4: Rest/Active Recovery
  • Day 5: Range of Motion
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Off
Flat Bench832110120
DB Floor Press643101120
DB Fly832010120
Incline DB Press (Neutral Grip)642110120
Landmine Press, Single Arm832101120
Machine Press, Flat12320X0120
Reverse Grip Bench8321X0120
Flat Bench ¼ Reps6321X0120
Floor Press433101120
Decline Press432010120

Your bench press training guide should follow a similar overload format for two weeks, followed by one week of active resting (3-week cycles). Then utilize progressive overload to increase the weight and induce hypertrophy for strength. Repeat this 3 week cycle with increased weight and a more difficult tempo. For information see our tempo training guide.

The main difference here is to ensure more rest and less stress on the muscle. The reps and sets should still work for you, but if you are hitting max weights during week three you are not allowing for enough recovery.

Do yourself a favor and check out our P.H.U.L workout routine. There is an in-depth section on how to utilize overload techniques for simple progressions.

If your goal is to pack the weight on in bench press, this simple and proven bench press workout routine is sure to boost your performance.

For best results, make sure you are recording all your weight, reps and sets and progressing as needed in the coming weeks.