Come Find Out The REALISTIC Timeline To Increase Your Bench
July 21st 2019
Whether you want to increase your bench press by 50lbs or 100lbs in the next few weeks or months, you will see a ton of programs that are supposed to help you for that. I’m here to tell you that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
I have been strength training for over 6 years and my best bench was a 230lbs bench press at 170lbs bodyweight… so far. I would be lying if I did not think about trying to run a program that was designed to increase my bench press by 50lbs in 3 months. That is what peaking is for.
So, what I am here is to share some information about the true way of gaining more bench press strength.
How to increase your bench press by 100 lbs
- Taking your rests and deloads seriously
- Pushing your upper limits in the gym
- Have proper programming
Rest and deloads are paramount
You may have heard that lifting weights is an old man sport. Whether this is true or not, we all have different reasons for going to the weight room. But since we are talking about the bench press, I am confident that we all have a common goal - we want to bench press more weight.
The first thing that all lifters must realize is that what we do in the short term has lasting and compounding effects in the long term. And what do I mean by that?
By resting and taking great care of your body, you are priming yourself for a long, lifetime pursuit of crushing a huge bench press. If you do not believe me, trust that Swimhack’s advice, a 600+lbs bencher with a little over 4 years of powerlifting training when he made that video.
One of the most important points is that you should treat your body as if you are borderline injured. This will put you in the right mindset to do all the right things to prepare you for your next training session. You will probably stay home more, keep stress low and get some recovery treatment. You will eat good food and make sure you feel great. You will be moving around. These are just some of the many ways you can prime your body for a killer training session.
What if I have to work, study, etc?
Look, not everyone is going to live a “perfect” life, whatever that means. The main point is this if you have the ability to make excuses for why you cannot better rest your body for the next training session, maybe you do not want a big bench bad enough. Those lifters who want it… will make sure their life revolves around their training.
There are some lifters who also preach that you should not revolve everything around lifting. And there are two main types of people - those who are actually obsessed and living their lives around the gym and those who are pretending. There are drawbacks and risks that people must take to get what you want. If getting a big bench press was easy, if increasing your bench press by 100lbs was a walk in the park, no one would be talking about it with awe and respect.
The decision is ultimately in your hands. But the one thing you must do is to make sure you are resting a lot.
What to do with actually strains, tweaks, injuries?
There are a ton of opinions about what you should do about injuries. Let us face the facts, if you are trying to get stronger, you will put your body at risk for injury. Sometimes, it may happen. And when it does, what should you do about it?
If you feel that your injury will impact the quality of your workout, take the day off. Swimhack makes it perfectly clear, leaving no gray area. If you cannot exercise your muscle to its fullest potential, do not continue damaging your muscles. Lose the battle to win the war in the future.
Now, keep in mind, there is a distinct difference between an injury and soreness. You can still work out if you are sore and tired. But an actual injury that limits your strength and mobility, you should just stay home and rest.
If you have been following any strength training advice, you may have also read about Stan Efferding’s piece about doing a pain-free movement. This means that instead of doing your main compound lift, you will do some alternate lift that does not hurt at all but still works out the muscle group.
Again, two very different schools of thought and something that every lifter needs to understand. Whether you still go to the gym and do something pain-free or you rest at home, the key concept to learn is that you must understand and listen to your body. There is always a next workout where you can go hard into the gym; you should never be in pain while doing any of your sets.
Pushing your upper limits
Like anything in life, it is the struggles that define you. For the bench press, there will be countless opportunities for you to prove yourself and break your limits. In fact, that should be every time you step into the gym.
If you know you can get more during a particular set and you chose not to do more, you know better. You may have excuses for why you did not push through the weight but ask yourself this question, if you know you have another rep in you AND you could have finished it, you are taking the easy way out. This is the exact situation you must learn to embrace in order to keep getting stronger.
Now, there is a big distinction between pushing your upper limits and selling your soul to the devil to do whatever it takes to get the weight up. In the latter example, you are sacrificing your body in order to achieve probably minimal gains, if any, on the bench press. Whether you decide that is worth it or not it is up to you. Swimhack suggests that no good will come out of absolutely killing your body in the gym with no regard to yourself, your environment and life itself.
Proper programming will get you far
After you got a couple of years of training experience under your belt, you may have discovered that there is a lot of programming concepts you need to learn in order to assemble a solid program. 5/3/1 Forever does a great job of providing you examples of lifelong programming. In addition to that, it also teaches you beyond what is on the pages as well.
If not, there are still tons of free resources online but in 5/3/1 Forever, there are principles and guidelines outlined right in front of you so that you save a ton of time.
With good programming, you can continue to build strength for a long time without hitting any walls. This is important because you build strength with time. You do not build strength by testing it with maxes or meets.
If you find yourself hitting plateaus and stalls mid-cycle of your program, you either messed up your theoretical training maxes or you are not taking your training seriously. In the former, you just screwed up your training numbers by trying to lift too heavy too soon. This is one reason why submaximal training is so popular among the lifter community - it is one of THE best ways to increase your raw strength. In the latter, all programs work and depending on the methodology of the program, you need to decide on whether or not this program was meant to be run for a short period of time or a long period of time.
How do I increase my bench press in a short period of time?
You would run a peaking program to increase your bench press in a short period of time. This way, you are slowly decreasing the amount of volume you do while increasing your intensity. This relationship will result in your body trying to super-compensate in recovery, resulting in higher PR numbers. Keep in mind though that once you run a peaking program, those PRs you hit are not your regular gym records.
They are elevated PRs and should be treated as such when you decide on how you should structure your training after you crush your max rep test. One very popular peaking program for squats and bench presses is Smolov Jr., which is only 4 weeks long. You can read about the program here and access a calculator here.
I have personally not run any peaking programs but I have several pals that have had 30+lbs increases in their bench press PRs after running one cycle of Smolov Jr. bench press. What you do after that is a totally different story.
If you are eager to increase your bench press max, you are probably tired of reading bad and general advice on how to increase your bench press. Warming up properly, using the right muscles, engaging your legs…. Seriously?
Not here. I have researched and implemented the advice I research. Like you, I am also increasing my bench press max by taking my rest seriously, pushing it hard in the gym and finally, doing a very good program that has the extension to be continued forever.
One of your burning questions to have answered is whether or not you can increase your bench press faster. And the honest answer is that building strength will take time. Sure, you may be able to peak for your bench press and hit a 30-50lbs bench press PR but that will not last forever. So, educate yourself on how you should train effectively and you will march on forward with success.