My friend Shawn Hayes and I started training together, and his goal was to get his bench up to a new personal record. We had trained together years ago and both worked up to benching around 350 pounds. Not bad.
After healing from injuries and not training as hard for some time, he was ready to get serious again and break 350. That would be a sign that he was not only back in shape but also ready to push himself to new levels.
We developed the following program—and we know it works. After only eight weeks we had both improved our bench by more than 40 pounds and Shawn had broken his personal record by 30 pounds.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a partner for this program.
Obviously, this bench program is something that has to be shared. Here it is with all the details—so you can implement it in your own routine and blast up a new P.R.
Before we get started, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a partner for this program. First, you need someone you trust to spot you with the heavy poundage. Second, having someone as dedicated as you are to making gains will keep you both competitive and motivated—which is a crucial combination on a program like this.
Step 1: Determine Your Numbers
On your first day you need to max out so you know what your current one-rep max is. Let’s say it’s 300 pounds. That will be the hypothetical example for this description of how the program works.
To find your numbers, multiple your current one-rep max by .45. For the 300-pound example that comes to 135. So you do your first set with 135 pounds.
During the workout you increase the weight on each successive set by 5 percent of your starting one-rep max. So multiply that number by .05 to determine how much poundage to add—for 300 pounds it’s 15.
Step 2: Your First Workout