Need a new Bench Press routine

Hey, just your average 34 year old here trying to get a stronger bench press.

Short description of what I’ve been doing as of late:

4x 8, 6, 4, 2

I would begin with the above. The following week would look like:

4x 10, 6, 4, 2
Same weight being used (just increasing reps). Following week:

4x 10, 8, 4, 2 (and so on until the last set is a set of 3)

Afterwards I would start over from the top with 5lbs added to every set and do this on repeat. But recently I’ve got stuck and gains have slowed.

Needing a new routine.

Current 1RM is about 325lbs


Might help to know what else your doing as a whole.


Why not try the “barbell prescription”

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I do 2 chest days. With the particular chest day that I am describing up top.

I am also doing JM tricep press, tricep extensions, close grip bench press with a Larson set up.

On my second day, I usually do incline benchpress, some form of military press, Weighted dips, And some isolated shoulder movements along with an isolated chest movement.

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Hey do you have a link for that? Never heard of it.


No…i have the book

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Nice bench.

It looks like you do a bunch of sets and lot of reps in the bench. And you also do a bunch of work for the individual muscles too.

That’s awesome. But doing all those reps and all that assistance work will limit the weights you can lift in training. To get Stronger, try doing fewer reps, which will lead to bigger weights, and more Practice with low reps.

Check out this “wave loading” scheme where you do a bunch of sets, but jump the weights up each time.

" 3/2/1 Waves Using 88-97/102%

This is quite possibly the most powerful loading scheme you can use to build strength.

Some experts may have spoken out against it, but I’ve seen it work too many times to listen to “theory” and disregard reality. Heck, even Ilya Illyin, arguably the best Olympic lifter at the moment, uses this scheme in his training.

It has a profoundly-stimulating effect on the nervous system, but it can also be draining because of the high neural output.

You perform “waves” of three sets, increasing the weight and decreasing the reps in each set, and resting your normal length of time between sets (and between waves).

If you successfully complete all three sets of a wave without missing a rep, you proceed to another wave of three sets with more weight than the preceding wave. I recommend starting the next wave with the load you used for the second set of the preceding wave.

If you can complete all the reps in that second wave, you start a third wave. Stop the exercise when you can no longer complete a wave.

Note that the first wave is generally conservative while the second one is more challenging but a notch below your true maximum. The third wave, ideally, leads to a 1RM. Being able to complete four waves would lead to a PR.

If your 1RM on a lift is 355 pounds, your waves on a perfect day might look like this:

  • Wave 1:

  • 315 lbs x 3

  • 325 lbs x 2

  • 335 lbs x 1

  • Wave 2:

  • 325 lbs x 3

  • 335 lbs x 2

  • 345 lbs x 1

  • Wave 3:

  • 335 lbs x 3

  • 345 lbs x 2

  • 355 lbs x 1

  • Wave 4:

  • 345 lbs x 3

  • 355 lbs x 2

  • 365 lbs x 1

On any given day, you should be able to complete two waves. Completing three waves is a very good session. Completing four waves is an amazing workout. Completing five waves means that you underestimated the weights to use!"


What is your weak point? Where do you fail?
Off the chest?
Mid way?
Lock out?


I recommend you look up coach Thibaudeau’s description of the “1-6 method” and “cluster sets”. Do a search here on Tnation articles. These combined with “wave loading” is the definitive answer you might be looking for.

What is your goal? How strong are you willing to risk getting?

I have seen far too many lifters get strong enough on the bench press that they ruptured their pec muscle.

Granted most all the torn pec muscles that I knew occurred bench pressing in excess of 400lbs. But I did know one person who tore his pec doing 315lbs.

That doesn’t seem like an ideal rep scheme to get stronger. Seems more geared towards hypertrophy. If I’m understanding correctly, you’re already doing 18-24 working reps by the time you even get to your heaviest double or triple.

There have been great suggestions so far, and they all should help. Additionally, I’d like to throw cluster training into the mix. These served me well before on breaking through plateaus, but I would only do them for 4 weeks at a time. Very demanding on the system.

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Lifetime goal has been 4 plates

Mid way has always been my struggle. Off chest I’m good

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If I do 2 waves and fail somewhere on the 3rd. Do I just repeat the same process next week? Does this continue until I am able to hit all 4 waves?


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I believe this is the mark of the initial impressive bench presses.

  1. 405lbs
  2. 500lbs
  3. 600lbs
  4. 700lbs
  5. Just freaking all weight above 700lbs

But you will be entering the danger zone for injury.


Yeah, aim for 3 waves. Repeat the process next week, trying to use slightly heavier weights.

Theoretically the process continues, week after week, until you hit a nice PR on the single rep of your 3rd wave. Or until you stop making progress or get bored.

Thibaudeau was kinda vague describing exactly how to do it, because its hard to predict exactly how good and strong you’ll feel day to day.

Here’s a more detailed and complete plan, with percentages and rest times and stuff.

So far, I don’t think anyone has run it and reported back yet.


how tall are you? how much do you weigh?

CT does a great job in this program about how to “fix” a weak point.