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One of the most common exercises to find progression hard is the bench press. So ask yourself, is it your Strength? Are you searching for a new 1RM? Are you looking for more numbers on the bar? Or simply want more relative strength with a bodyweight ratio? What ever it may be, read below for some step by step examples on how to improve your bench game! This isn’t a programme but an example of how to improve, remember YOU are an individual and have different mechanics, ability and conditioning to many others.

The common goal for many people who enjoy lifting weights include that question we hear so much, how much can you bench? Some people believe you always need to know your 1RM bench press. Some envision a leader board and put themselves on this board which determines where they think they are with everyone else in the gym. This I can assure you is not a healthy mindset, YOU are your competition, others are simply motivators. If you feel the need to test out your 1RM then ideally it should be no more than 6 Times, it may not seem a lot but that is on an 8 week rotation programme.

Are you wondering why your strength has plateaued despite still getting in the gym and hitting the core lifts at high intensity most weeks? Are you starting to feel small aches and pains during some of your core lifts like the squat, deadlift, and press? Have you started to feel more and more burnt out by going for heavy sets lately? These are all signs that you have likely been pushing the intensity of your lifts for too long and haven't given enough attention to the following key aspects of strength progression.


Example of a bench press progression

Week 1:

Barbell Floor Press:

13 Reps

Rest 90-120 sec

63% x 3 Sets

Week 2:

Bench Press With Chains

12 Reps

Rest 90-120 sec

66% x 3

Week 3:

Glute Bridge Barbell Floor Press

11 Reps

Rest 60-75 sec

69% x 3

Week 4:

Barbell Bench Press

10 Reps

Rest 90-120 sec

72% x 3

Week 5:

Close Grip Bench Press

9 Reps

Rest 45 sec

75% x 3 Sets

Week 6:

Bench Press With Bands

8 Reps

Rest 90-120 sec

78% x 3

Week 7:

Narrow Grip Bench Press

7 Reps

Rest 15 sec

81% x 3

Week 8:

Bench Press With Chains

6 Reps

Rest 90-120 sec

84% x 3

Week 9:

Close Grip Bench Press

3 Reps

Rest 2-3 mins

87% x 3

Week 10:

Bench Press

4 Reps

Rest 90-120 sec

90% x 3

Week 11:


Close Grip Bench Press

Set 1 x 6 Reps 50%

Set 2 x 6 Reps 55%

Set 3 x 4 Reps 60%

Set 4 x 2 Reps 65%

Rest 10-30sec

Week 12:

Bench Press

Build to a 2RM in no more than 20mins

2 Reps x 3 Sets


Be mindful all the above list working sets only, you will need to perform 1 or even 2-3 warm ups prior to some of these higher percentage days.

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