How to Raise Your Bench

By some miracle from above and good coaches, I climbed up to a 300-pound max on bench press back at the end of high school. Then with a mixture of Ron Diaz and lack of sleep freshman year of college, coupled with stupid exercise routines and too much cardio, I declined to 275. I’ll be honest, that sucked a pretty sizeable wiener when I could *barely* make 275, but that’s pretty much where I had fallen. Somewhere around October of sophomore year, I talked to a buddy of mine on the football team when he was going through his routine nearby. I think somewhere around watching this guy rep about 8 off like it was nothing at 275 and realizing that the football team’s lifts were probably some of the best out there, a light burst on in my head. After chatting with him a bit about the way they did things, he outlined a few key points to their routine. A major part of it was doing 3 separate types of sets on a MWF schedule. Monday was flat bench, Wednesday was incline, and Friday was close-grip. Flat should be self-explanatory, and I have always enjoyed a 30-degree incline on the bench myself. Close grip is the same as flat except with….wait for it…a close grip. I suppose it will depend on what gym equipment you have access to at school, but hopefully you have an adjustable bench and rack. In my specific case, I alternated week to week with sets of 8-6-4-2 and 5-5-5-5-5. You will need to play around and figure out which amount of weight is best to start with, but once you come to a good understanding of how much to increase the weight set to set, you can begin. I should note that this was not the only thing I did, and there was generally a few sets of tricep pushdowns following it, with a substantial protein feeding afterward. In about 8 to 10 weeks of doing this (mind you I was already at 275), I climbed not only back to 300, but all the way up to 315. In case you’re wondering what that looks like, here ya go. I’m afraid no women appeared out of nowhere and sat on my lap though, I’d hate to exaggerate.