Boosting the amount of weight you can lift in the bench press requires more
than simply bulking up your chest. “Doing heavy lifts that hit all your major
muscle groups can add 5 to 10 pounds to your bench in a few weeks,” says Mike
Robertson, M. S., C. S. C. S., co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training.
“By focusing on only a few exercises per workout and taking longer rest periods,
you’ll also be able to recover faster between sets and work out harder,” he
adds. “That will trigger greater gains in raw strength.”
With the help of a spotter, deter-
mine your “1-rep max” (that is,
the maximum amount of weight
you can bench one time). Use that
as your baseline for future progress. Complete each of
the following workouts once a week in the order shown.
Do workouts A and B on consecutive days. Rest 1 day
after workouts B, C, and D. For each exercise, use the
heaviest weight that will allow you to complete all your
reps and sets. Retest your 1-rep max after 4 weeks.
For complete video instructions of this workout, as well as a digital training guide and a customizable nutrition plan, visit mhpersonaltrainer.com/power.
Load a barbell and roll it against your shins. Bend at your hips and
knees and grab the bar using an overhand grip, your hands just beyond
shoulder width [A]. Keeping your lower back naturally arched, drive
through your heels, pull your torso back and up, thrust your hips
forward, and stand up with the barbell [B]. Pause, and slowly lower
the bar back to the floor, keeping it as close to your body as you can.
Do 3 sets of 3 reps, resting 3 to 4 minutes between sets.
Barbell Good Morning
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a barbell across your
upper back using an overhand grip [A]. This is the starting position.
Keeping your knees slightly bent and your back naturally arched, push
your hips back and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the
floor [B]. Pause, and then return to the starting position.
Do 3 sets of 5 to 6 reps, resting 2 minutes between sets.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and place your left foot on a bench, holding
the weights at your sides [A]. Press your left heel into the bench and
push your body up until your left leg is straight and you’re standing
on one leg—keep your right foot elevated [B]. Lower yourself back.
Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, switch legs, and repeat. Rest 90
seconds between sets.
Barbell Floor Press
Lie on your back on the floor and hold a barbell above your chest
using an overhand grip—keep your knees bent and your feet flat [A].
Lower the barbell until your upper arms touch the floor [B]. Pause,
and then press the weight back up to the starting position.
Do 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps. Then drop the weight by 40 percent
and do 2 sets of 3 reps, pausing for 3 seconds when your arms
touch the floor. Rest 3 to 4 minutes between sets.
Grab a chinup bar using a shoulder-width, underhand grip and hang
at arm’s length [A]. Now squeeze your shoulder blades together and
pull your chest to the bar [B]. Pause, and then slowly lower your body
back to the starting position.
Do 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps, resting 2 minutes between sets.
S wiss Ball Jackknife
Assume a pushup position with your shins on a Swiss ball [A]. This
is the starting position. Without rounding your lower back, roll the
ball toward your chest by bending your knees and pulling it forward
with your feet [B]. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting
position by lowering your hips and rolling the ball backward.
Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, resting 60 seconds between sets.