20 Week Bench Press Workout – 3 Phase “Attack Your Max” Program

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If you’re looking to build a bigger bench press try this program. It features a quality mix of volume training, higher frequency and heavy triples, and an 8 week peaking cycle.

During the first six weeks you will attack the bench press and chest with a higher volume of reps and sets. Training will be twice a week during this time. After this we move to a higher frequency. You will bench press three times a week focusing on heavy triples and singles.

Related: Next Level 5×5 Bench Press Workout

The last phase is an eight week peaking cycle. You will ramp up in intensity with the goal of crushing a new one rep max.

  • Weeks 1 to 6 – Volume Phase
  • Weeks 7 to 12 – Frequency Phase
  • Weeks 13 to 20 – Intensity (Peaking) Phase

You will notice that only the bench press workouts are detailed in this program. Remember that it’s a specialization program. Don’t overdo legs, shoulders, back and arms. Use a moderate volume while still training for progression in some form or fashion.

After the 20 weeks are over, rest at least 7 days after your last bench training day and try for a new one rep max. Let me know how things go in the comments section below.

6 Week Volume Phase

Here is the schedule for the first six weeks.

  • Day 1 – Bench Press A
  • Day 2 – Back, Biceps and Hamstrings
  • Day 3 – Off
  • Day 4 – Bench Press B
  • Day 5 – Quads and Shoulders
  • Day 6 – Off
  • Day 7 – Off

Bench Press A. For your 20 rep sets, start with about 50 percent of your one rep max. Perform two sets, aiming for 20 reps per set. If you are able  to hit this goal, add 5 pounds to the bar the following week.

The goal of this work is to hammer your bench press with extremely high reps, pushing to add upwards of 30 pounds to both of these sets over the course of this phase.

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Bench Press Phase B. Using about 65% of your one rep max, knock out four sets of 10 reps. When you can hit 10 reps for each set, add 5 pounds the following week. More volume. More brutality. More progress.

You’re going to be sore during this phase. Suck it up buttercup. Keep your calories and protein intake high, get plenty of rest, and use BCAAs to aid with recovery.

Assistance Exercises. Use the same weight for each set of a given exercise. When you can hit the goal number of reps per set, add a small amount of weight. Progression is king. Go hard after it. If you don’t your results will suffer.

For push ups, perform as many reps as you can per set.

Bench Press a
Volume Phase
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press  2  20+
 Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press  4  10
 JM Press  4  10
 Cable Crossovers  3  15
 Cable Triceps Extensions  3  15
Bench Press B
Volume Phase
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press  4  10
 Push Ups  2  Max
 Paused Close Grip Bench Press  4  10
 Pec Dec  3  15
 Dumbbell Skullcrushers  3  15

Bench Press

6 Week Frequency Phase

  • Day 1 – Bench Press A
  • Day 2 – Off
  • Day 3 – Bench Press B
  • Day 4 – Off
  • Day 5 – Bench Press C
  • Day 6 – Legs
  • Day 7 – Off

Here we will be hammering the bench press with low rep sets and a higher frequency. During your “Bench Press A” and “Bench Press C” workouts, perform 3 sets of 3 reps. When the weight feels manageable, meaning the last triple didn’t feel close to failure and you are confident you can add weight and still perform three triple sets, add 5 pounds to the bar.

Start with about 85 to 87.5% of your one rep max.

During your “Bench Press B” workout, add 5% to the bar and perform three heavy singles.

Back Off Sets. Drop the weight by 10 percent and perform as many reps as possible.

Assistance Exercises. Use the same weight for each set of a given exercise. When you can hit the goal number of reps per set, add a small amount of weight. Progression is king. Go hard after it. If you don’t your results will suffer.

For push ups, perform as many reps as you can per set.

Rack deadlifts are performed from about 5 inches off the ground. You can go a little higher or lower if you prefer.

Bench Press a
Frequency Phase
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press  3  3
 Bench Press – Back Off 10%  1  MAX
 Dumbbell Rows  3  12
 Military Press  2  10
 Dumbbell Skullcrushers  2  15
 Reverse Grip Lat Pull Down  2  15
 Dumbbell Bench Press  2  15
Bench Press B
Frequency Phase
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press – Plus 5%  3  1
 Close Grip Bench – Back Off 10%  2  Max
 Rack Deadlifts – 5″  3  5
 Face Pulls  2  15
 Cable Triceps Extensions  2  15
 EZ Bar Preacher Curls  2  15
 Push Ups  2  MAX
Bench Press C
Frequency Phase
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press  3  3
 Bench Press – Back Off 10%  1  MAX
 Lat Pull Down  3  12
 Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press  2  12
 JM Press  2  15
 Dumbbell Curls  2  12
 Machine Chest Press or Dumbbell Flyes  2  15

Bench Press

8 Week Intensity Phase

  • Day 1 – Bench Press A
  • Day 2 – Back, Biceps and Hamstrings
  • Day 3 – Off
  • Day 4 – Bench Press B
  • Day 5 – Quads and Shoulders
  • Day 6 – Off
  • Day 7 – Off

Back to twice a week benching. the volume is slightly lower, but we will be ramping intensity (weight relative to your one rep max) over the course of the next eight weeks.

Perform as many reps as possible per set. Stop each set when you feel like you might fail on the next rep, or when your form starts to slip. Assistance exercises are performed in the same manner as during the volume and frequency phases.

Bench Press A. 8 week peaking cycle.

  • Week 1 – 80% x 3 sets x AMAP Reps (As many as possible)
  • Week 2 – 82.5% x 3 sets x AMAP Reps
  • Week 3 – 85% x 3 sets x AMAP Reps
  • Week 4 – 87.5% x 3 sets x AMAP Reps
  • Week 5 – 90% x 3 sets x AMAP Reps
  • Week 6 – 92.5% x 3 sets x AMAP Reps
  • Week 7 – 95% x 3 sets x AMAP Reps
  • Week 8 – 97.5% x 3 sets x AMAP Reps
Bench Press a
Volume Phase
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press – 8 Week Peak (See above)  3  AMAP
 Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press  2  12
 JM Press  2  12
 Cable Crossovers  2  15
 Cable Triceps Extensions  2  15
Bench Press a
Volume Phase
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press – Drop 10%  3  AMAP
 Close Grip Bench Press  2  12
 Push Ups  2  MAX
 Pec Dec  2  15
 Dumbbell Skullcrushers  2  15
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Name: Steve Shaw

Bio: I don’t believe in magic training systems or rep ranges. My philosophy is simple: remain consistent, use the best possible exercises, focus upon progression and enter the gym looking to maximize each set. When you maximize each set, you maximize progress. Easy, obvious, insanely effective.