Coach Ben's Offseason Bench Routine

This week for Big Bench Routine Wednesday I wanted to share the routine I've been using to increase my raw bench press this off season. I'm about to wrap up an 8 week off season bench cycle before I start a 9 week prep for an upcoming bench competition. The main goal was to increase my raw bench a considerable amount which I was able to accomplish by 30 pounds using this format

I am a big proponent of high frequency training. There is importance in training the movement itself not just the lift, which I feel can only be accomplished with frequent practice. You don't practice being good at baseball once a week, you practice everyday. You don't get good at benching just practicing once a week but rather perfecting the movement on a more frequent basis. Higher frequency is the name of the game with this routine. If you are not used to benching 3-4x a week it will be hard the first 2 weeks. Make sure you are paying close attention to recovery via good nutrition, sleep, and mobility

During these 8 weeks you will be working within a different percentage range of your 1 rep max each training day. It is important to have a good idea where your 1RM is before starting this routine. Base these percentages off a 1 rep that you are able to hit on a consistent basis with good form. A good rule of thumb is to take your true grind it out 1 rep max and subtract 10 to base your percentages off of. It is important to note that if you estimate your 1RM too high then you will be failing weights the whole routine and that's not what we want. You can always up your training max to handle heavier weight if you start off light. You always want smooth reps in training, never ugly reps or grinders

Here is the routine I used

Weeks 1-4 - Training Max 340 lbs

Monday - 85+% Comp Bench (Week 1 - 85% 5x5, Week 2 - 90% 5x5, Week 3 - 93% 3x3, Week 4 - 3RM)

Wednesday - Overhead Pressing

Thursday - 50-65% Flat Bench 5x10-15+ (Week 1 - 50%, Week 2 - 55%, Week 3 - 60%, Week 4 - 65%)

Friday - 70-83% Comp Bench (Week 1 - 70%, Week 2 - 75%, Week 3 - 80%, Week 4 - 83%)

Weeks 5-8 - Training Max 355 (Use Week 4 3RM as gauge to up training max)

*Note - I cut down on frequency here not because I couldn't handle it, I was quite adept, but rather transitioning into meet prep and wanted to make sure my body was well rested

Monday - 85+% Comp Bench (Week 1 - 85% 5x5, Week 2 - 90% 5x5, Week 3 - 93% 3x3, Week 4 - 1RM test + 3x3 Blue Slingshot w/new 1RM weight)

Wednesday - Overhead Pressing + Bamboo Bar Bench (OHP follows a Week 1 - 4x8, Week 2 - 4x5, Week 3 - 4x3, Week 4 - 1RM. Push press burnout set at end of each session with working weight)

Friday - Comp Bench (Less excessive arch) 70-83% (Week 1 - 70%, Week 2 - 75%, Week 3 - 80%, Week 4 - 83%)

These are the cycling techniques and progression I used on my main benching movement during the off season. Again, with this routine I was able to put 30lbs on my raw bench. You could also tweak this routine to become a meet prep type program. As you can see over the duration of the program I was building up to a 1RM test on my final heavy day. Of course modifications would need to be made in order to make this work well for meet prep

If you have any questions or would like me to design a program for you for either off season work or meet prep email me at 

With this program you should see significant increases to your bench press


-Coach Ben