I recently completed one of mine lifelong lifting purposes of benching 220 kilograms (485 pounds). Friend will obtain a most conflicting details on the web of what is achievable together a lifter, and a lot of the human being who read this will certainly probably believe that elite levels the strength room solely identified by natural capability and genetics. What I desire to present through this two-part article series is how you deserve to manipulate training variables gradually to aid you realize your life time training goals.

You are watching: How to bench press 400 pounds

Training in a lot of methods is favor a complement or a drug: how and also when the is used is hugely important.


Source: Wikimedia 2016 

For a brand-new person lifting weights, merely training is a an extremely potent stimulus. Pretty much any dose the training has the desired effect the making lock stronger. As with any type of other medicine or stimulus, the an ext you usage it and also the an ext you perform it, the much more you blunt the dose/response curve. This means we need more of the exact same thing or we require to readjust how that is administered to gain a comparable response.

We have the right to argue every day long around the impacts of supplements, sleep, and also food ~ above a lifter’s capacity to progress, but we would certainly be wasting ours time. As lengthy as you are meeting your caloric needs and are getting sufficient sleep every night, maintain is by far the most crucial thing you have to get stronger. Against it, whatever else is noise.

All I want to carry out is expose you to the concept of training response. I don’t desire to get too bogged down in the theory; what I desire to concentration on is the practicality the the matter. Together such, us shall now progress on come a instance study of 2 lifters reaching five plates on the bench press.

If a picture is worth one thousands words, then context is precious one million.

The Story of two Lifters do It to a 220 kg raw Bench

One of my lifters—the one who I have actually been coaching because that the longest time continuously out of anyone—recently benched 220 kg (484 pounds) at a bodyweight that 140 kg (308 pounds). This normally was all the an ideas I necessary to break with the five-plate barrier. The method my training had been going, ns knew my max to be well above my previous best of 210 kg (462 pounds), but I hadn’t maxed out in a long time because I was just going v the cultivate process.

Well, needless to say, a training companion getting much better than friend is typically all the offense versus your ego you require to gain the stupidity/motivation you need to push on.

I’ve always had a relatively strong bench press. It took around four years of training before I benched 185 kg (407 pounds) at 206 pounds bodyweight. However, as soon as I got to 200 kg (440 pounds) mine bench press slowed down to a crawl and also it took a lot of transforms to my training and developments in my knowledge and application to gain the critical 20 kg (44 pounds) out of mine bench press.

Alistair, the lifter who I advert to earlier in the article, is a friend that is a freak on the other two lifts (squatting 340 kg/748 pounds and deadlifting 350 kg/770 pounds), but has always been a weakling ~ above the bench push (relatively). Ali’s best bench push in competition was 190 kg (420 pounds) in 2013. In the gym, the finest he had actually pressed to be 210 kg, slow. He spent about two year making small to no development until i took end his programming again at the finish of 2015 and adjusted a few factors, which brought about him pushing 220 kg (more on this in the following article).

The weekend ~ Alistair benched 484 pounds, i maxed out and also benched 488 pounds at a bodyweight of 257 pounds, which to be a 26-pound boost on mine previous gym max. I had been capable of roughly this push for a long time but didn’t want to realize it in training. What complies with is how we practically went from benching top top an intermediary level come making it to 5 plates.

Going native 0 to 400

Let’s confront it: not every one of you who check out this article are capable of bench pressing five plates a side. For several of you, it’s simply not supposed to be. However, that’s no to say you can’t use the principals and ideas presented in these articles to gain closer to your own genetic ceiling a little faster.

Get your an approach down.

There are any variety of videos and articles on just how to set up your bench push technique. Because that my money, the ideal one that puts across how to bench as a raw lifter is the supervisor training video clip with Eric Spoto. There are a variety of points that detail, such as how a lifter"s elbows must travel loved one to the bar, the a the majority of bench press tutorials from great equipped lifters miss the boat on.

RELATED: The Physics of the Bench Press: scientific research Applied

Getting your technique down additionally involves some feedback, therefore taking video clip of you lifting native the side and also paying fist to your bar route is extremely necessary for seeing if her bench press is efficient.


Source: chris Duffin

As you have the right to see from the illustration above, much more advanced lifters exhibit a more distinct separation in between the downward and upward course of the barbell. While we might not desire to exhibit any kind of of this bar paths exactly, what we can see is that there have to be some distinction between coming down in the direction of the chest and also pressing the bar back up.

As you bring the bar down, this is what you room trying to achieve:

Control whereby the bar is walk at all times come ensure friend can get the push you want from the chest.Expend as tiny energy as feasible to for sure you have actually as lot concentric strength as feasible to put into the bar when you push it. This will certainly either make lighter weight relatively easier or enable us a better chance of pushing a brand-new max or hefty single.You want to bring the bar under to the point out on her body that permits you to create the most torque as feasible on the bar.

Once the bar is on your chest you must be spring to accomplish the following:

Engage your glutes, press your upper ago through the bench, and also drive your heels through the floor, every at the same time. If you gain this coordinated correctly, friend will gain much much better speed native the chest and should uncover that you acquire into a better position indigenous which to lock out.Push the bar back towards your face/the rack. This will aid you communicate your lats at the bottom of the press, which permits you to keep your elbow under the bar, which way you have the right to act on that longer, utilizing the chest/triceps. Having the bar come up her chest by flaring your elbow puts the weight towards your shoulders, which is by much the weaker muscle group.If you acquire the timing of the journey correct, the bar need to fly in the direction of the difficult point. In ~ this point, the majority of the stress and anxiety moves towards the elbows and also triceps. At this point you should proceed to think about pushing yourself earlier into the bench and also pushing your elbows with each other until lockout.

Get your programming right.

Before you gain excited, ns am not about to provide you the exact training cycle the is walking to carry you from benching the bar come benching 400 pounds. However, what i am going come talk around are vital elements your program should have at this phase of your lifting career.

It is very difficult to get far better at the bench push without law a the majority of bench press. Together such, friend can offer yourself the finest chance the benching your potential by practicing the motion you want to get better at.

Bench press variations room important yet it’s quiet an overriding imperative the at least 70% of her bench press volume is invested practicing how you play. This means if you contend in powerlifting raw, you have to train bench push to the same problems you will execute them in a meet. Similarly, if you contend in single-ply or multi-ply, you must bench in the shirts for around 70% of your bench pressing volume.

These basic guidelines will certainly become more clouded as you development as a lifter. However, from the starting person to advanced stage, if friend follow these guidelines you’re walking to view some pretty terrific progress:

Bench press with a frequency of 2 to 3 times per week. If girlfriend bench three times per week you have to look at having actually two variations in her program and doing less assistance pressing work. If girlfriend bench push one to 2 times per week, you have to do a good amount of pressing help work.Utilize a an excellent volume of training and cycle it transparent your program. These aren’t through any method the just training volume accuse you deserve to utilize, but they will be a great starting point: High Volume main – 50 full lifts, tool Volume week – 30-40 complete lifts, low Volume mainly – 10-30 total lifts.Plan her training utilizing a reasonably straight approach. You can jump on an ext undulating programs, but there isn’t any type of need to start breaking out the aces simply yet. you will obtain lots the success using 3 to 6 week training cycles that start with a duration of high volume and work in the direction of a duration of lower volume and higher intensity.Work backwards from your target. in ~ this stage in training, separating your maintain year into targets is a good idea. If you’re right now benching 225, there is no factor you can’t bench 275 or 300 in the next 8-12 months. Start setting some time frames on it and also work backwards from your target. Because that instance, if you desire to press 290, you’re going to need to press 275x2, 260x3, and also 250x4.Focus your pushing volume on connected exercises and target areas. If you are long-armed, close fixed or board occupational is of an excellent importance, due to the fact that your triceps are going to be involved for longer than most people. If you press with a flat ago or your form isn’t very stable, incline is excellent for building off-line strength. Understand what type of lifter friend are and also tackle it with the correct tool kit.Use the 80/20 ascendancy for your help work. 80% of her time need to be spent trying come get much better at bench press. The next 20% have to be invested on functioning on general muscular conditioning of key areas, namely behind delts, lats, rhomboids, rotator cuffs, reduced traps, and also shoulders.As a beginner, you should go difficult on a consistent basis. Now, ns not arguing you max out every week, yet maybe one main in every 3 or one block in every three, you have to look at overload. Something choose AMRAP set after volume or just straightforward old pyramid set trying to walk as hefty as feasible will work for this. This sort of training should be brought out for a limited time and also with precursor volume to feeding off. Doing this week-in, week-out is a one-way ticket to snap city. Yet as an intermediary to progressed lifter, friend can acquire some absolutely an excellent gains off it.

Two Training program

Let"s move on to two training program you have the right to abuse the crap the end of to get much better at bench press throughout this stage of her training. As we mentioned earlier in the article, at this stage in training over there is no need to obtain dragged into DUP or any type of other more nuisance or target programming methods. Just showing up and also putting the graft in making use of a straightforward and effective program will perform all the work-related you need. Below are 2 programs I have used to assist at least 100 lifters bench end 140 kg (308 pounds) and 50 lifters bench end 160 kg (350 pounds).

The 5-Week straight Cycle (Modified/Stolen indigenous Ed Coan’s compete Build-Ups)

The main program is when per week and also works utilizing the complying with volumes and percentages:

Week 1 – 3 set of 10 through 75% RMWeek 2 – 3 set of 8 through 78% RMWeek 3 – 3 set of 6 through 83.5% RMWeek 4 – 4 to adjust of 4 through 88% RMWeek 5 – 3 set of 3 v 90% RM

For assistance, you need to look to use the same sets x reps ~ above a second day to incline bench push or shoulder press also with the enhancement of three to four back exercises adhering to a hypertrophy protocol (3x15, for example).

A calculator because that the full program:

Use the spreadsheet version to access your own copy that you can edit. Simply accessibility the paper menu and also click "make a copy."

The actors Iron pressing Template — A Slightly much more Refined Meathead Method

Day 1

Strict Press: Base Set/Heavy Reps Set/Optional PB Attempt/Down SetClose grip Press: Build up in fives come PB attempt SetDB Shoulder Press: Two heavy Rep sets (8-12 rep range)Bodybuilding: Triceps Work

Day 2 (Three Days eliminated from pushing Day 1)

Bench Press: Base Set/Heavy Rep Set/Down Set/Pump SetIncline Barbell or Dumbbell: Two hefty Rep sets (8-12 rep range)Bodybuilding: Chest Work


Base Set: This is a beginning weight that you space looking to gain up to 9-10 reps end the coming few weeks; as soon as you start, this weight need to be a really hard 6-7 rep weight. End the coming weeks friend will try and add a rep or 2 to this and the following sets.

Heavy Set: Add 45 pounds for the bench press and add 20 pounds for strictly press. Girlfriend are looking for 1-3 reps. Once your base collection is at 9-10 reps, you will be knocking the end 3-4 reps.

Down Set: Reduce 45 pounds native base collection for bench press and also 10 kg (22 pounds) for strictly press. Girlfriend are looking for 10+ reps on this.

Pump Set: 10 to 20 kg (22 come 44 pounds) from under set, and also keep walking till her chest drops off.

When the Base Set hits 9-10 reps, include five kilograms to all sets because that the following session. If you discover you are stalling ~ above a weight 2 weeks in a row, reduce the load by 10 pounds. Job-related it 3 weeks the loading and also one mainly off. The turn off week have the right to either be a max week or full rest. Execute not perform any type of volume in the turn off week.

In 2011 this pushing template took my strict push from 195 pounds come 290 pounds, mine bench push from 350 pounds for five reps to 398 pounds for 5 reps, and also my top end on the bench has gone native 398 pounds come 445 pounds in eight months. My competition bench PB has actually gone native 365 to 420 in the same time structure with absolutely no details work.

The regimen has operated for hundreds of other lifters who have actually taken that from mine blog or with whom ns have operated with in-person.

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This concludes component one the this write-up series. In part two us will talk about how to resolve bench push as an progressed to upstream level athlete, where we will certainly be going indigenous 400 come 500 at a sustainable and also measured pace.

Marc tricks is a professional strength and conditioning coach for Edinburgh Rugby. Before working in professional sport, Marc worked for the Scotland institute of Sport whereby he was involved in the physical ready of around 60 Olympic and also commonwealth athletes from end 20 various of sport, countless of whom saw medal for Team Scotland or good Britain. As a powerlifter, Marc has been lifting in the IPF for eight years. He has actually competition finest raw lifts of 620-pound squat, 455-pound bench press, and 660-pound deadlift in ~ a bodyweight of 248 pounds. Marc is involved with the training of almost 100 toughness athletes with his digital coaching organization (onlinestrengthcoach.com) and his barbell society (Edinburgh barbell). If friend would like to call Marc you re welcome email speedpowerperformance