Due to the fascination that the general public has with the bench press, the vast majority of people who lift weights want to increase their strength on this exercise. If you’re a powerlifter, the bench press is one of the 3 exercises you need to build strength on. If you’re into bodybuilding you’ll want to do bench press workouts to build the chest muscles. If you are the average weight trainer, you’ll want the bragging rights that a bigger bench will give you. No matter what your ultimate goals are, intense bench press workouts need to be part of your routine.
If your goal is to increase strength through bench press workouts you’ll want to train heavy for the most part. This means that you should perform sets for low reps when you bench press. Using heavier weights will help you raise your one rep max on the bench, which is particularly important if you compete in power lifting competitions.
If your main goal is to increase muscle size from bench workouts, you’ll want to do more reps per set. This will allow you to get more of a pump in the chest muscles when you bench. This is the best way for bodybuilders to perform bench press workouts. If you are trying to improve the shape of your physique you may want to begin your bench workouts with incline bench presses rather than flat benches if you have overdeveloped lower pecs.
One great idea for most weight trainers is to combine training for strength and size and vary your rep ranges during bench press workouts. If you lift heavy all of the time you’ll build more strength when you do low rep or one rep max lifts. If you lift lighter weights for more reps you’ll get stronger on high rep sets. Training heavy activates different muscle fibers than training with high reps. If you always do 12 to 15 reps per set you may be able to use more weight for a set done with that rep range than a lifter who always uses low reps. However, they will likely have a higher one rep max. You can try using both low and high rep ranges during your bench press workouts to get the best of both worlds.
If you want to do this you should set up your bench press workout routine so you do a light day with high reps done on every set, a medium day with medium weights and reps, and a heavy day with low reps done on every bench press set. Do your high rep bench press workout, then make sure to have enough days off from training your chest so you are fully recovered by the time you do your medium workout. Do the same thing when you get to your heavy workout. After that, you repeat the process again. Your body never gets the chance to get too accustomed to the same weight and reps and you train both fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers. You could try using various rep ranges during the same bench pressing workout but this could take a lot out of you, though you should finish all of your workouts with a high rep set or 2 to end with a pump.
Be sure to go all out on every set during your bench press workouts. To gain size and strength you need to constantly challenge yourself. Try to get one more rep or 5 more pounds than you did last time. When you get to failure have a spotter assist you for an extra rep. If you train hard, you won’t need to spend hour after hour at the gym. You should be able to finish a bench pressing workout within 30 to 40 minutes. If you train for too long you won’t be able to lift with a lot of intensity after a certain point. Get to the gym, lift hard, get out, and rest. This the key to gaining strength and size from the bench press or any other weight training exercise.