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  1. #1
    peteweez is offline Registered User
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    Feb 2007
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    What are reasonable bench press goals?

    How much weight can I reasonably expect to add to my bench press in a week (or a month)? I am 16 years old, nearly 17, weigh about 140 lbs., I'm about 5 ft. 7 in., and I bench press 3 sets of 10 reps 3 times a week (although I use periodization, so it'll soon be 3 sets of 8 reps). On the first set, I can often pull off 12 or 13 reps, but in the second and third sets, I only do 10. Right now I'm benching 117.5 lbs. for 12-13 reps in the first set, 10 reps in the second and third sets. I do not take supplements or steroids.

    So what is a reasonable amount of weight to add to the barbell each week? I was thinking 1.25 lbs. to each side (2.5 lbs. total) each week. Is this reasonable, is it too ambitious, or is it not ambitious enough?

    Also, should I even bother with the periodization, or should I always use the same number of reps? On the one hand, the periodization helps break plateaus, but on the other hand, it makes it harder to guage my progress.

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  3. #2
    tonymcclellan is offline Super Moderator
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    Oct 2005
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    How much do you add to your squats and deadlifts?

  4. #3
    peteweez is offline Registered User
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    I don't really do deadlifts...I do do squats, but I don't have set goals on that either (what are good goals for that?). I do work some of the muscles worked in deadlifts with the bent-over row. I'm not doing a powerlifting program, though...just general weight training. Basically, I increase the weight when I feel like I can, and I'm thinking maybe I need to have more concrete goals.

  5. #4
    dougp25 is offline Second Set
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    Jul 2006
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    New Hampshire
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    Setting a one week goal will probably lead to some disappointment. If I could raise my bench press 2.5 pounds a week (120 pounds a year), wow, in about 5 years I'd be out of this world!

    In the beginning you may find gains come quickly, but you will plateau where gains happen much more slowly. And you should think about the rest of your body's goals as well. A journal, and some pictures taken now would be an excellent way for you to measure real goals.

    Good luck!

  6. #5
    tonymcclellan is offline Super Moderator
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    Good goals are to see improvements and progress. No matter how much or how little.

  7. #6
    peteweez is offline Registered User
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    Thanks guys...you're right, 2.5 pounds/week is a lot. But if I got some large washers so I could adjust the weight by minute amounts, I could shoot for, say 1 pound or 1/2 pound per week...or I could at least add small amounts of weight, never using the same weight twice. Out of curiosity, how much would you say your bench press increases in the average year (or month)?

  8. #7
    davidjr74 is offline Request Title Change from Admin
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    I tried adding 5 pounds a week to my lifts before. Eventually, you can't do it. You should increase weekly by volume/percentages. Increase by 2.5% each week.

    For Example

    Week 1: Bench- 4x6 with 120 Pounds= 2880 Total Volume
    Week 2: Bench- 4x6 with 125 Pounds= 3000 Total Volume

    As you can see that volume increase is way to large for one week. You should increase 120 by 2.5%. This makes an extra 3 pounds (123 w/2952 total volume). Microloading is difficult for alot of people (using weight below 2.5 plates). and usually not available. So you should add an extra rep with 70 Pounds so you can get as close to that volume as possible.

    Week 1: Bench- 4x6 with 120 Pounds= 2880 Total Volume
    Week 2: Bench- 4x6 with 120 Pounds, 1x1 with 70 Pounds= 2950 Total Volume.

    So every other week you should be able to add 5 pounds. That 10 pounds a month. Stick with it; that will be an extra 60 pounds to your lift in 6 months. Make sure your form is perfect too or else your not going to get the maximum benefit.

    My example is not the most practical way to do this but you get the idea.

  9. #8
    SgtTTTT is offline Warming Up
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    Feb 2007
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    There are many methods for adding weight.

    Most methods I've come across involve doing as many reps as possible up to a certain point (usually 4 or 5 reps past the initial starting point, but sometimes 10 more); once that chosen point is reached a small increase in weight is added for the next workout. Examples include doing only 1 set of 5 reps at start & working up to 1 set of 10 or 15 reps before adding weight, or a common one is 6-or-8 to 12 reps using multiple sets, adding weight once 12 reps is reached in all sets. An example for 3 sets of 8-12 reps could look something like this:

    Workout (#01) 08-08-08 (#06) 10-10-09 (#11) 12-11-11
    Workout (#02) 09-08-08 (#07) 10-10-10 (#12) 12-12-11
    Workout (#03) 09-09-08 (#08) 11-10-10 (#13) 12-12-12
    Workout (#04) 09-09-09 (#09) 11-11-10 (#14) 08-08-08 (now with weight added)
    Workout (#05) 10-09-09 (#10) 11-11-11 (#15) 09-08-08... & so forth

    A week-long vacation between (hypothetical) Workouts #13 & #14 is also a good-ol' common practice (note that you might not be able to add a rep each workout, so you'll have repeat performances & perhaps even a low-energy-day poor-performance or two along the way until 3 sets of 12 reps are reached & weight is added along with a drop in reps, preferably after a short rest -- so take these workout numbers with a grain of salt).

    Another, less-common method is to do static-(usu. 7-to-10 second)-holds at 2 or 3 "sticking-points" (like near-start, midpoint, & near-end of a rep) as this builds strength at the points where the body is generally weakest in a lift... then once the lift is done regular again, the added strength at these points help one to lift heavier (plus doing this for a few weeks is a nice, fairly-restful/energy-gathering break from the normal wear-&-tear & usual grind of trying to do more reps with heavy weights).

    There's also the feel-like-it method... when a weight starts to "feel light" try adding a little bit more.

    Along this line is the Pyramid-Up the Rack method, but you may want to keep reps low so you don't wear yourself out before you get to the heavy stuff... just keep doing sets with increased poundages (essentially getting a good warm-up as you progress), & stop short of exhaustion/failure unless it's a day you want to really push things & you have spotters or some sort of "safety-net" (people are forever crushing/choking themselves to death while attempting bench-presses when they're too tired or with just too much metal overhead to begin with).

    You will eventually reach your safe limits (& it's good to back-off/take-a-rest from any given exercise every now & then, especially if done with heavy weight or high volume with moderate-to-high frequency)
    Last edited by SgtTTTT; Mar. 05/07 at 02:18 PM.

  10. #9
    Twist21491 is offline In Orientation
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    Mar 2012
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    Just joined and saw this post. About a year ago, I started benching at 160x10. Iday one i did 140x10 150x10 160x10. every day after i added 5 lbs on and did as many as i could and on friday i would go 5,3,1. I added 120 lbs to my bench in just 6 weeks. Jack3d and Muscle milk helped me A LOT. I know some people may disagree on benching every day but if you want to see a big increase fast, neglect other exercises for a few weeks and take in about 1.7g of protein x bodyweight in kilos. It worked out really well for me and i ended up doing 285x4 by the end of it.

  11. #10
    ieclifton is offline Warming Up
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    Mar 2012
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    Sydney, Australia
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    May I refer you to the Madcow 5x5 thread, it is a 9 week program totally concerned with increasing strength by weekly increases in weight lifted in basic compound exercises.

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