The secret to getting stronger isn't just about lifting as heavy as possible.

That sounds strange, we know. But repeatedly loading up the bar and straining your muscles only leads to injuries and burnout.

If you stick to this program, you'll be able to bench so much weight that the bar bends—but you’ll have to check your ego at the door for it to work. Do that, and you could increase your bench press max by 10% and up to 20lbs total.

How it works

You’re going to fight the urge to load up the bar and hold back a little bit on all of your bench press sets. You’ll still use challenging weights, but doing fewer reps than you’re capable of will keep you healthy and progress you gradually.

In Week 6, you’ll test your max—yes, you can go all-out then—and you’ll see where all of that extra energy you saved went. Note that some exercises are taken to failure. These are the ones we’re not as concerned about lifting heavy with—you'll use them to stimulate the muscles that support big benching, so only push hard where noted.

Directions

This program has you working on your bench press twice per week (Day 1 and Day 2)—except on Weeks 5 and 6, when you'll get the second day off. Perform your own lower-body training on the days in between.