12 Week Bench Press Program to Progress Your 1RM (w/PDF)

Bench Press

If you’re looking for an easy-to-follow bench press development program that can help you increase your strength safely, strategically, and effectively, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ve shared the ultimate 12 week bench press program that will help you break your old personal record (PR) and set a new one.

This program will not only maximize your strength but also help you build a sizeable upper body, increase your pushing ability, and improve body composition.

12 Week Bench Press Program for Strength Gain

In this program, you’ll train your chest twice a week. On your first day, you’ll focus on strength (heavyweight sets), and on the other day, you’ll lift (moderate weight) to improve the development of your pecs.

A combination of heavy and moderate weight sets will help you boost your pushing ability and promote hypertrophy.

Anyone, from males to females, can try this 12 week bench press peaking program to maximize their strength safely and effectively.

Warm-up: Before you begin lifting weights, you need to perform warm-up exercises to increase blood flow and get your muscles ready to lift weights. Warmup helps you prepare to push more weight and lower the risk of injuries.

Here’s a 10-minute warm-up workout for bench press:

  • Stationary Bike: 5 minutes
  • Upper Body Foam Rolling: 4 minutes
  • Empty Barbell Bench Press: 20 reps (1 min)

If you want to explore a comprehensive bench press warm-up guide, you can check out this excellent resource published by Avi Silverberg on his website Powerliftingtechnique.com.

Okay, let’s explore the program.


WEEK 1-3

12 Week Bench Press Program

Monday

SetRepsIntensityRest
1660% of your 1RM2-min
2570% of your 1RM4-min
3575% of your 1RM4-min
4480% of your 1RM3-min
5385% of your 1RM

Accessory Exercises (Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps with one to 2 minutes of rest between them.

  • Chest Flys: 12 x 3
  • Band Pull Apart: 10 x 3
  • Bent-over Barbell Row: 12 x 3

Thursday

ExerciseIntensityRepsSets
Incline DB Bench Press40-50% of your 1RM12-153
Barbell Overhead Press30-45% of your 1RM15-203
Spoto Press40-50% of your 1RM10-123
Close Grip Bench Press40-50% of your 1RM12-153

WEEK 4-6

MONDAY

SetRepsIntensityRest
1850% of your 1RM2-min
2660% of your 1RM4-min
3570% of your 1RM4-min
4475% of your 1RM3-min
5380% of your 1RM

Additional Exercises:

  • Bar Dips: Do as many reps as possible x 3
  • Lateral Delt Raises: 10 reps x 3
  • Inverted Row: 15 reps x 3

THURSDAY

ExerciseIntensityRepsSets
Close Grip Bench Press40-50% of your 1RM12-153
Pin Press30-45% of your 1RM15-203
Deficit pushups40-50% of your 1RM10-123
Dumbbell Tate press40-50% of your 1RM12-153

Week 7-9

MONDAY

SetRepsIntensityRest
1660% of your 1RM2-min
2570% of your 1RM4-min
3580% of your 1RM4-min
4485% of your 1RM3-min
5390% of your 1RM3-min
6295% of your 1RM

Accessory Exercises:

  • Dumbbell Slow-mo Bench Press: 10 reps x 3
  • Banded Pull Apart: 10 reps x 3
  • Chest Supported Row: 10 reps x 3

THURSDAY

ExerciseIntensityRepsSets
Incline Barbell Bench Press40-50% of your 1RM12-153
Spoto Press30-45% of your 1RM15-203
One-arm Landmine Press40-50% of your 1RM10-123
Cable Crossover/Chest Fly40-50% of your 1RM12-153

Week 10-12

MONDAY

SetRepsIntensityRest
1570% of your 1RM4-min
2580% of your 1RM4-min
3485% of your 1RM3-min
4390% of your 1RM3-min
5295% of your 1RM3-min
61100% of your 1RM

Accessory Lifts:

  • Deficit Pushups: 10 reps x 3
  • Lateral Delt Raises: 10 reps x 3
  • Barbell Rows: 12 reps x 3

THURSDAY

ExerciseIntensityRepsSets
Pin Press40-50% of your 1RM12-153
Military Press30-45% of your 1RM15-203
Decline DB Bench Press40-50% of your 1RM10-123
Bar DipsBodyweight/Weighted12-153

How Much Weight Should You Increase Every Week?

This is how you can progressively increase weight and set your new bench press one-rep max (1RM).

Here, I’ve taken an example of a person who lifts 100 kg and wants to progress his bench press.

WeeksIncrease Weight (Approx)1RM
Week 10100
Week 21101
Week 31102
Week 41.5103.5
Week 51.5105
Week 62107
Week 72109
Week 82111
Week 92113
Week 92115
Week 102117
Week 112119
Week 123122

This is how you can increase your bench from 100 to 120 kg or 20% in 12 weeks.

Some people may be able to lift more weight after 12 weeks of the program, and some may find it difficult to increase any weight.

Increasing weight primarily depends on how consistently you follow the program, how much time you allow your muscles to recover, and how your feed your muscles the optimum nutrition.

If you focus on everything properly, you’ll be able to break your old PR and set a new one.

Please note: You should not use this program if you have any kind of injury. Consult a professional before starting this program.

Download 12 Week Bench Press Routine PDF

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Murshid Akram

I’m a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. For the last six years, I’ve been working and training with people who use all sorts of equipment and follow multiple types of workouts, from calisthenics to powerlifting. I primarily design workout plans and share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you become stronger, flexible, and healthier.

About Me

I’m a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. For the last six years, I’ve been working and training with people who use all sorts of equipment and follow multiple types of workouts, from calisthenics to powerlifting. I primarily design workout plans and share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you become stronger, flexible, and healthier.

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