One of the most productive workout systems I know of for boosting your bench-press is what I call the 5-Pounds-a-Week Bench-Press Gain. It uses only the flat barbell bench press.
The concept behind this routine was developed by a former world powerlifting champion named Walter Thomas as a means to upgrade his power for setting world records. The idea is
to utilize the concept of periodization where the program is divided into training cycles and workouts.
Start by training with a poundage that is 80 percent of your current one-rep maximum single effort for 6 primary work sets of 4 consecutive reps. (Example: 80% of 300 pounds = 240 pounds) The first training cycle, what Mr. Thomas terms the experimental version, lasts ten weeks. His advice is to work out on three alternate days per week (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday). A very important key to this program is to add five pounds every two weeks to the primary work sets.
Using the example above, a bodybuilder would train weeks one and two with 240 pounds, weeks three and four with 245 pounds, weeks five and six with 250 pounds, weeks seven and eight with 255 pounds, and weeks nine and ten with 260 pounds. At the completion of the ten-week cycle he would rest for three and a half days and then test for a new one-rep max single. This ten-week cycle is a one-time deal.
From here on you follow each experimental-version cycle for only five weeks, with the rest period increased to one week. Continue with the experimental version for as long as gains are forthcoming. If overtraining becomes noticeable, change over to the modified version, which is basically the same except for the training frequency, which you reduce from three to two days a week (Monday, Friday). A bodybuilder who is training within the structure of a total-body workout which includes the primary phase (where each muscle group gets only one major workout a week) should modify his interval intensity training system once again to accommodate only one training session per week.
You can use this program for a major or minor muscle group, but it is especially effective for the chest and particularly when applied to the bench press. Not only will strength and power increase tremendously under this system, but more Herculean size, diamond definition and rugged muscularity in the pecs and delts will become startlingly evident. With the bench press a four-second full pause at the chest on the fourth rep of each of the primary work sets is very important.
Specific warmup sets are mandatory, so start with about 30 percent of the poundage you will be using for the 6 primary work sets of 4 reps each, going to within 90 percent of your starting weight (240 pounds) in 15-percent increments. This plan will give you 5 warmup sets. Do up to 5 reps with the 30-percent weight, 4 reps with 45 percent, 3 reps with 60 percent, 2 reps with 75 percent, and one rep with 90 percent. Space the warmup sets about four minutes apart. If you want to see sensational bench-press results, follow the program as outlined.