Russian Bench Press

by admin on April 27, 2012

The term “Russian bench press” has been floating around for some time now and has caused more than one bodybuilder a bit of confusion. This confusion came about in 2000 during the IPF bench press championships when the Russians were able to grab 8 out of 11 gold medals.

Many thought (and still do) that the Russian bench press was actually a piece of equipment. In reality, the Russian “bench press” is a routine that bodybuilders can use to dramatically increase their strength, especially during those times leading up to a competitive event.

The Russian Bench Press routine is not without some debate, however. Many of those who used it in the past swear that it works wonders while others who have used it say it is too strenuous (or not strenuous enough) to make much of a difference. The truth, we suspect, lays somewhere in middle of this debate. Like most things in life, it probably works if one puts in the required time and effort and if one is willing to adjust the program to fit that person’s individual skill level.

The routine breaks down like this: (BP=Bench Press)

Prep-Week 1 (201 lifts, 67.1 percent Average Intensity)

Monday:
BP – 50 percent x 5, 60 percent x 4, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 3x 5, 44 percent x 5, 65 percent x 5, 75 percent x 4x 4

Tuesday:
Incline BP – 4×6
Dips – 6×5

Wednesday:
BP – 50 percent x 6, 60 percent x 5, 70 percent x 4 x 2, 75 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 2×2, 85 percent x 1 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 2, 75 percent x 3 x 2, 70 percent x 4, 65 percent x 5, 60 percent x 6, 55 percent x 7, 50 percent x 8

Friday:
BP – 50 percent x 5, 60 percent x 4, 70 percent x 3, 80 percent x 2×5

Saturday:
Press behind the neck – 5×5
Dips – 4×6

Prep-Week 2 (130 lifts, 71.5 percent average intensity)

Monday:
BP – 50 percent x 5, 60 percent x 4, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 2, 90 percent x 1 x 3, 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3, 80 percent x 2×5

Tuesday:
Dips – 5×5

Wednesday:
BP – 55 percent x 5, 65 percent x 4, 75 percent x 3 x 2, 85 percent x 2 x 4

Friday:
BP – 50 percent x 5, 60 percent x 4, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 3 x 7

Saturday:
BP – 55 percent x 5, 65 percent x 5, 75 percent x 4 x 5
Triceps – 10×5

Prep-Week 3 (240 lifts, 64.7 percent average intensity)

Monday:
BP – 50 percent x 5, 60 percent x 4, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 3 x 5, 50 percent x 5, 60 percent x 5, 70 percent x 5 x 5

Tuesday:
BP – 55 percent x 4, 65 percent x 4, 75 percent x 3 x 4

Wednesday:
BP – 50 percent x 8, 55 percent x 7, 60 percent x 6, 65 percent x 5, 70 percent x 4, 75 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 2, 75 percent x 3 x 2, 70 percent x 4, 65 percent x 6, 60 percent x 8, 55 percent x 10, 50 percent x 12

Friday:
BP – 50 percent x 5, 60 percent x 4, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 75 percent x 3 x 6

Saturday:
BP – 50 percent x 6, 60 percent x 6, 65 percent x 6 x 4

Prep-Week 4 (125 lifts, 67.2 percent average intensity)

Monday:
BP – 50 percent x 4, 60 percent x 4, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 5

Tuesday:
Incline – 3×5
Dips – 6×5

Wednesday:
BP – 50 percent x 5, 60 percent x 4, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 75 percent x 2 x 2, 80 percent x 1 x 3, 75 percent x 2 x 2, 70 percent x 4, 60 percent x 6, 50 percent x 8

Friday:
BP – 55 percent x 4, 65 percent x 4, 75 percent x 3 x 2, 85 percent x 2 x 4

Saturday:
Press behind the neck – 4×5
Triceps – 10×5

Competition Week 1 (117 lifts, 71.6 percent average intensity)

Monday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 3 x 6

Tuesday:
Incline – 3×5

Wednesday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 3, 85 percent x 1 x 3

Friday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 3 x 5, 55 percent x 4, 65 percent x 4, 75 percent x 4 x 4

Competition Week 2 (135 lifts, 72.7 percent average intensity)

Monday:
BP – 55 percent x 3, 65 percent x 3, 75 percent x 3 x 2, 85 percent x 2 x 4, 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3, 80 percent x 3 x 6

Tuesday:
PBN – 4×5

Wednesday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 8

Friday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 2, 85 percent x 2 x 3, 80 percent x 2 x 2

Saturday:
BP – 55 percent x 3, 65 percent x 3 x 2, 75 percent x 2 x 4

Competition Week 3 (79 lifts, 70 percent average intensity)

Monday:
Bp – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 75 percent x 2 x 4

Wednesday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 2 x 2, 80 percent x 1 x 2, 90 percent x 1, 95-100 percent x 1 x 2-3

Friday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 5

Saturday:
BP – 55 percent x 3, 65 percent x 3 x 2, 75 percent x 3 x 4

Competition Week 4 (81 lifts, 71.8 percent average intensity)

Monday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 3, 90 percent x 1 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 2

Wednesday:
BP – 55 percent x 3, 65 percent x 3, 75 percent x 3 x 2, 85 percent x 2 x 3, 80 percent x 3 x 2

Friday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 3 x 5

Saturday:
BP – 55 percent x 3, 65 percent x 3, 75 percent x 2 x 5

Competition Week 5 (53 lifts, 67.7 percent average lifting intensity)

Monday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 80 percent x 2 x 4

Wednesday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 2 x 2, 80 percent x 1 x 3

Friday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 3 x 2, 75 percent x 2 x 4

Competition Week 6 (24 lifts, 61.7 percent average lifting intensity)

Monday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3, 70 percent x 2 x 2, 75 percent x 1 x 2

Wednesday:
BP – 50 percent x 3, 60 percent x 3 x 2, 70 percent x 1 x 3

Saturday:
Competition

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Ed Coan Bench Press Routine

by admin on March 2, 2012

In discussions about the greatest powerlifters of all time, the following persons are almost universally included: Chuck Vogelpohl; Jesse Kellum; Ano Turianinen; Garry Frank; Scot Mendelson; Ryan Kennelly; and Ed Coan. Among these all-time greats, Ed Coan is generally considered to be the best of the best. In fact, Ed is often described as the “greatest powerlifter in the history of the sport.”

Ed was born in 1963 and has set more than 70 powerlifting world records in his lifetime, lifting more aggregate poundage in the three powerlifts then any man in history, regardless of bodyweight. At 21, he became a world powerlifting champion, beating the best in the world by an amazing 138 pounds. Also, in December 1998, Coan squatted 1003, benched pressed 578 and deadlifted 887 for a 2463-pound total. He weighed just 237-pounds. He is often referred to as the powerlifting’s equivalent of a Michael Jordan or other sports immortal.

And although he is renowned for his prowess in the squat, the deadlift and the bench press, it’s his bench press that I want to focus on here. Specifically, we’ll take a look at Ed’s periodized training routine for building a powerful bench press.  Regardless of whether the goal is to build a powerful bench press, squat or deadlift, Ed’s training philosophy is the same>

With this routine you perform only one or two work sets per exercise after warm-up, training in cycles of 8-16 weeks, using the concept of periodization. “The idea is to make small poundage jumps each week,” Coan explains. He advises starting the cycle light, using high reps, and then progressively increasing the weight each week.

Ed’s approach to building upper body strength is pretty straightforward, as you’ll see below.

  • Wednesday: 1: Bench Press; after warming up, perform 2 work sets; 2. Narrow grip; no warm-up, perform 2 work sets (60 pounds less); 3. Incline; no warm-up, perform 2 work sets (50 pounds less).
  • Thursday: 1: Press-behind-the-neck, after warming up, perform 2 work sets; 2. Front lateral raise; after warming up, perform 2 work sets of 10-12 reps; 3. Side lateral raise; perform 2 sets of 10-12 reps; 4. Bent over lateral raise; perform 2 sets of10-12 reps.
  • Saturday: 1. Light bench press; no warm up; perform 2 sets of 8-10 reps; 2. Light dumbbell flyes; no warm up, perform 2 sets of 8-10 reps. 3. Tricep pushdowns; perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps; 4. Dips; perform 1 set of 8-10 reps; 5. Preacher curls; perform 2 sets of 10-12 reps. This day is designed to be a lightweight, muscle flushing workout.

So there you have Ed’s weekly strategy for building a powerful upper body. This technique is called cycling and is designed to peak strength. Each week Ed adds 15 pounds to the previous week’s work set weight. Although 15 pounds represents just 2.5 percent of his max bench, these small jumps, done consistently and spread over a long 14-week cycle, add up to huge gains over time.

Ed cycles on all his exercises, which basically refers to concentrating on different repetition ranges at different times over the course of the training cycle. His cycling repetition guidelines are shown below.

Week 1-2 10 rep sets
Week 3-4 8 rep sets
Week 5-8 5 rep sets
Week 9-10 3 rep sets
Week 11-12 2 rep sets
Week 13 1 rep set
Week 14 1 rep set

The small weight increases coax strength and power gains from the muscles. Week after week the muscle fibers become accustomed to slightly heavier loads. These relatively light increases also allow for refining your lifting technique and perfecting your form. Everything about this workout has been designed by Ed to develop momentum, which is a classic and time-tested strength building strategy.

Compared to some of the crazy workout routines you see in the fitness magazines, Ed’s conservative, no-frills training strategy stands alone.  Although not as trendy and ‘novel’ as the current ‘routine of the day,’ Ed’s approach is the most effective system of strength building ever devised.

If you want to try the bench cycle for yourself, just scale the prescribed weights according to your current max. The lifter in the example shown below has a one-rep maximum of 270 pounds, and wants to improve to 300.

Week 1 190 x 2 x 10
Week 2 190 x 2 x 10
Week 3 200 x 2 x 8
Week 4 210 x 2 x 8
Week 5 220 x 2 x 5
Week 6 230 x 2 x 5
Week 7 240 x 2 x 5
Week 8 250 x 2 x 3
Week 9 260 x 2 x 3
Week 10 270 x 2 x 2
Week 11 280 x 2 x 2
Week 12 300 x 1

So there you have it—Ed Coan’s basic routine for building a powerful upper body and an amazing bench press. It’s probably a lot more simple than you ever expected but remember, sometimes the most effective concepts are also the most basic.

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Increase Bench Press Is Almost Here…

September 16, 2011

If  you’re anything like me you’re constantly thinking about ways you can increase your bench press fast. We all know that there’s no magic pill or workout formula that will instantaneously skyrocket your bench press max.  It comes down to discipline, patience, hard work and lots of time. That may not sound so exciting but [...]

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