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