Improving your bench press often requires using a weight-training program specific to building strength. One four-week program is the 5-3-1 method, which is based on percentages for your current one-repetition max. Be sure you warm up properly and lift with correct technique.
- Determine your current max
Determine your current one-repetition max on the bench press if you don't already know it. Do this with a spotter in case you fail.
- Take percentages of your max
Take percentages of your max, starting at 60 and going up to 95, doing so in increments of 5. For example, if your max is 200 pounds, your 60 percent is 120, and your 65 percent is 130.
- Assign the percentages to the weeks
Assign the percentages to the four weeks of the program. For the first week, do five repetitions each of your 75, 80 and 85 percentages. For the second week, perform three repetitions of your 80, 85 and 90 percentages. For the third week, perform five repetitions at 85 percent, three repetitions at 90 and one at 95. For the fourth week, perform five repetitions each of your 60, 65 and 70 percentages.
- Increase your max by five pounds
Increase your max by 5 pounds after you have completed the four-week cycle. With this new max, redo all the percentages, and perform the cycle again.