There’s no doubt that a guy reading this who uses AAS, and one who does not, are going to get different results from any mass-building program. Everyone should start off by saying this, but maybe some assume it goes without saying. However, on the other hand, the good news is, we really believe that someone natural can still add 10-15 pounds to his bench using this exact program, provided that he eats appropriate calories, gets appropriate rest, and uses supplements to his advantage, such as creatine, glutamine, and others that enhance one’s recovery and/or strength. Really, it’s technique, discipline and pushing oneself beyond a certain point. So, to sum up, if the AAS user is a lazy bugger, and the natural dude is motivated to succeed – no matter what – we think even the natural dude can surpass the lazy bugger. ‘Nuff said.
A Little About the Rationale Behind the Program
Anything that promises strength gains does so because it fits a particular profile. Remember this profile and you won’t have to read all of these articles all the time, because there are only so many effective combinations in this life. And this one is simply this:
Low Rep – Low Volume – High-Intensity
Okay, so the first two are probably fairly obvious, but how can one encapsulate the concept of "high intensity"? Not quite as simple or obvious, since it’s one of those concepts that a lot of people don’t understand. It isn’t just a mean look on one’s face prior to or during a set, it’s a set of factors that create a practical concept. Many things can constitute high intensity during training, depending upon what it is you’re doing – cardio or weight training. Generally, high intensity is maximum weight, manipulation or use of rest times as intensity, set type or pagination, number of sets or types of exercises combined, and most often forgotten… lack of cheating!
In this case, exercises ought to be basic and compound. Because we’re talking about bench press, we’re going to be using it mostly, but we’ll also add some ancillary exercises to ensure that the bench becomes stronger.
Form should be simple: No bouncing the bar off your chest or cheating the weights up, controlling the bar to just hover at its lowest point just an inch above the nipple area, a full grip rather than a false grip, a slightly wider than shoulder width and a sharp, heavy exhale as you drive the weight upward.
But first things first….
You need to determine your overall rep max with a particular weight. That’s crucial because you’ll be maxing weight out for intensity and strength and this is a meaningful measurement. So to arrive at it, you’ll need to do a few tests first:
2 x 12 with a weight you suspect is your heaviest you can do for :
2 sets of 12 w/ a 2 minute rest in between sets
1 x 8 with a weight you think you can do for:
10 reps w/ a 3 minute rest in between
1 x 4 with a weight you think you can do for:
6 reps w/ a 3 minute rest
Now, try your rep max for 1 with the single heaviest weight and take a 3 minute rest
Repeat by trying again 1 x 1 adjusting until you find it.
Rest 3 days after you do this exercise, then begin the following routine for 4 weeks:
4 WEEK ROUTINE
1 x 8 (weight _90% max_ );
1 x 6 (weight _85% max_ );
1 x 4 (weight _70% max_ );
1 x 8 (weight _50% max_)
Bench instructions: Pause at your chest for a few seconds, controlling the weight at the bottom end for added strength. Have a partner do a few negative reps with you on some of these. You can also use band tension to increase “explosivity” if you have them.
Incline Dumbbell Press (smith or regular bar station)
2 x 8 (weight _85% max_);
2 x 4 (weight _75% max_);
1 x ** (weight _85% max);
1 x 8 (weight _60% max_)
Dumbbell Flyes (Flat)
2 x 5 (weight _85% max_);
2 x 3 (weight _85% max_);
1 x 1 (weight _90% max_);
3 x 8 (weight _75% max_)
French Press – Skull Crushers
1 x ** (weight _75% max_);
2 x 8 (weight _65% max_);
2 x 5 (weight _80% max_)
(Do your regular triceps routine on its designated day if you can, with some drop-set dips added in)
** means to failure in that set
Take 3-4 days in between this workout – Don’t let us stop you from doing more of your max toward the end sets of your various movements. Push yourself, though not into injury. Rest times vary depending upon fatigue, but try to keep rest times to 2-3 minutes, tops!
Stretching: Do a series of stretches after this routine. It’s going to hurt and you’ll want to just stop the madness and pain from the extreme pump you have. You can start off by doing some light sets of flat bench flyes or incline dumbbell flyes. We’re talking 20 pounds or so in each hand. Hang from a chin bar too. All of this will help the lactic acid clear out, and soreness will be less. Taking glutamine will also help.
Supplementation: Creatine and Glutamine!! You decide the amounts, but really try to coordinate the first 3 weeks with a creatine load. Always finish off with a carb/ protein shake with 3-4 grams of glutamine.
A final word…
Remember, you can modify this, based on how you feel from day to day. Stick with the basics of the program, but if you are feeling more fatigued and you decide to go ahead with your workout instead of taking another day off, increase rest times slightly, tweak set or rep numbers, but keep it intense and have your partner add in more negatives or do some drop sets instead and end a little early. If you have to cut out something, make it French Press/ Skull crushers. The first 3 are truly important. But if you have to choose, definitely do the first three first.
Learn from your progress and mistakes and attack that bench like you’re a cannibalistic beast!