Q: I seem to have hit a strength plateau on my bench press? Any suggestions on how I can break through it?
A: The first thing you need to do is to take a week off from training chest. This will allow you to be fully primed for an 8 week program that will not only get you past your sticking point but that is specifically designed to up your bench by a whopping 10% in that couple of months.
The program you’re going to utilize is sometimes called Wave Training. Developed by the Canadian weightlifting team, it is based upon the concept of potentiation and small forward progressions. Each workout will consist of 3 rounds or ‘waves’ of 3 sets. Between sets you will rest for 90 seconds, with a 4-minute break between waves. For the first set of the first wave, load the bar with 90 % of your one rep max and perform 3 reps. On the second set, up it to 95 % of your 1RM and go for 2 reps. Set 3 will consist of a single at your 1RM.
Your second wave begins at 91 % of your 1RM for 3 reps. If, for instance your 1RM for the bench is 250 pounds, then your first set on the previous wave would have been at 225, and this time you’ve upped to 227.5 pounds. For set two, perform 3 reps at 96 % and for your third set of this wave, you will actually perform a single with 101 % of your 1RM.
After a four-minute breather, you’re ready for your last fly through. This time you’re going to add an extra 1 % of weight to each exercise. So, you will be pushing 102 % of your 1RM on your final set.