Bench stuck? Want a challenge? Try a roller coaster bench routine.

Bench stuck? Want a challenge? Try a roller coaster bench routine.

Dec 22, 2013

This article covers the bench only part of the workout. I typically would follow this with  another assistance chest exercise but be warned your tris will be shot and your lockouts will be tough on any movement that follows. I tried floor after this and found to be 40lbs weaker because of fatigue. I like doing rack or incline after this.

Ok I started my 3rd mini cycle which will compromise of 5 sets of the bench with a rep scheme of 6,8,4,8,8.  HOWEVER it is a pyramid but it is inverted. After doing a mini of bands then followed by a cycle of speed bench I now have advanced into, what I believe is my hardest mini cycle. It is challenging because of the nature of the sets. It is like a “roller coaster” where there are ups and downs but not like you think. MOST pyramid sets you work to the “peak” set which usually is the middle set or the end set of workout. NOT THIS ONE. The peak set is THE BEGINNING, the MIDDLE and the END!!! This is the ACTUAL order of the sets:

320 6 reps (grip is in almost 2” each side)

275 8 reps

365 4 reps (grip is 1/2-3/4” narrower grip)

275 8 reps

320 8 reps (competition grip)

You notice you go high, low, higher, low, and high.

I focus on reps this cycle which is a mixture of speed and power.  I don’t do percentages but base my projected numbers off of 4 and 8 rep maxes(so you need to know yours.)The first week is like a feeler week. You do NOT want to fail the first week so pick a weight you know you can do for 8 reps, not your pr 8 reps. I also use the same thinking for my 4 rep set. Maybe start about 20-30 lbs. lighter then add 10 each week till you are at a pr set of 4 and 8 reps in the 4th week.

The 1st and 5th sets ARE the same weight but the reps and grip are different.

2nd and 4th sets are the same weight and grip. Do 50-60 lbs. less then the 1st set.

The 1st set I start with my goal of 8 heavy reps which is 320. Yes I only did 6 because I seem to always be sluggish the first time I do it and because it is a narrower grip I can’t do the same reps as competition grip.

WHY? To work the tris harder for better carryover when I am geared up .I can feel the tris getting stressed. The key to the goal sets is tough because I need to be pumped or warmed up enough to tackle and be successful on the first attempt and yet have the energy to do it again 4 sets later. I add a couple of extra warm up sets of 245 before the first set.

The 2nd and 4th sets are 8 reps but a lighter weight which I try to do fast. I am always successful on these sets BUT the 4th set I notice a slight fatigue kicks in even though it feels like 135 in the hands. The first 2 weeks of my cycle I use the same weight. The next 2 weeks I increase the weight and maybe increase it a second time for the 4th week also.

Two reasons why these are highly successful sets are:

  • Weights are lighter then the previous set.
  • The weight doesn’t feel as heavy as it would if it was first set because your hands are used to the previous set which was heavier. This is a mental plus also!!


The third set, my goal is 4 reps. I grip ½-3/4” narrower then my competition grip. If I am tired I will go to competition grip. This is the first time I use wrist wraps too. I notice the weight feels lighter then what it would feel like if I did a normal routine to get to that weight. Considering, in this example, I jump up 90 lbs. BUT it doesn’t feel it.

I start about 20 lbs. lighter then my best 4 rep max. I do a 4 week cycle so by the end my goal is 5-15 lbs. goal. Example my best 4 rep say is 395 so:

  • 1st wk 375 4 reps
  • 2nd wk 385 4 reps
  • 3rd wk  395 4 reps
  • 4th week 405 4 reps(this weight is determine after the previous sets because I am trying to hit a pr on the 1st set also)

This is asking a lot of your body to hit a pr with your 8 rep set AND a 4 rep set. If you hit one great but hit both, awesome!!!

The 5th set is the toughest one. You have just:

  • Done 4 sets previous of no less than 4 reps
  • You have gone high, low, even higher, low, and then again high.
  • You have done 2 sets with near 100% 4 and 8 rep max.
  • Your muscles are confused.


I go to competition grip for this set with wraps. Physically and mentally you may be tired. I don’t worry much though about this set. I am doing it with competition grip and the weight IS going to feel light. It literally feels like a pump down set. I actually get more reps with this set then first time I tried it.


To me there are so many benefits.

  • Changing the grips and hitting max rep pr means my close grip is ALSO getting stronger.
  • Hitting 8 rep pr at the end of the workout following 26 reps is excellent especially since it is your competition grip which you didn’t use on any of the previous sets.
  • Muscle confusion. From “roller coastering” the weight your muscles are in a daze from the unorthodox sets.
  • From being pumped or burning out it forces you to focus more on technique on the 3rd and 5th set where the weight is 95% or better of your pr max. You learn how to use your leverages or mechanics because brute strength is exhausted. You train smarter.



You can do this for 6 -10 weeks if you like .I would find it difficult and failure or overtraining kicking in around the 6th week. You can add a “deload” week after 4th week.  I only do it for 4 because I rotate thinking and weights every 4 weeks.

Thanks to The GYM and Tan Line, Titan Support Systems, IronAuthority, ATP Extreme ,Oxygen Factor, and RockTape.

Till next time.

Focus First.




If you have any questions feel free to ask.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Please follow and like us:

© 2012-2018 IronAuthority All Rights Reserved

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email