Crazy @8s – Raw Bench Press Program

Crazy @8s – Raw Bench Press Program

Jun 27, 2012


By: Brady Stewart

Here at Iron Authority, we are not a fan of cookie cutter training. However, for a quick and dirty, yet effective raw bench pressing workout, check out the following training plan. It is designed for the beginner and intermediate bencher. The point of this raw bench press program is to keep the body from overdoing it, but getting enough work in to improve your bench press. Raw bench pressing isn’t always about speed and heavy max effort work. It is about conditioning, strength, and technique. The sets, reps, and RPE’s outlined will gradually improve your bench press to new strength levels.

If you are not familiar with RPE’s, or Rate of Perceived Exertion, please read this article: BEGINNING RTS

Training with RPEs @8, helps you learn to dominate heavy weights. In your mind KNOW…I will have total and complete control of this weight. Think aggressively, but with COMPLETE control of the bar. You must command the bar. YOU put that bar where in needs to go and DEMAND that it will go there. Lift with complete focus on what you are doing with the bar AT ALL TIMES. Treat that bar like a rag doll, but do so with finesse, perfection, and COMPLETE CONTROL. Sloppy reps will create sloppy results, so make every single rep of every single set perfect. With this plan, you cannot fail.

Still don’t know what it takes to dominate weights?  See: DOMINATION TRAINING

It is important to note that you stick to your RPE’s, you should NEVER hit @9 or @10 RPE’s. If you do, you are lifting too much. Don’t check your ego in at the door…LEAVE IT AT HOME!!!! The only one keeping you from improving is yourself, so be honest when you assign your RPE’s to every set. Training this way will hopefully help you outline future bench press cycles on your own. GOOD LUCK!!!  -Brady Stewart 


Competition Style Raw Bench Press
x3 @8 RPE
x2 @8 RPE
x1 @8 RPE
x1 @8 RPE

RAW 2 Board Press
x3 @8 RPE

RAW 1 Board Press
x3 @8 RPE

Competition Style Raw Bench Press
x3 @8 RPE

Close Grip Bench Press
x2x10 @7 RPE

Lats (rows or pulldowns)
x4 sets x15 reps @7-8 RPE

x2 sets x20 reps @7-8 RPE



Wide Grip Bench Press
x5 sets x3 reps @8 RPE

Close Grip Bench Press
x4 sets x4 reps @8 RPE

Dumbbell Military Press – sit on flat bench
x2 sets x20 reps @7 RPE

Lats (rows or pulldowns)
x4 sets x15 reps @7-8 RPE

Rotator Cuff External Rotations
x2 sets x30 reps @7 RPE

This is a higher volume day, so be careful not to hit anything over an @8 RPE, especially with your bench pressing. If you ever feel that you are weak and need week for a deload, just go in two days that week and lift 65% for 5 sets of 3 reps in the bench…do some lats, go home. You should bounce back for your next bench pressing session when it comes around. Any questions, please post in the comments!


STILL NOT CONVINCED???  See Brady’s (author of this program) bench press video below!


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  1. If anyone is wanting to bench only once per week, you could simply alternate day 1 and day 2 week to week. However, your results may not be as amplified.

  2. Brady – How do you know when to increase weights? I understand the concept of RPE, but if I’m constantly stopping well below failure, doesn’t this make progressing with higher weights more difficult to gauge?

    You list doing Singles (1 x 8RPE) with 2 reps left in the tank, which equates to doing single with your 3rm weight – is this correct?


    • Hey Tom. Thanks for the questions. If the protocol says x1 @8RPE, then yes you would pick a weight that you feel would be your perceived or actual 3RM.

      I would only increase the poundage by 5lbs if I hit my target RPE the previous week. So if this week I did 350 x3 @8RPE, then the following week I would attempt 355 x3. That way you still likely won’t hit an @9-10RPE, but likely an @8.5RPE.

      However, if I hit 350 x3 @7-7.5, then I would increase the weight the following week by not over 5lbs. That way, you’ll have plenty of weeks to increase overall tonnage and volume.

      If you are running stagnant for a few weeks there are a few options that I recommend.

      1) You could deload for a week, then start over with lighter weights that would equate to @7RPE for the first week back, then adjust only 5lbs up each week until you peak your RPEs again.

      2) You could max out, then deload the following week, followed by scenario 1.

      3) You could also do a 1-3 weeks where you do @9s instead of @8s. Then follow that up with Crazy @8s again, a deload, or a max day…then start it all over again if desired.

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