Bring up your bench press with this intense 10 set x 3 rep bench press specialization workout plan from top powerlifter Steve Shaw
- Main GoalIncrease Strength
- Workout TypeSplit
- Training LevelIntermediate
- Program Duration17 weeks
- Days Per Week3
- Time Per Workout60-75 minutes
- Equipment RequiredBarbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells, Machines
- Target GenderMale
It has been proven time and time again that total training volume is paramount when it comes to maximizing muscle growth.
This is generally why bodybuilders prioritize higher rep ranges, since this allows for a faster accumulation of volume in a training session.
While this practice may not be optimal for strength gains, it is clearly the most efficient way to gain muscle mass.
But what if there was a training program that combined high volume training with heavy weights to ensure both excellent muscle growth along with very nice gains in strength?
So what is the 10 x 3 bench press workout?
Pick a weight that’s close to 85 percent of your 1 repetition max and then you do 10 sets, each with 3 reps, with that same weight. The 10×3 workout concept challenges conventional muscle building schools of thought and is proven to be highly effective.
So what makes the 10 x 3 bench press routine so special?
The primary benefit of this training is that it is an excellent combination of heavy weights and optimal training volume that provide strength gains and muscle growth simultaneously.
In this program, you use around 65% percent of your IRM; this, in conjunction with the heavy weights works wonders for the fast-twitch muscle fibres in your body that respond more favourably to heavier weightages rather than lighter ones.
The sets, reps and moving forward
During week one, you will perform 10 sets of 3 reps with your starting weight. Rest between sets will be 90 to 120 seconds; no longer or shorter. When you start dropping sets (missing triples), keep all rest periods at 120 seconds, or longer if need be.
1RM = 200 ( 65% = 130 lbs )
Week One – 130 pounds x 3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3
Each subsequent week you add another 5 pounds to the bar, trying to complete the full 10 sets x 3 reps. When you are unable to hit 3 reps with a given set(s), you drop those sets the following week. (Still adding another 5 pounds to the bar)
Week Two – 135 pounds x 3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3
Week Three – 140 pounds x 3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3/2/1
Week Four – 145 pounds x 3/3/3/3/3/3/3/2
Week Five – 150 pounds x 3/3/3/3/3/3/3
Week Six – 155 pounds x 3/3/3/3/3/3/3
Week Seven – 160 pounds x 3/3/3/3/3/3/3
Week Eight – 165 pounds x 3/3/3/3/3/3/1
Week Nine – 170 pounds x 3/3/3/3/3/3
Week Ten – 175 pounds x 3/3/3/3/3/3/2
Week Eleven – 180 pounds x 3/3/3/3/1
Week Twelve – 185 pounds x 3/3/3/3
Week Thirteen – 190 pounds x 3/3/3/2
Week Fourteen – 195 pounds x 3/3/3
Week Fifteen – 200 pounds x 3/3/1
Week Sixteen – 205 pounds x 3/2
Week Seventeen – 210 pounds x 3
10×3 Sets Summary
So, in conclusion.
For the 10 x 3 sets you:
- Add 5 pounds every week.
- Drop a set when you fail to reach 3 reps.
- Stop the cycle when you down to one triple, or fewer reps.
- Monday – Bench Press day with 10×3 sets.
- Wednesday – Misc. strength training work.
- Friday – Bench Press moderate day.
As always, your focuses should include: weighted pull-ups, weighted dips, bench press, squats, deadlifts, or barbell rows.
Therefore, a typical chest workout could look something like this:
Bench press: 10 x 3
Incline press: 2 x 8
Dips: 2 x 8