This Training Technique Could Really Increase Your Bench Press

July 19, 2015

This Training Technique Could Really Increase Your Bench Press

Workout fads come and go, but there is something to be said about the exercises that stand the test of time. The deadlift, squat, and the bench press are present in any routine that aims to build a muscular physique. The reason these exercises have lasted since the beginning of bodybuilding history is simply because they work. While the exercises remain the same, the routines that incorporate them have evolved to maximize results. One technique that has been gaining attention by bodybuilders is something known as Daily Undulating Periodization training, or DUP for short.

In this article, we’ll discuss what DUP is and why utilizing it will increase not just the weight you can bench, but the weight you squat, deadlift, and more.

Break the Monotony

It is a long-standing behavior of gym enthusiasts to go into the gym with a mindset like, “today is chest day,” or “alright I’m working on legs today” etc… Here is why you should leave that philosophy in the dust.

Going into the gym and working out one specific muscle group per week is NOT going to increase your gains as much as breaking the monotony and working on multiple muscle groups every day. Working chest only on Mondays means that for a whole week that muscle group is not being fully utilized to stimulate growth. If you were practicing an instrument and only played once a week it would be a very long time before you saw noticeable results in your ability. Likewise, working out only one muscle group per day is going to prolong the time it takes you to make gains. DUP is working those muscle groups multiple times per week but more specifically changing how those exercises are performed based on percentages of your 1-rep maxes. 

Do The Math

First, you need to find out what your 1-rep max is (1RM) for your main lifts. For the purposes of this article, we’ll consider those to be your bench press, deadlift, and squats. To find your 1-rep max for these lifts, you need record the heaviest weight you can move with good form on each of these. Once you have those numbers, you calculate the percentages accordingly to find your “working” weights. These can range from 60%, 75%, 80%, 85%, and 90%.

For example:


90%- 216lbs   (240 X 0.9 =216)
85% - 204lbs  (240 X 0.85 = 204)
80% -192lbs (240 X 0.8 = 192)
75%-180lbs (240 X 0.75 = 180)
60%- 144lbs (240 X 0.6 = 144)

Each week you will change both the repetition and percentage of each main lift. This is called progressive overload and will help stimulate muscles for maximum gains. It is a way of “confusing” the muscles which forces them to increase in size and strength to handle whatever weight is being lifted.

Organize a Routine

Set a routine that makes you hit every muscle group a few times a week, and each day plan for one of the main lifts to be part of that routine. Here is an exercise template utilizing DUP and progressive overload:



MAIN LIFT: BENCH PRESS  - 5 reps at 75% 1RM/ 5 reps at 80%/ 2 sets of 5 reps at 85%

Calf Raises- 4 sets of 12 reps

Barbell Shoulder press- 4 sets of 10 reps.

Body-weight Dips- 3 sets of 10

Triceps Pressdown-  3 sets of 12 reps

Pistol Squats: 4 sets of 12 reps


MAIN LIFT: SQUAT - 5 reps at 75% 1RM/ 5 reps at 80%/ 2 sets of 5 reps at 85%

Leg Press: 4 sets of 10 reps

Push-ups: 4 sets of 10 reps

Romanian Deadlifts: 4 sets of 10 reps

Front Squats: 4 sets of 10 reps

Day 3

NO MAIN LIFT: instead start with PULL-UPS- 4 sets of 10 reps

Body weight pull-ups- 4 sets of 10 reps

Biceps curls- 4 sets of 10 reps

Hammer curls- 4 sets of 10 reps

Calf raises- 4 sets of 12 reps

Day 4

MAIN LIFT: Bench Press- 4 sets of 10 reps at 60% 1RM

Incline Flies- 4 sets of 10

Triceps pull-downs- 4 sets of 8 (30 sec. rest)

Body-weight Dips – 4 sets of 8 (30 sec. rest)

Cable Biceps Curls- 4 sets of 10 reps

Push-ups- 4 sets of 8 reps (30 sec rest)


MAIN LIFT: Deadlift - 5 reps at 75% 1RM/ 5 reps at 80%/ 2 sets of 5 reps at 85%

Squats- 3 sets of 10 reps

Planks- 4 sets of 60 seconds

Narrow grip Bench press- 3 sets of 10 reps


DAY 6 & 7 –REST


Main lifts now shift to: 3 reps at 80% / 3 reps at 85% / 2 sets of 3 reps at 90%

All other exercises remain the same.


For the final week main lifts become: 10 reps at 60%/ 10 reps at 75%/ 2 sets of 10 reps at 80%

All other exercises remain the same.

The DUP Mindset  

The first thing you will notice is that every muscle is being targeted multiple times per week. The second thing you will notice is that the amount of weight on your main lifts changes every week and on almost every repetition. This progressive overload will promote myofibrillar hypertrophy that will increase the amount of weight you ultimately are able to lift. After each three-week session you will see and feel results, you will also have to increase your 1-rep max at the end of the three weeks.

INCREASE Your 1Rep Max

After those three weeks, go back to the gym, recalculate your 1-rep max and notice the change in numbers you see. You should be lifting more weight on all of your main lifts, and after your sixth and ninth week you should be able to put up more weight than ever before.

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