I would like to try increase my 1RM on bench, in about two weeks, and I would like to know what are some general tips I could keep to have it actually work out?

For example, Should I try cut off benching at a certain period before the target day?

2 Answers 2


Building a PR

Generally, studies show that the best way to increase 1RM is to use few repetitions with high weight. The difference to the same volume with more repetitions with less weight is small but statistically significant.

The way to train with the highest weight possible is eccentric training (almost straight arms, with assist, basically just breaking the fall of the bar, assist raises back up, start all over again, 2-5 reps). Thus, it is the best method for improving 1RM since it uses isometric tension (highest raw muscle power) which moves through all the movement range because the external force is higher than what your muscles can hold even isometrically.

As you specified you want to have 2 weeks only, there is not much in terms of training that you can do. Yes, you could have 2-3 training sessions training as described, with 3-5 days of rest in between. The way to go for personal records has not much to do with that, though:

  • have some days of rest before your try
  • do a particularly light warm-up so that the muscles don't tire before you get started
  • have clean food, lots of hydration, and especially a good amount of sleep for some days
  • have sufficient carbs 3-4 hours before the attempt so that your glycogen stores are full and energy can be replenished fast

As of training hard in the long run

There are some caveats regarding load progression by means of weight only (ie. 1 RM PRs). Since tendons, ligaments, and especially cartilage and bones take much longer to adapt to resistance training than muscles do, there is a real danger that if you use strict progressive loading with this method, stress injuries in those structures may follow.

Hence, it may be better for your health (preventing shoulder injuries and arthritis) to use a mix of max weight and high repetition (to failure, lower weights) methods with approx. 1 month cycles.

  • 1
    This answer is more about long-term strategies for strength improvement, so given that the asker specified a 2 week timeline for their PR attempt, I don't think it answers the question. It sounds like the asker is look for a peaking strategy rather than a strength training strategy. Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 0:23
  • Thankfully I did the tldr before this answer was even posted. Phew Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 1:47
  • @DavidScarlett Does the edit address your criticism sufficiently? Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 12:56
  • @PhilipKlöcking yes, excellent edit, especially breaking it down into separate sections for short term and long term! Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 2:05

Not sure what your benching schedule looks like currently, but a 1-2 day break can help. On the bench days leading up, focus on 3-5 rep schemes for increasing your max.

Some final tips are to just hold heavier weight without pressing to get the central nervous system accustomed to heavier weight, and if you have a gym partner you can do negatives with safety’s which can help your tendons get accustomed since they take longer than muscles to get stronger.

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