Last updated on April 18th, 2022 at 04:02 pm
It’s something that literally every lifter wants to know, “How Much Should My Bench Press Increase Each Week?”
There probably isn’t a gym exercise that receives as much attention as the bench press.
In fact, it’s often viewed as the “bro” status of strength, “How much do you bench bro?”
So, in an attempt to finally get involved in the bro conversations without embarrassment you no doubt want to increase the weight you’re benching on a regular basis.
But how much is too much, and how much is just right?
Allow me to explain what you need to know about increasing weight on the bench press.
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How Much Should My Bench Press Increase Each Week?
As a novice lifter you will typically notice linear gains from week-to-week. In fact, it’s not unheard-of for someone new to add 5-10lbs per week to their bench press. However, the linear gains will eventually plateau after a few months. Once you are bench pressing above your own body weight, an increase of 5lbs per month would be considered very good. With that being said, rather than looking to increase your bench press every week, train the movement until your body has adapted to the current weight before adding more.
1. Newbie Linear Gains Won’t Last Forever
As with most questions exercise-related the answer to the bench press conundrum is “it depends”.
In fact, asking how much your bench press should increase every week is the same as asking the age-old question, “how long is a piece of string”.
There are just so many factors to take into consideration that it’s impossible to give an exact answer.
And the major factor is that we are all different from each other.
One person could add x amount of weight to their bench each week, whereas someone else can’t even manage to add half that weight.
And the exact same can be said for two people of the same height, same weight, same lifting experience.
What one can manage may seem impossible to the other.
With that being said, there are specific numbers you can aim for in order to increase the weight you’re benching.
However, this will differ based on your lifting experience.
One thing’s for sure, and that’s the newer you are to lifting the quicker you will make progress.
We’ve all heard about “newbie gains” and it’s definitely a thing.
As someone new to lifting you may barely be able to bench press 50% of your body weight.
However, with regularly benching sessions you may find that you’re hitting your body weight within 4-5 weeks.
So, as a 180lb person you may have increased your bench press weight by 90lbs in 4-5 weeks.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
If you wondering how much should your bench press increase each month – well, as a newbie, up to 90lbs of newbie gains.
So, in effect, your bench press has increased by 18-22.5lbs per week.
Well, that’s hugely impressive, but linear gains like these don’t last forever, and you will eventually plateau.
I mean, if you could continue adding weight like this you’d be benching over 1,000lbs by the end of the year.
I would say that you can typically look to add 5-10lbs a week, perhaps slightly more, as someone completely new to bench pressing.
However, once you hit your own body weight things will start to slow down.
So, for most novices they will see some great gains for the first 2-3 months.
These will then almost come to a shuddering halt.
Once you’re benching above your own body weight, you’d typically class your bench press increasing by 5lbs a month as pretty good.
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2. Add Weight Once Your Body Has Adapted
Personally, I believe that once you’ve got past the newbie gains that you should only add weight once your body has adapted.
So, if you’re training 5×5 on bench press, only once you can hit 5 reps with your current weight for every set should you increase the weight.
The same can be said if you’re training bench press 3×12.
Only once you can hit all three sets with 12 reps should you increase the weight.
So, this may happen on a weekly basis, but then again it could be 2-3 weeks before you hit the desired number of reps for each set.
Furthermore, you also have to take how you feel into consideration.
I’ve mentioned that linear gains will eventually stop, but there’s nothing to say that you’ll feel stronger week-to-week.
Once again, there are many factors to take into consideration.
You may be benching one day and you haven’t had a particularly good night’s sleep.
It could be that you haven’t eaten for a good number of hours beforehand.
You may even find that one week your body just feels tired and battered from previous training sessions.
Basically, there are so many things that could affect your lifts one week to the next.
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So, for me, increase the weight when you feel ready to do so.
But, don’t be alarmed if one week you can’t lift as much as the previous week.
It happens, that’s life.
3. Progressive Overload isn’t Always About Weight
When it comes to benching we all typically look at progress meaning that we’ve added more weight to the bar.
In fact, this is how we view pretty much every exercise in the gym.
However, this isn’t always the case.
I would much prefer that I’m making some kind of progress each week even if it isn’t specifically the weight that I’m pressing.
In my mind, progressive overload simply means that I am getting better over a period of time.
As I’ve mentioned, this may differ from week-to-week, simply because of how you’re feeling.
With that being said, if I manage to push out one extra rep with the same weight as last week, that’s progress.
If I happen to perform my sets of bench press, but with less rest in-between sets, once more this is progress.
Even if I press the same weight as last week, but I actually feel stronger while doing so, this yet again is progress.
So, don’t always rate progress while bench pressing in terms of how much weight you’re shifting.
What Most Lifters Get Wrong About Progressive Overload
4. How Often Are You Bench Pressing?
Something else to consider is how often you’re actually bench pressing.
Personally, I like to hit each body part 2-3 times a week with a variety of exercises.
However, not everyone trains in the same way.
Plus, if you’re looking to specifically progress a certain exercise then it makes sense to train that exercise more often.
In fact, it’s not unheard-of for someone to train bench press 2,3,4,5, or even 6 times a week.
If you are performing specialization training for one specific exercise or body part then I would advise you to keep it short.
So, in effect, you should only specialize for around 3-4 weeks before giving your muscles a break.
This is also why it’s fairly difficult to answer the question, “How much should my bench press increase each month?”
You could see significant increases in bench press when you specialize the movement for just under a month.
I would also suggest that you follow various training protocols and not to hit the exact same weight, reps, and sets every session.
Therefore, you could train bench press 3 times a week.
Once in the 3-5 rep range, once in the 8-12 rep range, and another time in the 15+ rep range.
Additionally, you can change up the number of sets that you’re using.
The likelihood is that after 3-4 weeks of specialization training your bench press numbers would increase significantly when compared to training to just once a week.
So, as you can see, there is no exact number that your bench press should increase each week.
There are just too many factors to take into consideration.
However, as a novice lifter, it can be quite common to see a 5-10lb increase each week.
With that being said, once you’re bench pressing more than your own body weight things change ever so slightly.
Approximately 5lbs in how much your bench press should increase in a month.
I quote in terms of a month as the increase in bench press could be pretty insignicant on a weekly basis.
Nevertheless, some of you may see an increase of up to 10lbs per month, we’re all different.
The best way to increase your bench press is to only increase weight once you feel your body has adapted.
Plus, you could follow a bench press specialization program and hit the lift more often and only then judge how much your bench press can increase in just under a month.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.