As a beginner, it’s easy for lifters to progress through intense workouts and rigorous training sessions. Even experienced powerlifters have the capabilities to improve their performance at the gym and lift heavier weights after a certain amount of time.
Intermediate lifters, on the other hand, struggle to keep up. They cannot lift lighter weights like the beginners and hope to progress in terms of hypertrophy and strength. And their body is just not prepared to lift heavy weights like advanced lifters do.
So, improving their performance at the gym, particularly in exercises like bench-pressing, becomes difficult for them.
Fortunately, there is a workaround for this grave problem. If intermediate lifters follow a specialised bench press program, they will be able to progress beyond their respective plateaus.
One such popular training module is Brad Gillingham’s 12-week raw bench program. While even advanced lifters can also use this program to improve their bench-pressing capabilities, it primarily focuses on helping the progress of intermediate lifters.
Brad Gillingham’s bench program allows aspiring powerlifters to achieve maximum preparedness for bench-press competitions and events.
It does so by using some interesting principles for maximising effectiveness.
For instance, Brad Ghillingham makes use of the lifter’s 1-Rep Maximum to measure the starting weights for the program. He does so because 1RM gives a more objective account of the lifter’s progress and performance in comparison to their Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).
After figuring out the starting weights, the rest is pretty straightforward. The program follows the cycle of undulating periodization. Here, training intensity and training volume fluctuates after every workout session to maximise stimulus and gain maximum strength.
The program, therefore, uses an effective schedule and proper workout routines to increase the 1RM of the lifter by the end of the twelfth week.
To summarise, here are the defining features of this 12-week bench press program:
- Use of 1RM percentage to calculate the weights to be used by the powerlifter.
- Undulating periodization pattern of training, dividing the cycle into “heavy days” and “light days”.
- Effective scheduling to ensure proper time for rest and recovery.
Brad Gillingham’s 12 Week Raw Bench Program
Brad Gillingham’s 12-week raw bench program is quite straightforward once you get the hang of it.
Firstly, the lifter must understand that the schedule is divided into heavy days and volume days. Essentially, you must train twice a week to maximise effectiveness. So, there will be plenty of time for your body to rest in between continuous workout sessions.
Weekly training sessions will contain one heavy day and one volume day. On heavy days, the lifter must work with heavier weights and perform a low number of repetitions. Another important thing of note is that lifters should perform “heavy singles” on such days to determine the weight where they start struggling to perform more repetitions.
Doing so can effectively allow intermediate lifters to gradually become more confident at lifting heavier weights that they would struggle with in the past.
On the other hand, volume days will feature lesser weights but training volume (or number of repetitions) will be higher.
The undulating fluctuation between the two is essential for keeping the body shocked and engaged, allowing more stimulus for effective gains.
The ultimate goal of the program is to start the first week with around 85-90% of 1RM and ending it at around 102.5% of 1RM by the end of the twelfth week.
Brad Gillingham’s 12 Week Raw Bench Program Spreadsheet
Once you get into the rhythm, Brad Gillingham’s 12-week raw bench program is quite easy to understand. You would also have a good time following the routine as it allows the lifters to see their progress over time.
To enjoy the benefits of this 12-week bench press program, you can download the Spreadsheet file from here.
Brad Gillingham is a legend in the powerlifting sport. Getting advice on how to improve your bench-pressing capabilities from a World Champion is the ultimate blessing.
With this program, intermediate lifters can advance to the next stage fairly quickly.