The Russian Bench Press Program is a workout routine for increasing your bench press strength. Use our Russian bench program calculator below to generate your program.
- Enter your max (1RM) into the box below.
- Hit enter.
- Your bench program is generated!
How Does the Russian Bench Press Program Work?
The Russian bench press routine is six weeks long, with three weekly bench press workouts.
You’ll alternate between two types of workouts:
- In one workout, you will do 6 sets x 2 reps x 80% of your 1RM.
- And in every other workout, you will progress in weight or reps.
The 6 sets x 2 reps x 80% will remain like a steady beat throughout the entire program, while the progressive workout will get increasingly more challenging.
For the first three weeks, you will progress in reps:
- Workout 2: 80% x 6 sets x 3 reps
- Workout 4: 80% x 6 sets x 4 reps
- Workout 6: 80% x 6 sets x 5 reps
- Workout 8: 80% x 6 sets x 6 reps
And for the last three weeks, you will progress in weight:
- Workout 10: 85% x 5 sets x 5 reps
- Workout 12: 90% x 4 sets x 4 reps
- Workout 14: 95% x 3 sets x 3 reps
- Workout 16: 100% x 2 sets x 2 reps
- Workout 18 (Final): 105% x 1 set x 1 rep
As you can see, the number of sets and reps decreases in the final weeks as the weights get heavier. This taper in combination with training at lifting heavier weights will increase your bench press strength.
Who Is the Russian Bench Press Program For?
I’d say that this training program is primarily suited for the intermediate lifter.
- The beginner will surely get stronger from it, but would maybe have been able to progress faster with a simpler program. Like our beginner bench press program, where you bench press two times per week and increase the weight by 2.5 kg or 5 lb when you can do 3 sets x 5 reps.
- The advanced lifter must be careful as the Russian bench program progresses fast. You might still benefit from it, however, if you’re careful about weight selection. Enter a one-rep max into the calculator that, in six weeks, will put you just slightly ahead of your current strength levels.
Be reasonable when you enter your current 1RM. Look through the weeks; the workouts should be challenging but plausible.
Training Days & Rest Days
Spread the three workouts out over the week so that you get at least one full rest day in between training sessions.
You could, for example, train on:
What about Your Other Training?
The Russian bench program should be your main priority when you’re doing it. You won’t have many physical or psychological reserves left for hard training in other areas, and you should plan accordingly.
Keep training your other lifts and your whole body, but focus your main attention on successfully getting through this program and put your other lifts on the back burner.
What about Assistance Work?
The Russian bench program contains 18 fairly hard bench press sets per week, and your main priority should be to successfully do those.
For most people, I believe the bench press training alone is enough work for your pressing muscles: your pecs, front delts, and triceps. Therefore, I do not generally suggest you add any bench press accessory work.
I suggest you add some pulling work for your back muscles to balance all the pushing work, and also do some (not a lot) lower body training on at least one day per week.
Remember: the bench press should be your main focus. Don’t try to do too many things simultaneously, as that will distract you and lead to inferior results.
Can You Do the Russian Bench Program for the Squat?
Can You Do the Russian Squat Routine for Deadlifts?
Yes, you can. I know, because I’ve done it myself.
One time, it went great, and I hit a new deadlift PR (something like 10 kg, I think). The other time, I entered too high a 1RM, and had to quit due to injury in week 3.
In my experience, the deadlift requires different programming than the squat or bench press.
Generally, it seems like you need to go easier with the weights and perhaps the total training volume as well.
If you want to do the Russian deadlift program, make sure to enter a very conservative 1RM. It should probably be well below what you can currently lift. The program will still make you stronger just by the sheer training volume of it.
Follow the Russian Bench Press Program on Your Phone – for Free
The Russian bench press routine is one of many free programs in our app StrengthLog.
To follow the Russian bench press routine in our app, follow these steps:
- Download StrengthLog using the buttons below.
- Find the program in the program library.
- Enter your 1RM and start training.
The app will calculate your weights for every workout, plus track and provide statistics on your training.
Download StrengthLog for free:
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