Phase II and III

Like I discussed in Part 1 of these posts, I have found a great game plan to increase my bench press max by 100 lbs in 6 months. I found out about this method through a great book that’s a bestseller. The author has found a way for you to hack your body into doing what you want it to do, from holding you breath underwater for more than 5 minutes to running like an NFL athlete. There’s everything in this book that will help you lose weight, gain muscle, and sleep less, all while feeling great!

The 4-Hour Body

The book I’m talking about is the 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss. This book just came out recently and has hit all of the bestseller charts. The book itself is written for an audience that is tired of listening and following the same routine that advertisers sell us every year. It’s all about different ways you can hack your body into doing what you want it to do. From sleeping only 2 hours per night and feeling like you’ve slept 8, to gaining 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days. There is tons of information for everybody to consume. If you haven’t read it yet, go on over to Amazon and get yourself a copy. It’s really a great read. I’ve already lost 14 lbs in 5 weeks from following the Slow-Carb Diet Tim discusses. But in this article, I’d like to tell you what my next goal is. Now that I’m below 200 lbs, I’d like to bulk up in muscle and train my body to lift more than I’ve ever lifted before in bench press.

My Goal

In high school, I maxed out at a 225 lb max while being 175 lbs myself. Now that I’m 200 lbs and I have become oh-so weak, I hope that I can max out at around 260 lbs within 6 months by following the “Eating the Elephant” regimen found in the 4-Hour Body. Below I will go through the exact regimen that I plan to follow, and hopefully in the coming weeks and months I’ll report back with good news about my progress in this feat.

PHASE II: 6 weeks (do these workouts only once per week)

The idea behind Phase II is to give your body a sort of “rest” time so that the muscles may solidify and balance out as the body regains its physiological bearings from what you just did to it.

“The paused flat dumbbell bench press and the paused incline dumbbell bench press are the phase II workhorses and are performed together in each workout, once per week.” – Page 429 of the book.

You will want to pause your weight just before your chest. Do not rest the dumbbells on your chest. The weights that you see are for each dumbbell. And your bodyweight can stay the same during this period. So here’s the 6 week plan for my specific weight regimen:

Week 1

  • Dumbbell Bench – 50 lbs(60%) x 10, 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Incline – 40 lbs(50%) x 10, 3 sets

Week 2

  • Dumbbell Bench – 50 lbs(65%) x 10, 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Incline – 45 lbs(55%) x 10, 3 sets

Week 3

  • Dumbbell Bench – 65 lbs(80%) x 6, 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Incline – 55 lbs(70%) x 6, 2 sets

Week 4

  • Dumbbell Bench – 70 lbs(85%) x 6, 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Incline – 60 lbs(75%) x 6, 2 sets

Week 5

  • Dumbbell Bench – 75 lbs(95%) x 4, 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Incline – 65 lbs(80%) x 4, 2 sets

Week 6

  • Dumbbell Bench – 80 lbs(100%) x 4, 1 sets
  • Dumbbell Incline – 70 lbs(85%) x 4, 1 sets

PHASE III: 9 weeks (again, only once per week)

Because you had the transition and “resting” time in Phase II, your body will again be shocked into gaining muscle.

Week 1

  • Power Grip – 175 lbs(108%) x 5, 4 sets
  • Wide Grip – 150 lbs(93%) x 5, 2 sets
  • Narrow Grip – 140 lbs(88%) x 5, 2 sets

Week 2

  • Power Grip – 180 lbs(113%) x 5, 3 sets
  • Wide Grip – 155 lbs(98%) x 5, 2 sets
  • Narrow Grip – 150 lbs(93%) x 5, 2 sets

Week 3

  • Power Grip – 190 lbs(118%) x 5, 2 sets
  • Wide Grip – 165 lbs(103%) x 5, 2 sets
  • Narrow Grip – 155 lbs(98%) x 5, 2 sets

Week 4

  • Power Grip – 195 lbs(123%) x 5, 1 set
  • Wide Grip – 175 lbs(108%) x 5, 2 sets
  • Narrow Grip – 165 lbs(103%) x 5, 2 sets

Week 5

  • Power Grip – 205 lbs(128%) x 3, 4 sets
  • Wide Grip – 180 lbs(113%) x 3, 2 sets
  • Narrow Grip – 175 lbs(108%) x 3, 2 sets

Week 6

  • Power Grip – 210 lbs(133%) x 3, 3 sets
  • Wide Grip – 190 lbs(118%) x 3, 2 sets
  • Narrow Grip – 180 lbs(113%) x 3, 2 sets

Week 7

  • Power Grip – 220 lbs(138%) x 2, 2 sets
  • Wide Grip – 195 lbs(123%) x 2, 2 sets
  • Narrow Grip – 190 lbs(118%) x 2, 2 sets

Week 8

  • Power Grip – 230 lbs(143%) x 2, 1 set
  • Wide Grip – 205 lbs(128%) x 2, 2 sets
  • Narrow Grip – 195 lbs(123%) x 2, 2 sets

Week 9

  • Power Grip – 240 lbs(150%) x 1


What I’ve found is that you can only gain 100 lbs to your max if you already bench 200. This method is a great way to bump up your max like crazy, but as you can see, if you max bench press at 160 lbs, then you only gain 80 lbs of a max in 6 months. This is definitely okay and good, but it’s not the 100 lbs you’d expect. But you could work your way up to the 200 max and then take a rest like Phase II and start at Phase I again. This way you’d add 100 lbs to your max. But you really have to be at 200 lbs first.

If you plan on using this method, then it’d be great to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below. And go ahead and just get the 4-Hour Body. I almost guarantee that you’ll love it.

Are you looking for something to change in your life besides your physique or your bench press? Check out Tim's other book The 4-Hour Workweek.This other book is designed to help you to work hard to create systems in your next business venture that will allow you to only manage the rest of your outsourcing systems and end up only working 4 hours per week. There are hundreds of people who have taken the advice Tim gives in this book and have made it their own and become quite successful, living the life they've always wanted to live.