Nancy Nutt - Bench Press Champion with some of her hardware.
This Month: Veteran Powerlifter Nancy Nutt is rapidly closing in on the MAGIC 300 pound mark in the Bench Press. Here, she will share some of her secrets with us.   

People have been asking me to share my workouts and various tips as to what works and what doesn't.  I'm somewhat reluctant to share this type of information for several reasons.  First, what works for me may not  work for you.  Also, not everyone shares the same opinions on training  methods.  I would certainly not want your trainers or training buddies  (or budettes) to look at what I do and tell you it's a bullshit  program.  What I've decided to do is share the program I am currently utilizing to attain my goal of a 300 pound bench press. I am only going to state my upper body routine as I'm sure you don't need a basic leg  routine, which currently is all I do. A few notes regarding my bench  routine - I started it in January. I bench twice per week, Wednesdays  and Sundays.  Wednesday is the "heavy" day and Sunday is the "light"  day.  All sets/reps with the benching are done until failure.  I'm  simply going to put the weight I do, so you'll have to do whatever  you're able to do.  I will be changing my routine in a couple of weeks,  mainly because I'm getting in to a range where I can only do 2-3 reps  until failure. So here goes:  

Bench: 2 sets of 75-80% of your 1 rep max until failure (add 5  pounds each week)  
Example: Week 1 = 200, Week 2 = 205, Week 3 = 210, etc.  

Cable front pulldowns: (medium grip) 2 sets X 7-10 reps  
Example: 160# X 10, 180# X 7  

Iso Incline Bench 2 sets X 5-7 reps  
Example: 190 X 6, 210 X 4 (I just recently cut down to 4-6 reps &  increased the pounds).  
I'm attempting to increase this by 5# per week  for the next 2-3 weeks.  

Single arm Iso-rows or 1 arm DB rows: 2 sets X 5-7 reps 
Example: Iso-rows 115# X 7, 125# X 5  

Eyebusters on a decline bench 2 sets X 7-10 
Example: 75# X 10, 80# X 8 (I eliminated this exercise the week of 2/20  due to impending competition)  

Bench: 3 sets of 85% of your one rep max until failure (add 5 pounds  each week)  
Example: Week 1 = 215#, Week 2 = 220#, Week 3 = 225#   (I'm currently  at 245)  

Lat pulldown machine - facing rear pad, palms facing: 2 sets X 7-10  reps  
Example: 160# X 10, 180# X 8 (This week I'm increasing it to 3 sets)  

Seated DB press: 2 sets X 6-8 reps 
Example: 45# X 10, 50# X 7  
(I recently switched to the overhead press machine doing 3 sets of 100#  X 10, 120# X 9, and 130# X 9) (In the next week, this exercise will be  eliminated due to impending competition).  

DB curls 2 sets X 6-8 reps (alternate arm - standing)  
 Example: 35# X 8, 45# X 6 reps  
[The week of  2/28, I reduced this to 5-7 reps and increased the weight)  

Rear Delt machine: 2 sets X 7-10 reps 
Example: 90# X 10, 110# X 8 (I recently cut this due to impending  competition)  

        I'm about 6 six out of competition, so I tend to cut a lot of accessory  work, decrease the reps and increase the weight.  

        I would like to continue to contribute to what I originally was asked  to do, and that is to write about the subject of competition.  One of  the most important aspects of competitive lifting is to know the rules  of the organization you're lifting in.  Really, it's probably the most  important, because it won't matter how strong you are, if you don't  perform the lift correctly as per the rules.  In addition to reading the  rule book of a particular organization, I highly recommend you attend  the rules clinics usually held at the meet site approximately one hour  or so prior to the beginning of the actual meet.  These rules clinics  can and do serve as a reminder to the lifters as to what is or is not  allowed.  I personally learned this lesson the hard way.  I went to a  National competition, didn't attend the rules clinic, and although my  lifts were good, I didn't receive the new national record because I was  not randomly chosen for drug testing and did not "volunteer" myself for  the testing.  If I had attended the rules clinic, I would have known to  ask to be tested if not chosen, if I wanted credit for the lift.  I've  seen lifters perform some spectacular lifts, only to have those lifts  not count due to incorrect form, illegal equipment, or for some other  reason, such as my experience with drug testing.  For me, it was a  lesson learned, but I could have avoided the problem by KNOWING THE  RULES!  


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Reproduction of this article, in whole or part, for any purposed other than personal use is prohibited without written consent. Copyright 1998 Nancy Nutt.