Author: Mike Westerdal
Intermediate – Advanced
Format: E-Book (Electronic Delivery)
Bonuses: Customized Training Logs, Bench Press Fundamentals Online DVD, The Critical Deload Routine, Conversations With Elite Iron Warriors, Critical Exercise Guide
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Once you tell people that you are lifting weights, you are bound to get the question…
“Oh yeah? What do you bench?”
If you can’t boast of an impressive bench, that’s one question you will quickly dread hearing. Mike Westerdal’s Critical Bench program aims to take the sting out of that question by increasing your one-rep bench max by up to 50 pounds in 10 weeks.
Is that possible? A 50 lb. increase in just 10 weeks?
With a caveat… As Westerdal makes clear, you can’t expect to just keep consecutively repeating the program and making such increases every 10 weeks. This is an intense program focused on increasing your bench. After completing such a program, you must allow the body time to regroup before trying it again (a “deload” program to do after the program and give your body a chance to regroup before trying it again is included).
But, while a 50 lb. increase is a lofty goal, it is a realistic goal for those willing to put in the effort.
Westerdal has done an impressive job of putting the Critical Bench Program 2.0 together. As a guy who benches in the 450 lb. range, he knows a thing or two about what it takes to push serious weight.
The program guides you through all the little-known bench press tips and techniques for safely getting a little more weight on the barbell. And there are a LOT of these tips. Correctly positioning yourself underneath the bar, correctly gripping the bar, breathing properly, stretching and a slew of other factors can give you a big edge.
Additionally, with the bench press perhaps more than any other lift, your mental approach plays a big role. This is an area that Westerdal spends considerable time on. Being directly beneath a loaded bar can play some head games with you.
He gives good instruction on developing impenetrable positive approach, on programming your subconscious mind to the point where failure isn’t an option. He gets into the value of setting goals and priming your mind to go after and get that 50 lb. increase.
Though not the focus of the Critical Bench 2.0, Westerdal does a good bit on dieting, even providing a couple days’ worth of sample meal plans. He also goes through the best available supplements and provides good recommendations.
Implementing the above techniques and tips can help you make an improvement in your bench literally overnight. But the real punch of this program is the training program…
Inexperienced trainers looking to increase their benches will do bench press after bench press. They will do flat on Mondays, inclines on Tuesday, declines on Wednesday and then repeat. This doesn’t work; it just creates overtraining (an frustration).
Westerdal explains that the bench press isn’t just about your pectoral muscles; it is a compound lift that can utilize every muscle in your body. Your pecs, delts and triceps may do most of the work but any weak links you have throughout the body can show up in your bench.
This program is an intelligent approach that can produce amazing results. It builds up not just your chest muscles but your entire body. This is the key to truly great progress.
The program does rely on spotters. If you prefer to work alone you can modify things a little. However, it will work best if you have a solid training partner.
It is a five-day-a-week training (5 short but intense workouts followed by two days of rest). Perhaps surprisingly to what many may expect from a program designed to increase the bench, the program only has you actually benching in the first training session of the week.
Through exercise selection and a careful eye on avoiding overtraining, the other 4 workouts have you shoring up weak spots that will ultimately translate to the bench press gains you didn’t think possible.
The Critical Bench Program 2.0 is also personalized. Regardless of where your bench is currently at (all one-rep maxes from 100-500 lbs. included), you’ll be able to download a personalized training log.
This personalization is a nice feature. It simplifies the program. It gives you the week-by-week goals (the actual weight you need to be lifting) each week in order to reach your ultimate goals. Work hard and meet those mini-goals and you’ll soon own that monstrous goal of a 50 lb. increase.
This is ten weeks of intense training that will push you out of your comfort zone. It will wake your body up and likely leave you bench pressing poundage that you never thought possible. It is the most respected and most effective bench program and has thousands of beefed up trainers singing its praises.
Westerdal has done a fantastic job putting all of his vast knowledge into the Critical Bench Program 2.0. The program educates trainers on all the variables that go into pressing an impressive amount, skillfully teaches the advanced tips and techniques and gives trainers an extremely effective training program customized to their abilities.
For those looking to bust through a bench press plateau, speed up their rate of progress, or simply looking to see exactly what they can accomplish with the bench when they put their minds to it, this program will be an excellent investment.