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Chuck Sipes Bench Press Power Training Program - 5 Days a Week

By Dennis B. Weis

Chuck Sipes Bench Pressing

We shall now look into the training wisdom that Chuck Sipes has shared with me by letter and long distance phone conversation. One of the things that really impresses me about Sipes is this: he has never neglected to write a reply to my letters. He always answered immediately and his solutions were very well thought. The point that makes this a great effort on Chuck’s part is the fact that at the time I was in heavy correspondence with him (the late 1960’s) he was a youth counselor at a California reformatory, was doing strength shows worldwide and was in heavy competition for such titles as Mr. World and Mr. Olympia. He was also training to bench press 600 lbs. at a bodyweight of 230. It is hard to see where he could find the time to answer my letters as well as those of countless others he was in regular contact with.

The one thing that I have noted about all the training advice from Chuck is his constant belief that one should include heavy supporting movements to build up the tendon and ligament strength.

From the beginning of correspondence with Chuck he always stressed taking germ oils, sunflower seeds, papaya, peanuts and lots of milk. He always advised me to constantly add weight whenever I could for maximum stimulation of growth and strength. He once mentioned that I should use a jump rope for 4 sets of one minute all-out jumping at the end of my workouts. The one advantage to using the rope is that it only takes a small area in which to use it. Here in Alaska it’s not always possible to run outdoors! During one of my letters to Sipes, I was very interested in increasing my bench press. This is one of the routines that he suggested I use.

For this Bench Press routine he said to begin at least 6 months before a meet. This is a five days per week routine which is very intense. There is much direct effort stimulating the ligaments and tendons.

Monday & Wednesday

  • * Warm up Prone, regular grip – 2 sets x 10 reps.
  • Bench Press – 2x6; 2x4; 2x2; 4 singles.

Tuesday & Thursday

  • Heavy Supports – 5x8. (100 lbs. over best press from ¼ way down to lockout.)
  • * Prones – Close to maximum poundage.
  • Heavy Supports – 150 lbs. over best press, holding with a slight elbow bend.
  • * Prones – close to maximum poundage.

* NOTE by Strength Oldschool: Not sure what Chuck Sipes means by "Prones"? It may mean performing Lying Barbell Rows for the Back muscles. A modern gym equipment version of this exercise can be seen below...

Prone Row Bench Press


  • Incline Press, wide grip, slowly – 4x6.
  • Dumbbell Incline Press, slowly – 4x6.
  • Pullovers, very light weight, deep breaths following 1 minute skipping – 2x20
  • Flat Flyes, very deep breaths – 4x8.
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