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The Bench Press – Don’t Lose Your MAN-Card

“How Much Ya Bench?!”

This is a guest post from Chandler Marchman, designer of the SWOLE System: The New Authority for Building Size, Strength, and a Lean Athletic Body

The Bench Press – the one lift in the gym that’s seemed to transcend beyond the realm of just meathead weightlifting enthusiasts, and solidified itself as the official lift that every man must know his number for. So pretty much, if an over eager Man-Crushing beckons the question, we as men must be prepared to respond proudly with a stout number otherwise risk getting asked to turn in our MAN-Card…

But what if you are a competitive Strongman, CrossFitter, or Olympic lifter that holds the Overhead Press in higher regard????

I for one can attest to this dilemma. However, instead of ditching the bench press all together, I have found a simple and extremely effective way to not only do both, but also utilize one of powerlifting’s most prominent training systems to do so. That’s right, for those of you afraid to expose your undying allegiance to the Overhead Press, you no longer have to shamefully explain to people that you prefer a different movement pattern than the King of Meathead lifts…So rejoice, and restore your MAN-Card to its rightful place in your wallet. You no longer have to just do Overhead, you can Bench Press too!!!

The Birth of the SWOLE System

The solution I found to this meathead conundrum was birthed whilst training for my last Strongman Competition in which the pressing portion of the competition would be a certain number of reps on different implements for time. Noting that the weights for this event weren’t my limiting factor, I had to focus my time and effort on developing as much speed overhead as possible.

It wouldn’t be enough to just be able to lift maximal loads overhead, I had to lift them with a relative degree of speed. So taking what I have implemented successfully with my own interpretation of the Westside Method, I simply adopted the same principles utilized to build the bench press, only using the Overhead in its place.

Let’s examine.

If you know the Westside Method and the results this program produces you can expect to produce an athlete that can lift a hell of a lot of weight as fast as greased lighting. Pretty much, their power output rivals that of an angry bear with the munchies going after your picnic basket. Scary…I know…

The Basic Concepts

How are they able to do this? Simple, their training goals (squatting, benching & deadlifting as much as humanly possible) are met by two different methods with two different objectives. The Dynamic Effort Method, which is put in place to increase the rate of force development in each core lift, and the Max Effort Method, which is put in place to be able to continually overcome the maximal load your body is able to lift.

***Because inducing hypertrophy and a greater degree of work capacity are important goals for my athletes and I, we also implement a Repetitive Effort day for our core lifts as well***

Applying Dynamic Effort Training to Overhead Lifts

The objective of the Dynamic Effort Method is to increase the rate of force development in your core lift so that your max effort lifts will have greater bar speed. In order for me to take advantage of this training effect so that I could lift not only heavy weights overhead, but do so with speed, I would focus my efforts on the Strict Press, Push Press and Jerk as my core lifts instead of the Bench Press. I follow the same percentage (40% – 60%), rep (3 reps), and set (8 – 12 sets) range as the Westside Method, just with a different core lift.

Applying Max Effort Training to Overhead Lifts

The same principles apply to my approach to Max Effort Method training days. Three days after my Dynamic Effort Day, I would focus on hitting anywhere from a 1-5 rep max on the SAME core lift I did three days prior (it’s important to note that I’d rotate implements as well as the style of OH lift in order to continuously adapt to different stimuli).

By focusing on developing as much maximal strength as speed, I was able to develop tremendous power output in this movement pattern, insuring that on competition day, those lifting against me would soil themselves in fear! It worked… #Strength,Speed,&Stamina=Dominance

So where does the Bench Press fit in? Well, just like with the Bench Press, I found that focusing your supplemental work on the muscles involved in the core lift itself was the best way to improve the core lift. In this case, conveniently enough, the same muscles that are used in increasing your OH Press are the ones being used in the Bench Press (triceps, shoulders, and upper back to be specific). So my supplemental work was composed greatly of Bench Pressing.

Training Volume Considerations

As far as volume goes, I used the same protocol as that of many powerlifters using the Westside Method. On Dynamic Effort Method training days where the weight is submaximal, my supplemental work (on the Bench Press) would be relatively heavy (3-5 sets of 4-8 reps), whereas on Max Effort days when I’m lifting near maximal weights for my core lift, the supplemental work would be much lighter with far greater volume (3-5 sets of 12-20 reps).

So all I had to do was implement the Bench Press as my supplemental lift and BOOM, I could actively achieve my objective of increasing not only the weight I could put over head as well as how fast I could do it, but also answer the most important question any and every meathead could be faced with… HOW MUCH DO YOU BENCH?

This has been a guest post by Chandler “MANdler” Marchman, author of SWOLE System: The New Authority for Building Size, Strength, and a Lean Athletic Body

NOTE FROM JEDD: I recently met MANdler at a seminar in New Jersey and asked him to tell us a little bit about his program, and this is what he had to say (I had just beaten him in a Hulk Hogan impersonation contest).

Here’s a run-down of what is included in the SWOLE System:

Component 1: The Training Manual
Understand the SWOLE System and how MANdler gets such awesome results with his clients.

Component 2: 12 Week Training Routine
MANdler lays out 3-months worth of programming to turn you into an ass-kicking machine.

Component 3: Exercise Video Database
MANdler shows you exactly how to perform each exercise to ensure proper form and best results.

Component 4: The Diet Manual
Understand how to eat the right way in order to get Swole even faster.

Component 5: Meal Plans
Apply the Swole Methods for quickly and easily with this done-for-you diet plan.

Component 6: Supplements Guide Book
Not all supplements are bad – find out the ones that are worth your money and will help support all your other hard work and discipline.

Common Questions About the SWOLE System


Q: What is the SWOLE System and HOW does it work so fast?

A: The SWOLE System is an all-inclusive training packet that focuses on a percentage based scientific approach to training and easy to follow diet guide, that lead to fast and efficient results such as increased size, strength, endurance, and a lean athletic physique.

What is included with this training system?

A: Included in this success pack are a done for you 12-Week transformation program, Video tutorials for EVERY exercise, a simple to follow diet guide, as a well as a theory portion that explains WHY the SWOLE System works so well for increased size, strength, power, endurance, and SEX APPEAL (you’ll look good while performing good as well)!!!

Q: I’m an athlete that needs to build strength, size and SPEED…will this training system work for me?

A: This system was actually started with athletes in mind. You will build size, strength, endurance and yes, even speed at a ridiculous rate! All things held constant, the athlete with superior strength, speed and conditioning ALWAYS wins. You don’t want to be left behind or face an opponent that has trained with this system. TRUST ME!!!

Q: Is there a diet component to this program? How does it work?

A: Yes. It’s one of the most important issues you must address when working towards your goals, and the simple system we use to address WHAT to eat, WHEN to eat, and HOW MUCH to eat, are what make this done for you, “Plug & Chug” diet system SO effective.

Q: Will this program work if I’m just trying to get ripped?

A: HELL YEA!!! For many of the weekend warriors at my gym, this is there one and only goal!!! When you focus on the training protocol that we focus on with this training system, it is theoretically IMPOSSIBLE to not decrease your body fat percentage while developing a lean athletic physique.

Q: I’m older than a lot of your “success stories” seem to be (in my late 30’s), will this program be suitable for me as well?

A: Absolutely it will work for the older than 30 crowd! Our bodies are meant to adapt to the demands that we place upon them. When we go through this specific, science based training protocol, it’s all the more important that we focus on training efficiency. And that’s the cornerstone of the SWOLE System’s philosophy. Train smarter, not harder. Train optimally, not maximally. When we match our training, our nutrition, and our lifestyle with the proper road map that are dictated by our specific goals, we are guaranteed to have success, REGARDLESS of age!

For more information on the SWOLE System, click the image below:

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