Elitefts Bench Manual

The complete answer book to all things bench press

Although it can be argued that the bench press gets more attention than it deserves, it is unquestionable the most popular upper body exercise for those who want to get big and strong. And, unquestionably, one powerlifter who has “walked the talk” on how to train for the bench press is Dave Tate.

Tate began pumping iron in 1981 with a barbell set his uncle gave him. His father saw the passion his son had in lifting, and at age 13 brought him to the Findlay Barbell Club in Findlay, Ohio. Six months later, he entered his first meet, and throughout high school, he kept lifting while also wrestling and playing football. Eventually, Tate met up with Westside Powerlifting Club guru Louie Simmons. Under Simmons’ guidance, Tate officially squatted 935 pounds, bench press 610, and deadlift 740. In 1998, Tate started his company, EliteFTS.

Tate became a prolific writer who has written over 100 articles for publications that include Men’s Fitness and Powerlifting USA. He also wrote what could be considered the bible of bench pressing, the Elitefts Bench Manual.

Whether bench pressing raw or with gear, the Elitefts Bench Manual will answer all your questions. (Miloš Šarčev photo)

Tate is a no-nonsense writer and teacher, and his 210-page, small-type book is densely packed with how to master Simmons’s Conjugate Training system. Tate begins with a brief overview of this system, focusing on its three methods to produce maximum results: Maximal Effort Method, Dynamic Effort Method, and Repetition Method.

The bulk of the Elitefts Bench Manual is focused on program design, and he provides detailed workouts for all levels of athletes covering all the basic loading parameters such as reps, sets, and load. Technique is discussed extensively, including how to use supportive gears such as a bench shirt. Tate also includes chapters devoted to special topics and frequently asked questions, and no bench press question is left unanswered. For example, Tate says he is often asked how to improve on the 225-pound bench press test used in the NFL Combine. Although Tate refers to this as the “dumbest test of all time,” he devotes four full pages on how to train for this test and provides precise tips on technique.

As a bonus, Tate includes well-written articles on the bench press reprinted from his EliteFTS website by guess authors. For example, Jim Wendler gives his insight into how to excel at raw bench pressing, and world record holder Brian Schwab shares his 10 best tips on mastering the lift.

The subhead of the Elitefts Bench Manual is “Taking all benches to the next level.” Dave Tate’s book fulfills that promise. (TSS)

[You can purchase Elitefts Bench Manual by Dave Tate through his website

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