Training

Dynamic Effort Board Press Cycle

Brandon Smitley Elite FTS

I recently did some digging in my old elitefts achieved training logs, and came across this amazing board press program that I used quite extensively. This board press program helped me achieve my first 300+ pound raw bench press in competition at 132 pounds. I went on to use it for a good six months after I hit that as well, leading to some good training PRs.

I’m looking at saving this for the next meet prep that I do (with the COVID-19 pandemic, who knows when that will be). But I figured it would give you a way to spice up your dynamic effort training for the bench press.

*Note: All percentages are of your best raw bench press. If you use a shirt, this will likely help your geared benching as well. You will keep the bands on for the board press work!

To begin with, I want to mention that I did this after my dynamic effort bench work. For my dynamic effort bench press, I used doubled mini bands and then the following percentages. Here is my whole layout, but you don’t have to do the dynamic effort bench training if you don’t want. It was just ideal for how I had my training set up. If you opted to use this outside of your dynamic effort training, I would use this as your supplemental work after max effort day.


I would also like to add that this is beneficial if your triceps are weak. Training the triceps at specific joint angles with the boards is what I believe makes this so beneficial to most lifters. While there is nothing wrong with pressdowns and variations of tricep extensions, overloading the triceps at varied joint angles seemed to be the determining factor for my bench press.

You should ensure that you are using the correct bands based upon what you can currently bench press. Too much or too little band resistance may not give you the desired training effect. Here are the bands I’d recommend based upon your bench press PR.

  • 225 pounds or less: Doubled Micro Mini Bands
  • 225-455 pounds: Doubled Mini Bands
  • 455+ pounds: Doubled Monster Mini Bands

Week 1

Dynamic Effort Bench Press vs. Doubled Mini Bands, 40%x6x3

  • 1 Board, 50%x6
  • 2 Board, 60%x5
  • 3 Board, 65%x4

Week 2

Dynamic Effort Bench Press vs. Doubled Mini Bands, 45%x6x3

  • 1 Board, 60%x6
  • 2 Board, 65%x5
  • 3 Board, 70%x4

Week 3

Dynamic Effort Bench Press vs. Doubled Mini Bands, 50%x6x3

  • 1 Board, 60%x4
  • 2 Board, 65%x3
  • 3 Board, 72.5%x3

After you complete the 3-week wave, you have a few options:

  1. Add 2.5 percent to all board percentages and repeat the program.
  2. Switch over to chains, but now add 5 percent to all bar weight (to account for the deload at the bottom and no longer having the overspeed eccentric).
  3. Drop all the boards by half a board. This can be repeated for a total of 9 weeks.

Here’s an example:

  • Half board, 1.5 board, 2.5 board for weeks 4-6
  • Chest, 1 board, 2 board for weeks 7-9

After running these cycles, you can then either retest your 1RM on the bench press or use your new PR from competition. I would wait approximately 12-16 weeks before you retest (if you don’t do a meet) and then rerun the entire program with the new numbers based off your new 1RM.

I hope you enjoy the program and see some new bench press PRs fall over the next couple of months.

World Record 12-Week Squat Cycle

Source: https://www.elitefts.com/education/dynamic-effort-board-press-cycle/