Bench Press and Squat Power Pairs                                                                  

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In the early era of organized strength and conditioning programs many Universities were utilizing Power Pairs as a method of administering an overload to their athletes.

describe the imageUnlike most pyramids used to train an exercise like the bench press or a squat, many coaches had their athletes do two sets of the same weight in a row before adding poundage.

The percentages of their maximum the coaches utilized and the weekly scheme that was devised varied from coach to coach.

The following is an example of Day #1 of a Power Pair program based upon an athlete who was capable of bench pressing 350 pounds 1 repetition maximum.


The warm-up was 135 pounds x 10 in both of the initial sets

Exercise #1  135 pounds x 10 reps -rest - 135 pounds x 10 reps

64% of max

Exercise #2  225 pounds x 10 reps -rest - 225 pounds x 10 reps

70% of max

Exercise #3  245 pounds x 6 reps  -rest -  245 pounds x 6 reps

80% of max

Exercise #4  280 pounds x 4 reps  -rest -  280 pounds x 4 reps


Once the athlete was able to accomplish pairs of reps in all the above sets 5 pounds was added to all the power pairs the following 'Day # 1 workout'.

The exception was the warm up.  For the warm-up 1 rep was added to each warm-up set.  This meant instead of using 135 x 10, the athlete benched 135 x 11 in both sets.

Did athletes improve using Power Pairs?


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