This is a small write up on how I would approach a new lifter who's goal was to develop their benchpress.
Developing a benchpress program for a beginner lifter can be a daunting task. Many things must be considered to develop an overall plan. Specifically two areas of focus should be noted. The first area is technique. A beginner must learn the specifics of how the movement works, the goals of the movement, and adjustments to make. The second area of focus would be that of training structure. What type of movements should I use, and when should I look to move on to more advanced techniques.
The first thing every lifter should focus on is technique. You can not get stronger if you are always hurt! There are many different styles of set up used, but the key points always remain the same. The first step is to develop a good arch. If you had someone get on a knee and look at you on the bench, they should be able to see light between the small of your back and the benchpress. This does not mean that your butt is off the bench! Your butt should be firmly planted on the bench, along with your feet on the floor. The next step is to make sure you are squeezing your shoulder blades together on the bench. The shoulder blades should be pulled together and down to help created an arch in the upper back. This will allow the lats to work better in lowering the bar to the chest. A third area of technique focus is the grip on the bar. Depending on the focus of the lifter, the bar grip will vary. For your average lifter, a mid range grip is suggested. Somewhere between pinkies on the power rings, and thumbs length out from the inside of the grip would be accurate. Finally one of the most debated areas of technique of the benchpress is the bar travel. The bar should touch in the area just below the chest, and just above the upper abdominal. The elbows should be tucked at the bottom until you begin to press. The bar should travel upwards and slightly back towards the face. During that time the elbows should start to become flared and help continue through to lockout.
When it comes to a lifting template you will get as many opinions as people you ask. I am a firm believer that progression is the key to strength gains. For a beginner I would suggest 4-6 reps in a difficult working range (80% or higher of projected max) for the max effort movement of the day. Broken up into segments the rep range will drop to keep increasing power. This is a delicate process as control and strength must go hand in hand. Each week weights should increase if the previous weeks sets were easy. All accessory work should be in the range of 8+. I suggest using a 3 day a week training split to help a beginner lifter move their bench. Day one will be to focus on the benchpress its self. Day two will have a focus on over the head pressing, and day three will consist of dumbbell benching.
Week fifteen take a week rest period, and begin to mentally prepare for week sixteen which will be attempting your first max in the benchpress.