Chest and Back Variation B
Tonight was an unusual chest and back workout… but for a good reason. I’m going to call him my “mentor”, but this guy Sam I’ve referred to before was in at the gym. I feel like I go into sponge mode whenever I get a chance to talk to him, so half of my workout tonight was dropped because I was just trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible form him. I work pretty hard in the gym, so I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing my training for an occasion like this. Quite the opposite.
Tonight I finally got a chance to do 5×5 for incline bench, and nailed down each set at 170. As I expected, 170 was a solid number to do this with. I wasn’t using a fat bar either, so this was much much easier for me to do compared to when I tried out the fat bar last time for my chest. It was still challenging, but it was a realistic goal. I move from this directly into flat dumbbell press and hit that surprisingly well too. I found the first set of 10 was actually very very easy. The next set was really hard to hit 10, and the third was hard to hit 8. An interesting sort of “volume wall” that I hit.
When I had started doing dumbbell rows, I noticed my mentor. I quickly seized the opportunity to start chatting with him. I’ve spoken to him about squatting/deadlifting and my chest related training, but never about shoulders and military pressing. Because my 1RM test for military press will be coming up in the not too distant future, I felt like it was a good time to hit him up.
Sam had points out that the shelf I create when I military press is my chest instead of my shoulders. He was showing me how to keep my spine much more neutral and use my shoulders as a shelf instead of my chest. I knew I was doing it this whole time, but never really thought to “correct” it. He also pointed out some mobility issues in and around my shoulders and lats. In order for me to get my shoulders far enough forward, I basically instantly cramp up doing it. The other result of this is that instead of my elbows being brought up in front of me, they actually remain pointed down. I’m expecting to get a lot more shoulder recruitment compared to tricep now when I military press. Definitely excited to try this out.
The second thing we went over was my grip when pressing. I’ve taken up a thumbless grip on most pressing movements, and I told him that I found it more comfortable once I switched. And then he pointed out the obvious. I’m simply just putting a bandaid on the problem and not actually solving it. I find my thumbless grip helps my shoulders and wrists? Sure, but if my shoulders, elbows, and wrists were more flexible, would I have needed to switch my grip? He’s proven to me that having hip and hamstring flexibility can do wonders for my squat, so… I completely believe him when it comes to flexibility and improving technique. Just another thing to try.
(Pretty lengthy post… holy…) The NEXT unique thing about this workout is that I used chains tonight. I wanted to try this out after I talked to a gym pal the other day about it. I didn’t even realized we had chains. I’ve wanted to spice up my chest training on this B-variation workout, and I’m not a fan of flye movements. I didn’t want to add any more flye variations. Chains. Perfect. I started hitting some light sets of 5 and moved into heavier and heavier triples. As I’m sitting here typing this, I can feel my chest starting to cramp up. I was amazed at the acceleration I was able to achieve at heavier weights using chains, and I’m hoping this will take my chest and benching to a whole new level.
FINALLY… I put up a side chest shot tonight. I’m not planning on stepping on a stage any time soon (still too much to learn about competing) but the really obvious realization that I had is that I have absolutely no idea how to pose. Even after putting up that picture and watching a couple youtube videos, I can already point out like 10 things I do wrong in general when posing. Even my other pictures where I’m doing front double biceps, I shrug my shoulders up too much. In my side chest, my one arm isn’t up against my body. I’m sure anyone with any posing experience can point out a million more things that are wrong. I’m hoping to try and improve on this starting… immediately.
|Exercise||Sets x Reps||Weight (lbs)||Comments|
|Incline Bench||2 x 5||135|
|2 x 3||155|
|5 x 3||170|
|Flat Dumbbell Press||2 x 10||70|
|1 x 8||70|
|Dumbbell Rows||3 x 8||80|
|Flat Bench with Chains||3 x 5||95 + 50||Every rep of every set was done exploding from the chest|
|2 x 5||105 + 50|
|1 x 5||115 + 50|
|1 x 5||125 + 50|
|1 x 3||135 + 50|
|1 x 3||145 + 50|
|1 x 3||155 + 50|
|Barbell Rows (Overhand)||3 x 6||135|
|Barbell Rows (Underhand)||3 x 6||135|