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Lifter's Lounge
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H1N1 Offline
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Post: #1201
RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-12-2015 03:18 AM)britchard Wrote:  Feeling like I'm shredding fat whilst gaining muscle at the moment.

According to an online calculator (one of the more accurate ones, took measurements from all over my body), my BF% is at 11.2%. My abs are just at the gateway between only being visible when I tense, and being fully visible.

It's ridiculous, like after exercise or if I haven't eaten for a while, I have a full 6 pack. If I eat a large meal, it becomes less visible. Those are the kind of margins I'm talking about it. Just need to completely knuckle down on my diet to get there, but it's hard when there's BBQs and beer around every weekend.

Lastly, can anyone recommend anymore ab exercises which don't put lots of pressure on the spine (e.g. not sit ups or variations of crunches) I currently do the plank and mountain climbers at the start of every workout, what else can I do?

Ab wheel rollouts and overhead squats/snatches.
07-12-2015 04:40 AM
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Saweeep Offline
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Post: #1202
RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-12-2015 03:18 AM)britchard Wrote:  Feeling like I'm shredding fat whilst gaining muscle at the moment.

According to an online calculator (one of the more accurate ones, took measurements from all over my body), my BF% is at 11.2%. My abs are just at the gateway between only being visible when I tense, and being fully visible.

It's ridiculous, like after exercise or if I haven't eaten for a while, I have a full 6 pack. If I eat a large meal, it becomes less visible. Those are the kind of margins I'm talking about it. Just need to completely knuckle down on my diet to get there, but it's hard when there's BBQs and beer around every weekend.

Lastly, can anyone recommend anymore ab exercises which don't put lots of pressure on the spine (e.g. not sit ups or variations of crunches) I currently do the plank and mountain climbers at the start of every workout, what else can I do?

I think it's unlikely that you are gaining any considerable muscle at that body fat level if you are trying to cut; what is more likely is that with each lb lost, the muscles you already have are appearing more defined and giving the impression of growth.

Either way, it's a good feeling!

I reckon a couple more lbs lost will do the trick.

As for ab exercises, you may need something that adds more resistance than your bodyweight can provide. Just google it and find some you like, there are hundreds!

I've always believed in the 80/20 rule for cutting and exercise in general. You aren't a bodybuilder and it doesn't matter if it takes you a few weeks longer to cut, so don't worry about the weekends. Just ensure that from Sunday-Friday your diet is in check and you are exercising super hard.

The results will come without having to sacrifice your social life.
07-12-2015 05:00 AM
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Post: #1203
RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-10-2015 08:20 AM)StrikeBack Wrote:  Here you need a MD to perform the scan, but that's about it. A single scan is about $80 which is expensive, but bulk buy is very cheap.

Mike of Danger & Play had some articles on this, maybe he has the US information.

thanks, once I find out how do it here, I will be going regularly. I got really into BF measurement for years, and have used home calipers and measuring tape for a long time. I have been measured professionally with a Polar machine, which is a caliper test that records it digitally and stores the results online. I used to get those for free and they worked well. I did a Bodpod once, which was cool. The thing I like about the Dexa is because its so detailed and accurate, Im excited to do it. I am concerned with visceral fat that I want to shed as I head into middle age.

My issue with bodyfat is that I have this fatty gut that always throws my numbers off and way high. With a caliper test, measuring everything except abdominal, it shows Im 10%, add in the abdominal and it takes it way over 15%. The stomach fat really bugs me and I have been dieting hard lately to get to finally have abs. Currently my strength measures are 2X bodyweight DL, 15 or so consecutive pullups, can do standing outstretched ab wheel reps, so strength and lack of muscle is not my issue. I am tracking all of my food with myfitnesspal, and following macros at a 100g carb, 150g protein, 50g fat daily intake. Carbs usually run over if I drink or drink a soda with lunch. In general I just eat too much and quit lifting for about 6 months as I was working all day almost everyday.

My goal is 12%, around 170-175lbs LBM. Trying to get there by mid August. Currently 192, down from 205 in early April.
(This post was last modified: 07-12-2015 09:17 AM by Vaun.)
07-12-2015 09:00 AM
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VincentVinturi Offline
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Post: #1204
RE: Lifter's Lounge
Frustrated with squats.

I've gone through three periodization cycles trying to inch my squat up.

But I can't seem to get past about 90kgs without my form going out the window.

I can grind out a single 110kg squat with shit form but that doesn't really count.

For you long-time squatters, what's the typical pace at which you increase your squat?

Any tips for improving? I've been doing 5x5 and transitioning to 3x3 towards my top weights.

But I can't seem to push past.

Note: I'm 79kgs and pretty tall/slim.

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07-13-2015 09:18 AM
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Hades Offline
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Post: #1205
RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-13-2015 09:18 AM)VincentVinturi Wrote:  Frustrated with squats.

I've gone through three periodization cycles trying to inch my squat up.

But I can't seem to get past about 90kgs without my form going out the window.

I can grind out a single 110kg squat with shit form but that doesn't really count.

For you long-time squatters, what's the typical pace at which you increase your squat?

Any tips for improving? I've been doing 5x5 and transitioning to 3x3 towards my top weights.

But I can't seem to push past.

Note: I'm 79kgs and pretty tall/slim.

A six week cycle of 20 rep squats will usually fix and issues with plateaus. I went from 135 to 205 with twenty rep squats and increased my 1 rep max by like 45 pounds. Definitely worth it.
07-13-2015 09:28 AM
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H1N1 Offline
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Post: #1206
RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-13-2015 09:18 AM)VincentVinturi Wrote:  Frustrated with squats.

I've gone through three periodization cycles trying to inch my squat up.

But I can't seem to get past about 90kgs without my form going out the window.

I can grind out a single 110kg squat with shit form but that doesn't really count.

For you long-time squatters, what's the typical pace at which you increase your squat?

Any tips for improving? I've been doing 5x5 and transitioning to 3x3 towards my top weights.

But I can't seem to push past.

Note: I'm 79kgs and pretty tall/slim.

How often do you train legs? Do you do anything other than 5x5?

You may need to eat more, and train legs seriously. 5x5 with light weights is not necessarily going to cut it. This is the biggest lie of 5x5 programs to my mind - that you can make indefinite progress by starting really light and adding weight each week. The reality is you often start well below your max, spend a long time working up to a weight you can't lift more than, without experiencing a great deal of adaption in the meantime - ie it's all submax until you hit an actual max.

The most effective way, in my view, is to increase the volume of submax training you are doing in a given session. So say you do a 5x5 with 100kgs, that's 25 total reps for a total amount of weight shifted of 2500kgs, where this is the sum total of your squat training.

Now suppose you do 5 reps at 80kg, 5 reps at 90kg, and one rep max set of 8 reps at 100kg. That is only 1650kgs shifted. However, say you then did 5 sets of 8 for front squats @ 60% of your back squat weight. That is 70-80% of your front squat 1RM, approximately. [email protected] is another 2400kg shifted - which is nearly as much as you did for your 5x5 back squats before you called it a day. Added to your back squats as described in this paragraph, you've moved another 1500kgs more than you would have with 5x5, but have probably taxed yourself less. Assume after this, because you are training effectively, sub maximally, you also have energy to do 5x8 zercher squats and some lunges, before also doing ab work. It's easy to see how you can triple your total volume, without killing yourself in the process.

In my view, this is how you make muscles grow, and improve your strength, whilst you're still working with relatively light weights. As you get more advanced that may change, But probably not for a while. I'm squatting nearly 2.5x what you are, and this is the programming that has worked for me. You will need to incorporate deloads though, and eat like a beast.
07-13-2015 09:45 AM
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Ingocnito Offline
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Post: #1207
RE: Lifter's Lounge
^^^ Barring injuries and breaking form, I think where most people fail with legs is simply going too light. We're bi-peds, we don't walk on our hands, so your legs should be immensely strong. After a leg workout, which I only do in the evening to take advantage of 2 meals and sleep afterwards, I'm useless. Even sex is difficult afterwards (or really good sex anyways) because all the blood in my body wants to remain in my legs. The only time I broke plateaus with my legs is when I hit them hard (and heavy) twice a week.

H1N1s post above I agree with more now as I've aged. I can't risk injury (due to high weight) and seem to be having more issues now that I'm 40. You can definitely do it with volume. If you want them to grow, I would add, hit them a 2nd time that week while they're still sore 3-5 days after the first day... and stretch.. a LOT.
07-13-2015 08:08 PM
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Post: #1208
RE: Lifter's Lounge
Still seeing dudes in the gym hitting the bench press and bouncing the bar off their chest like a trampoline. Jesus Christ fellas.

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(This post was last modified: 07-14-2015 08:49 PM by Designate.)
07-14-2015 08:48 PM
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Post: #1209
RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-13-2015 08:08 PM)Ingocnito Wrote:  ^^^ Barring injuries and breaking form, I think where most people fail with legs is simply going too light. We're bi-peds, we don't walk on our hands, so your legs should be immensely strong. After a leg workout, which I only do in the evening to take advantage of 2 meals and sleep afterwards, I'm useless. Even sex is difficult afterwards (or really good sex anyways) because all the blood in my body wants to remain in my legs. The only time I broke plateaus with my legs is when I hit them hard (and heavy) twice a week.

H1N1s post above I agree with more now as I've aged. I can't risk injury (due to high weight) and seem to be having more issues now that I'm 40. You can definitely do it with volume. If you want them to grow, I would add, hit them a 2nd time that week while they're still sore 3-5 days after the first day... and stretch.. a LOT.

I do also believe it's absolutely possible to get them strong without volume, but I think you need a reasonable degree of strength in the first place to achieve that kind of stimulus. Unless you are a genetic standout, as a beginner you probably can't squat enough weight as a max to make something like 5x5 very effective. You'll either have to many other weaknesses, or you just won't know how to train hard enough. In many ways I'd say 5x5 is better for an intermediate than a beginner.
07-15-2015 03:49 AM
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StrikeBack Offline
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Post: #1210
RE: Lifter's Lounge
Bill Starr's 5x5 routine (the original) was created for high school footballers. They are more like intermediate lifters than newbies.

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07-15-2015 08:08 AM
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Post: #1211
RE: Lifter's Lounge
The only reasons I can imagine 5x5 or Starting Strength not getting you up into intermediate/advanced territory is because guys either 1)aren't willing to get fat or 2)aren't pushing hard enough through the heavy sets.

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07-15-2015 10:33 AM
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kbell Offline
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Post: #1212
RE: Lifter's Lounge
Hasan Banks is pretty impressive. He has this nervous disorder where he can hardly stand and doesn't seem to have full control over his muscles, but is a competitive bodybuilder. He may eventually be confined to a wheelchair, and hopefully will still be able to lift.

http://www.hasanbanks.com/
07-15-2015 10:43 AM
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Ingocnito Offline
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Post: #1213
RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-15-2015 03:49 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  
(07-13-2015 08:08 PM)Ingocnito Wrote:  ^^^ Barring injuries and breaking form, I think where most people fail with legs is simply going too light. We're bi-peds, we don't walk on our hands, so your legs should be immensely strong. After a leg workout, which I only do in the evening to take advantage of 2 meals and sleep afterwards, I'm useless. Even sex is difficult afterwards (or really good sex anyways) because all the blood in my body wants to remain in my legs. The only time I broke plateaus with my legs is when I hit them hard (and heavy) twice a week.

H1N1s post above I agree with more now as I've aged. I can't risk injury (due to high weight) and seem to be having more issues now that I'm 40. You can definitely do it with volume. If you want them to grow, I would add, hit them a 2nd time that week while they're still sore 3-5 days after the first day... and stretch.. a LOT.

I do also believe it's absolutely possible to get them strong without volume, but I think you need a reasonable degree of strength in the first place to achieve that kind of stimulus. Unless you are a genetic standout, as a beginner you probably can't squat enough weight as a max to make something like 5x5 very effective. You'll either have to many other weaknesses, or you just won't know how to train hard enough. In many ways I'd say 5x5 is better for an intermediate than a beginner.

I totally agree. The thing about 5 reps as the target, is although micro-tearing, some pump, etc, will load up as the sets progress, I feel many guys probably aren't mentally concentrating on the value of reps #4 & 5, and just glad to get the weight up as the last few sets of each exercise get brutal.

They are so crucial since you have a rest after only 5 reps. Clearly the goal is to dial in the weight perfectly and log it so you know right where you are. What I do like about it (having bad joints and an ectomorph build) is that you disengage the joint frequently enough that form focus (due to mental acuity), and injury (hopefully), are minimized. Plus the weekly return to the same exercise accounts for a lot of the progress.
(This post was last modified: 07-15-2015 08:37 PM by Ingocnito.)
07-15-2015 08:36 PM
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Post: #1214
RE: Lifter's Lounge
http://symmetricstrength.com/

I score Exceptional and Elite for my squats and deadlifts, but presses let me down so overall score is Advanced (90.7).

Apparently muscle-wise, I have 'Intermediate' (aka 'Mediocre') chest and 'Exceptional' ass (among other exceptional bits and pieces). Banana

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07-16-2015 12:42 AM
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RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-16-2015 12:42 AM)StrikeBack Wrote:  http://symmetricstrength.com/

I score Exceptional and Elite for my squats and deadlifts, but presses let me down so overall score is Advanced (90.7).

Apparently muscle-wise, I have 'Intermediate' (aka 'Mediocre') chest and 'Exceptional' ass (among other exceptional bits and pieces). Banana

That website is cool as hell, it should get its own thread.

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07-16-2015 02:35 AM
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Fortis Away
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Post: #1216
RE: Lifter's Lounge
Hey guys,

I've been out of the gym for almost two months. I'm two weeks I'm going to be getting back into the gym. What are some things I can do to prepare my body? I have never taken more than a week (2 because I was sick) off from the gym in about 2 years, so I don't know what to explain.

What are some basic exercises i can do (some sort of routine) a few times a week so that my body is at least a little warmed up before I start hitting the weights again.

Thanks,

Fortis

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07-16-2015 09:40 AM
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Post: #1217
RE: Lifter's Lounge
Look up Primal Blueprint Fitness on Mark's Daily Apple. Basically, body weight squats, push ups, planks, pull-ups, etc. Also, Kelly Starret 10 minute squat test on YouTube.

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07-16-2015 10:41 AM
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Post: #1218
RE: Lifter's Lounge
I took a private lesson with the strength and conditioning coach at a high profile MMA gym here this afternoon.

I don't want to say the guy's name but he coaches several UFC fighters, among others.

Very cool guy, knowledgeable and open minded about training concepts (not dogmatic about low bar vs high bar and other details that need personal context).

Some interesting notes from the session:

1. Before we even *touched* any iron he had me do quite a lot of 'activation' work on my hips, legs and glutes using those big ass rubber bands.

You definitely feel everything lighting up in your legs and core.

THEN we worked on squat form...


2. He liked my setup a lot, which I modeled on the video that @StrikeBack had posted on the Squat Clinic thread.

So we didn't change that much.

He did recommend that I lower my elbows a bit to get more upper back tightness.

Something to tinker with.


3. He had me alternating between ass to grass squats and slightly below parallel squats.

We found that the left side of my body is slightly elevated, like the hips are slightly off kilter.

Not sure how to fix that other than just to keep getting stronger and working both legs hard.


4. Tracking the knees.

This detail alone was worth the cost of the session for me.

I had been tracking my knees incorrectly.

Before all I was doing was lining up my knees and toes in a straight line.

But he actually told me to externally rotate my legs like I'm screwing me feet in place and immediately I felt the glute activation.

This tracking allowed me to widen my stance without getting too loose on the way down.


5. Don't go ass to grass.

He told me that he'd read several studies which supposedly show how muscular activation below parallel is insignifcant when compared to slightly below parallel squats.

I haven't done due diligence on this yet but I'm not convinced on this point.

I can see how going that low with a 1RM on your back would be inadvisable.

Any thoughts on this?


6. I told him I was doing 5x5 stronglifts and plateauing each cycle without making much progress.

He recommended Wendler's 5x3x1.


Overall a good session, if for no other reason than to get a second pair of eyes on my form, point out various details and drink in the experience of a dude who has been at it a lot longer than I have.

Two other notes:

1. This dude is naturally strong (think Rugby build) with 2x bodyweight+ on all the powerlifts except the OH press.

2. I asked him if any of his guys have 'goon strength' and he said the Chechen guys are the most naturally strong.

A kind of wiry strength (superior CNS activation?)


Final note:

I wish I had paid a professional earlier for his opinion, and not just with regards to weightlifting.

There's another guy at the CrossFit gym here who is supposedly a very skilled olympic lifter.

I don't do the olympic lifts but maybe it would be good to get a handle on the basics, so I'm going to look him up.

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07-16-2015 11:16 AM
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Post: #1219
RE: Lifter's Lounge
Sounds like you found an excellent coach.

#3: everyone is slightly off. It might not be a problem, just keep an eye on it.

#5: this is context dependent, although overall I kinda agree with him.

With low bar powerlifting squat (i.e my competition one) I only squat just below parallel (about 2 inches) and never ATG. I don't think it's necessary or possible to squat ATG with most people's mobility anyway.

With high bar, I always go ATG, because it's actually easier on the joints. Cutting depth will put a lot of stress on the knees. Olympic lifters also squat ATG because that's what they need to assist the 2 competition lifts where they have to be in the ATG position.

Usually this never comes up as an issue with new lifters though as they don't have the mobility to even squat just below parallel.

#6: I like that, I do a more advanced version of 5/3/1 myself, and I give variations of it to people I train. For newbies, the drop sets are very important to learn the skills and build muscles.

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07-16-2015 08:50 PM
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RE: Lifter's Lounge
I hate it when people don't respect my privacy and record me.

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07-16-2015 09:45 PM
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RE: Lifter's Lounge
^^^
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07-17-2015 12:15 AM
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RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-16-2015 12:42 AM)StrikeBack Wrote:  http://symmetricstrength.com/

The site confirmed what I already knew - my bench is way below where it should be compared to my other lifts (just over 2xbw DL, just under 1xbw Bench). I just finished Sheiko 37-31-32 and everything went up except bench. I want to get this imbalance resolved before going back to have another run at it.

So it's back to basics, starting off with setup and form:




Here's the cues I noted:
  • Shoulder blades retracted throughout - hold tension.
  • Lift up body with feet on bench to get maximum upper back contact and lower back arch
  • Keep moving feet back on floor until hips no longer lift with foot pressure
  • Avoid letting bar drift towards face in lockout position
  • Only use a bench where J-hook height allows unracking without losing tension

I put this into practice in today's workout and felt a lot more stable and stronger, did the same reps and weights as my last bench session but a lot easier. Slow eccentrics, 1st rep paused on chest, full ROM.

Open to any other suggestions/recommendations for how to get my bench to where it should be?

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07-17-2015 04:46 AM
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Post: #1223
RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-17-2015 04:46 AM)Benoit Wrote:  
(07-16-2015 12:42 AM)StrikeBack Wrote:  http://symmetricstrength.com/

The site confirmed what I already knew - my bench is way below where it should be compared to my other lifts (just over 2xbw DL, just under 1xbw Bench). I just finished Sheiko 37-31-32 and everything went up except bench. I want to get this imbalance resolved before going back to have another run at it.

So it's back to basics, starting off with setup and form:




Here's the cues I noted:
  • Shoulder blades retracted throughout - hold tension.
  • Lift up body with feet on bench to get maximum upper back contact and lower back arch
  • Keep moving feet back on floor until hips no longer lift with foot pressure
  • Avoid letting bar drift towards face in lockout position
  • Only use a bench where J-hook height allows unracking without losing tension

I put this into practice in today's workout and felt a lot more stable and stronger, did the same reps and weights as my last bench session but a lot easier. Slow eccentrics, 1st rep paused on chest, full ROM.

Open to any other suggestions/recommendations for how to get my bench to where it should be?

What are you doing other than bench? For me personally, total pressing volume has a huge effect on whether my bench is moving or not.

Weighted dips are a staple accessory for all pressing movements, and if I drop them from my programming everything suffers. In 2 months when I finish my 10th cycle of 5/3/1, I will probably drop bench all together for a while and focus on heavy dips.
07-17-2015 05:10 AM
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Post: #1224
RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-17-2015 05:10 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  What are you doing other than bench? For me personally, total pressing volume has a huge effect on whether my bench is moving or not.

Weighted dips are a staple accessory for all pressing movements, and if I drop them from my programming everything suffers. In 2 months when I finish my 10th cycle of 5/3/1, I will probably drop bench all together for a while and focus on heavy dips.

Currently: Overhead press, klokov press, incline DB press, neutral grip DB press. Minimum of 2 press exercises per workout. I've dialled back squats and deads to maintenance levels.

I haven't done dips for years, my shoulders didn't like them at all. Might be worth another attempt but I don't want to rush into it.

"I'd hate myself if I had that kind of attitude, if I were that weak." - Arnold
07-17-2015 05:34 AM
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Post: #1225
RE: Lifter's Lounge
(07-17-2015 05:34 AM)Benoit Wrote:  
(07-17-2015 05:10 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  What are you doing other than bench? For me personally, total pressing volume has a huge effect on whether my bench is moving or not.

Weighted dips are a staple accessory for all pressing movements, and if I drop them from my programming everything suffers. In 2 months when I finish my 10th cycle of 5/3/1, I will probably drop bench all together for a while and focus on heavy dips.

Currently: Overhead press, klokov press, incline DB press, neutral grip DB press. Minimum of 2 press exercises per workout. I've dialled back squats and deads to maintenance levels.

I haven't done dips for years, my shoulders didn't like them at all. Might be worth another attempt but I don't want to rush into it.

Have you tried them on rings/is it an option? Obviously if they hurt you you shouldn't do them, but if it's been a while you may want to give them another go, unweighted initially.

What sets and reps are you doing for your pressing work, including your main bench work? What percentage of your max are you working at?

What are you doing for your back-where are your row/chin numbers relative to your bodyweight?

When was the last time you just got heavier?
07-17-2015 05:48 AM
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