T Nation

ABBH question

On day one, with flat bench and bb rows, are we to row to the same point on your torso that you lower the bar to on the bench press? For example, I lower the bar to my nipple area on bench press, but row the bar to my upper abdomen area on the bb row.

Has CW made any requirements in this regard, as he has with hand placement on the bar?

when bench pressing with your shoulder blades pulled together the bars should hit your lower chest/upper abdominal area just like the barbell rows.

Nah, but I think it’s better if you use same grip width, on both exercises…

Yes, use the same grip width on both methods. Also, let the bar touch your chest on rowing at the same position the bar touches when bench pressing.

Thanks for the responses. A couple of things:

In order to bring the bar to my nipple area during the row, I’d have to be just about parallel to the ground, which would require me to lighten the load on the row (I calculated a 215 lb. 1RM in the BB row, but this was as I had learned the movement, to the upper ab region).

I suspect the chest supported row would be the most accurate antagonist exercise to the bench press. This movement supports your chest as the bench supports your back, and the movement can be wide and can easily be pulled to the upper or middle back. Would you agree?


Yep, you’re correct, you’ll need to lighten the load to pull it that high. That is perfectly fine. But pulling that high is absolutely necessary, the difference between lower chest and upper abdominal regions won’t negatively affect your results.

I prefer that trainees don’t use chest supported rows since I want the spinal erectors to be activated on the horizontal pulling day also. But once again, the difference is minimal. Do what feels best.

Roger that. Thanks C-Dub, I’ll make the adjustment.

If you didn’t catch it, here’s what I meant to type:

Pulling that high isn’t absolutely necessary.

Sorry for the typing error!

Ah! Big difference! I’m going to stick to my guns then – rows with the heavier weight, strict form, but to the upper ab region; bench to the low chest region. Thanks CW.

One more question: Day 5, I know for certain that I cannot complete 5 x 10 for pullups with BW, much less 60% 1RM.

Are these loading parameters reasonable? Can others perform this okay?

Should I just perform as many reps as possible with 60% or should I use a weight that allows me to get 10 reps (BW)?

***Day 3 was an ass kicker…granted, I’m pretty out of shape at the moment, but man…it was tough!

If your strength levels don’t allow you to perform pull-ups, use cable lat pulldowns instead.

I’m interested by this. My 1 RM on the pull up is my bodyweight (185) plus 90 lbs., yet I cannot perform 5 sets of 10 reps with just my bodyweight. Is this a common problem? Can it be explained away by muscle fiber type in my lats?

What gives?

Anyone else have a similar experience?

wait a sec, I think can clarify my confusion… My 1RM on the pull up is my BW + 90=275. If I take 60% of 275, it gives me 165. Is this the weight I’m to use?


Am I to take 60% of the 90 lbs. added weight, meaning 54 lbs strapped on plus bodyweight?


Don’t get caught up in percentages, because as I mentioned, they’re just gross estimates.

For loading, you MUST use your bodyweight+extra load. In other words, your first example is correct. Merely using 60% of your additional load leads to seriously incorrect loading parameters.

Gotcha. For that matter, the percentage (around 60%) of my 1RM would be 165, but I weigh 185. So, I did pull ups this evening with my bodyweight.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make 5x10 (I went 10, 10, 10, 8, 7). I couldn’t handle the dips either - in fact, the first set was the only one I reached 10 reps on, and it was damn near failure. The sets that followed dropped in reps and I eventually dropped weight a bit to try and keep the reps closer to 10.

It was a tough workout, although extremely short - about 15 minutes! (I did some additional arm work afterward.)


I have just tried ABBH as a change up to my normal routine and I agree with a lot of the issues that you mentioned.

Day three smashed me the first week but I got the better of it the next time.

With the chins, I just performed as many as I could. 10,10,8,8,6 something like that. I think bodyweight is probably significantly more that 60% of my one rep max.

I’ll be interested to see what you think of the program in a few weeks time. Because you avoid training to failure I began to feel like I had not trained at all. My strength has improved though and it gave the CNS a good rest without really resting the body.

Bilt, I can see what you mean about feeling as though you hadn’t trained.

For example, Day 1 seemed easy and only lasted about 25-30 minutes, but the soreness that followed lasted longer than I’m accustomed, so I was happy about that. I’ll be interested to see if I can handle the rep increases from week to week.
Day 3 was just killer–I was totally run down after the workout. I almost hacked up my PWO Surge…
Day 5 just didn’t seem to work right. There was some confusion and I was unable to meet the parameters, so I was working closer to, in fact at, failure. The work was tough but it wasn’t as draining as Day 3…and it took only 15 minutes.

(I think I’ll just continue to post my thoughts and progress on this thread here…sort of an ABBH training log, for those interested and for CW’s feedback – though I’m sure he’s heard enough…I know I’m late to the ABBH bandwagon)

Thanks RSU. Yes, be sure to let me know if you have any questions/concerns while performing the program. Don’t let the short duration of the workouts fool you - they’re very effective.

Day 7:

DL - 280lbs, 10x3
Decline Sit up - 55 lbs DB held on chest, 10x3
Seated Calf raise - 180lbs, 10x3

The DL was by far the most taxing of the three exercises, but it still didn’t push me like the squats on Day 3. I should have used more weight on calves, but I can’t afford any paralyzing soreness right now anyway.

This workout took about 47-50 minutes - far longer than the others, esp. Day 5. Looking forward to Day 9, benching 10x4…

Yesterday was my scheduled workout, but I missed it due to school work…got in there today to make it up, but suffered another bit of a setback – shoulder pain while benching.

I had my 80% on the rack - 230 - and was on the 6th set of 4 reps and felt some strain I had previously not experienced. I did the BORs and went back to the bench only to feel the same thing, but a bit worse and more “vulnerable.” I decide to finish the other set of rows and end the workout there (7 sets completed). I was pissed I didn’t get to finish, but didn’t think I should risk it. I’ll have a good 4 days before my shoulders are asked to press again (dips), hopefully that is sufficient recoup time.

Think I did the right thing in ending the workout early? No doubt in my mind that I could have completed the 10x4 had I not felt the pain…