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Incline Bench

You type in the strangest way. I want to highlight what MaazerSmiit posted “Yes for now, you should base your training on a bunch of basic lifts, but nothing is stopping you from doing what you SHOULD be doing, then experimenting a bit with different exercises later in the workout to see how they feel”.

That’s basically how you should approach most of your form or exercise variation questions. Do the work your workout plan calls for, then at the end of the lift/workout do a couple sets at a slightly light weight of a exercise variation that you want to try out and see how it feels. We can all tell you how it’s supposed to feel, but for every person there are exercises that don’t feel right to them.

As to why cable bench press isn’t the best,that depends on what you’re goal is for the exercise and theres a lot of variables here. It almost sounds like to me you view it as a cable fly basically. The biggest problem with it is once you start increasing the weight, biceps and shoulders want to help out a lot. It’s fairly easy to target your chest with it at lighter weights, but once you start going heavy your biceps have to work pretty hard to keep your arm in the correct position and your shoulders start wanting to help out also. And from what I’ve noticed with cables, once you start going heavier it gets kind of challenging to “stabilize” the handles and push in a straight line without shaking a bunch. That’s solvable if you just lower the weight, but it makes progression more difficult. It’s nowhere near as simple or easy as a standard bench press to progress, especially for beginners.

A cable fly is great movement for feeling the chest contract, no doubt. A cable bench press is similar, as the cables are exerting a force outward on your muscles. They can be a great addition to a chest routine, but they have their limitations as all exercises do. But picking a best exercise for a muscle group is difficult, as almost any movement has advantages and limitations.

[quote]staystrong wrote:
You type in the strangest way. I want to highlight what MaazerSmiit posted “Yes for now, you should base your training on a bunch of basic lifts, but nothing is stopping you from doing what you SHOULD be doing, then experimenting a bit with different exercises later in the workout to see how they feel”.

That’s basically how you should approach most of your form or exercise variation questions. Do the work your workout plan calls for, then at the end of the lift/workout do a couple sets at a slightly light weight of a exercise variation that you want to try out and see how it feels. We can all tell you how it’s supposed to feel, but for every person there are exercises that don’t feel right to them.

As to why cable bench press isn’t the best,that depends on what you’re goal is for the exercise and theres a lot of variables here. It almost sounds like to me you view it as a cable fly basically. The biggest problem with it is once you start increasing the weight, biceps and shoulders want to help out a lot. It’s fairly easy to target your chest with it at lighter weights, but once you start going heavy your biceps have to work pretty hard to keep your arm in the correct position and your shoulders start wanting to help out also. And from what I’ve noticed with cables, once you start going heavier it gets kind of challenging to “stabilize” the handles and push in a straight line without shaking a bunch. That’s solvable if you just lower the weight, but it makes progression more difficult. It’s nowhere near as simple or easy as a standard bench press to progress, especially for beginners.

A cable fly is great movement for feeling the chest contract, no doubt. A cable bench press is similar, as the cables are exerting a force outward on your muscles. They can be a great addition to a chest routine, but they have their limitations as all exercises do. But picking a best exercise for a muscle group is difficult, as almost any movement has advantages and limitations.[/quote]
See, that’s all you had to say and now I’m convinced of your standpoint and you beint right. Thank you!

[quote]LoRez wrote:
If you’re really that dead set on guillotine presses, please 1) do them with a spotter or in a rack with the pins set so you don’t drop/lower the bar on yourself, 2) try to cut off the bottom portion of the ROM… when the elbows are about the same height as your torso, starting going back up. This keeps the shoulders in a more stable position, and keeps the emphasis more on the chest and off the shoulders.

But all in all, I’m both amused and annoyed that my prediction was right. I thought maybe I was wrong… but apparently not.[/quote]
Thank you very much for your tips. Hehe, I’ll stick to the routine for, I think, a couple of months, as long as it works, that is, as long as I don’t reach a plateu.

Yeah, I forgot to tell you guys I always do neck presses in the smith machine, it’s pretty good, because yes, there have been times when I almost dropped it LOL probably would have died from it had it not been done in the smith machine… It’s a good thing I was precautious about the exercise.

But yes, you’re right,I need to be dedicated and consistent, I’m not going to be stupid and change my routine after a couple of weeks, I’ll need to be consistent, dedicated and will need to stick to it in order to see what changes it can possibly bring about. Thanks!

In terms of bodybuilding, neck pressing can be beneficial if you want to specifically target the upper pec. You just do not lower it to your chin level however, because it can be pretty taxing to shoulders. Arms slightly below parallel, barbell around your nose level should be enough, but experiment with it since everybody has different body. When performing this, use the weight that is light enough.

As for incline bench, somewhere between mid chest or nipple line works great, you will find out eventually for the exact spot. As for neck pressing, try to do it as finishing movement after you finish with major sets.

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
I set a weight goal on that exercise because as far as I know, even though strenght and muscle gains aren’t linear, they do have something to do with each other. I think if I get to 200 pounds on the neck press, I’ll significantly have increased the size of my chest muscles. Aren’t I right?
It’s not like I’m training for strength gains, I just want to get stronger first on the basic lifts because I was told beginners should do that, as in the meantime they get bigger too. Correct me if I’m wrong on this, please.

Yes, I agree with you on the “experimenting with lifts” thing, I’ll keep that in mind.
[/quote]

So you set a weight goal on the neck or guillotine press because you figure if you can do more, you will get bigger.

But you don’t apply this logic to the squat, and quickly abandoned it because it hurts.

I’ll make a gentlemen’s bet with you. Get your neck press to 200 for a 1RM as you say you are working on, then get your squat to a 2xBW 1RM by any means necessary. Which one will get you more “jacked”? I already know the answer, but I’m not sure you do.

Again - I just think your focus and energy are misplaced. This isn’t meant to be a put-down.

[quote]Souldozer wrote:

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
I set a weight goal on that exercise because as far as I know, even though strenght and muscle gains aren’t linear, they do have something to do with each other. I think if I get to 200 pounds on the neck press, I’ll significantly have increased the size of my chest muscles. Aren’t I right?
It’s not like I’m training for strength gains, I just want to get stronger first on the basic lifts because I was told beginners should do that, as in the meantime they get bigger too. Correct me if I’m wrong on this, please.

Yes, I agree with you on the “experimenting with lifts” thing, I’ll keep that in mind.
[/quote]

So you set a weight goal on the neck or guillotine press because you figure if you can do more, you will get bigger.

But you don’t apply this logic to the squat, and quickly abandoned it because it hurts.

I’ll make a gentlemen’s bet with you. Get your neck press to 200 for a 1RM as you say you are working on, then get your squat to a 2xBW 1RM by any means necessary. Which one will get you more “jacked”? I already know the answer, but I’m not sure you do.

Again - I just think your focus and energy are misplaced. This isn’t meant to be a put-down.[/quote]

I’m always open for feedback and possible opportunities to learn, don’t worry!

Clearly the legs are bigger muscles than the chest, but I have my priorities. I know, this doesn’t sound too smart at first, but I really want that massive thick chest basically every guy is striving for

I do train my leg though heavy as fuck

Alright thanks guys

One question though: I just want to maximize the effectiveness of my bench press. So are you supposed to “shove your hands together” on the concentric as well as on the eccentric portion of the rep, OR would I be better off by only doing it on the eccentric?

So:

much lower weight (maybe?), but on the concentric as well as the eccentric VS only on the eccentric?

Thanks a lot

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
One question though: I just want to maximize the effectiveness of my bench press. So are you supposed to “shove your hands together” on the concentric as well as on the eccentric portion of the rep, OR would I be better off by only doing it on the eccentric? [/quote]

It really doesn’t matter. Technically, it might matter a tiny tiny bit… but it really doesn’t matter.

Right now, being able to bench more weight will matter far more than whether you’re pushing, pulling, twisting, squeezing, etc.

Oh alright, thanks very much

So that means the load is always more important than the extent to which the muscle gets shortened, if that makes sense?

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
Oh alright, thanks very much

So that means the load is always more important than the extent to which the muscle gets shortened, if that makes sense?[/quote]

My thoughts on it…

Up until a certain point of development, with compound movements this is pretty much true. The guy who squats 315 with passable form is going to get more stimulation out of it than the guy who squats 225 with “perfect” form.

Now, in the case of more isolation movements, “quality of contraction” is more important than the load used… but a higher load can help you learn to contract better. By this I mean, the ability to keep the muscle contracted through the full range of movement. Think of doing a very light bicep curl – there’s not much stimulation to your muscle and it’s really easy to do. Now contract your muscle as hard as you can while doing that curl. That’s what I mean by “quality of contraction”.

There’s room for all of these techniques later on, but focusing on pushing the weight up in the major compound movements… rowing, pressing, benching, deadlifting, squatting… is going to develop a whole bunch of things, even if your form isn’t quite perfect.

Alright, I get it, thanks very much

[quote]LoRez wrote:

Now, in the case of more isolation movements, “quality of contraction” is more important than the load used… but a higher load can help you learn to contract better. By this I mean, the ability to keep the muscle contracted through the full range of movement. Think of doing a very light bicep curl – there’s not much stimulation to your muscle and it’s really easy to do. Now contract your muscle as hard as you can while doing that curl. That’s what I mean by “quality of contraction”.

[/quote]

I’ve seen a Kai Greene training video where he uses 25 lb dumbbells for biceps curls. I also remember ZRaw talking about rarely using heavier than 25’s for curls. Stu has also talked about how he really started growing once he stopped caring so much about moving the heaviest weights possible and really concentrated on form and optimal contraction.

And not that I’m particularly impressive, but I don’t really go heavier than 20’s for dumbbell curls, and I think most of my non-training friends would assume I use much heavier weights.

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
Stu has also talked about how he really started growing once he stopped caring so much about moving the heaviest weights possible and really concentrated on form and optimal contraction. [/quote]
Yep. In his Q+A just last week, he laid out some pretty great info on the topic:

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
@StayStrong- Activities Guy pretty much hit my thinking on the head. I’ve never told anyone to go out of their way to lift light weights. Simply that the mentality of many of the gym rats when I first started training was to move as much weight as possible, at all costs. Progressive resistance training (the scientific jargon for anyone playing around with weights) means that there is some type of progression. The simplest way to measure a very obvious variable (especially for beginners) is to try and add more weight to the bar.

Obviously this isn’t a bad thing, but, as there are so many other factors involved, to simply ignore them, and their very important roles in contributing to muscle gain, will eventually lead you to the inevitable plateau of “I’m pretty strong, but I just can’t get my _____ to grow” that we’ve seen countless times.

Doing “work” doesn’t always mean you moved the most weight possible in the gym. One piece of advice I’ve been repeating over the years to clients, gym buddies, even co-workers who complain of not making progress, is “your muscles have no idea how much weight is on the bar.” All they know if how hard they are being called upon to work within a certain duration (that can be each set, or the total of your training session).

That means that some permutation of weight lifted, time under tension for target muscles, repetition cadence, state of target muscles going into a movement, ability of exercises chosen to hit specific muscle groups… will all factor in to whether you make physique progress or not.

Sure I’ve talked about how “chasing numbers” didn’t give me a Pro level physique, but learning to train properly did. That doesn’t mean that I went out of my way to train light. In fact, I’ve always hung around a good number of power lifters and strongman competitors and most would all agree that “for a bodybuilder”, I moved some pretty respectable poundages (550 squat, 500 dead, 385 flat bench - nothing to give a real PLer any competition, but I’m proud of 'em).

Your body will get stronger over time (to a point of course), it will just kinda happen if you’re continually pushing. But as someone who subjects themselves to the rigors of contest preps, you learn to me more mindful of the forest, not just the tress. During my first contest prep, I was still inclining sets of 275 a few weeks out. As the years went on, and I took a good hard look at the overall picture, I realized I could get the same stress by improving my performance of the movement, really milking it, avoiding portions of the ROM where I felt the stress lessen, even paying considerable attention to the sequencing of my chosen exercises for the day.

Sure I could still lay down on a flat bench and throw up 3+ plates if I did it first, BUT, I knew that my chest actually GREW better if I pre-exhausted first with cable flyes, and then used DB’s instead of a bar. Yes, it may not look as cool or impressive to the wanna be powerlifters throwing up more weight than they should be handling, and usually with form so bad it looks like they’re trying to give themselves scoliosis, but if your goal is a good looking physique, you have to keep a sane perspective.[/quote]

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]staystrong wrote:
Thanks for the reply Stu. I know you never told anyone to try to lift lighter weights, just to make sure the weight is appropriate for stimulating the muscle. Which for some people (myself included) means stepping back from what they’re currently lifting.[/quote]
Exactly! It just surprises me how many people misconstrue what this actually means. For every time I mention how top natty competitors like Brian Whitacre will point out how “not strong” they are, obviously they’re speaking relatively. They’d still bury the majority of people in any non-powerlifting gym with what they handle en route to their physique building goals.

Yates was always quick to say that if you’re not getting the size results you’re after, half your working weights and make sure you’re actually doing the work with your muscles. If you can separate your ego from the best route to your intended results, you’ll be much happier in the long run.[/quote]

I’d like to ask something, I do give a shit about your guys’ opinion!

I’ll be sticking to the basics (just like what I’ve been doing, seriously), but I’ll always read T-Nation’s articles because they are awesome!
However, not to call Chad Waterbury out, but I think what he wrote in this article is plain bullshit. Look at this:http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/build_a_huge_chest_in_six_weeks

Look at the slide push ups. If I understand him correctly, he says it’s far superior to the bench press (and the guillotine press lol) because you can bring your hands together at the end of the rep, thus better exploiting the horizontal adduction action of the pecs.

But if you think about it, it would be far better to do just that, with dumbbels, no? I’ll stick to my routine anyway, just wanted to ask something you guys, posting it here, instead of creating another thread

Also please tell me what you think of Coach Thibadau saying dips is the best chest exercise, pretty interesting to hear

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
I’d like to ask something, I do give a shit about your guys’ opinion!

I’ll be sticking to the basics (just like what I’ve been doing, seriously), but I’ll always read T-Nation’s articles because they are awesome!
However, not to call Chad Waterbury out, but I think what he wrote in this article is plain bullshit. Look at this:http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/build_a_huge_chest_in_six_weeks

Look at the slide push ups. If I understand him correctly, he says it’s far superior to the bench press (and the guillotine press lol) because you can bring your hands together at the end of the rep, thus better exploiting the horizontal adduction action of the pecs.

But if you think about it, it would be far better to do just that, with dumbbels, no? I’ll stick to my routine anyway, just wanted to ask something you guys, posting it here, instead of creating another thread

Also please tell me what you think of Coach Thibadau saying dips is the best chest exercise, pretty interesting to hear[/quote]

What experiences are you drawing from that lead you to say that CT or Chad Waterbuy are wrong? In your experience what is the best chest exercise and why have you developed that opinion??

Oh damn, not again… It looks like when it comes to wording these forums posts, I’m not the best.
Hey, I wasn’t critisizing them at all, I just wanted to ask

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
I’d like to ask something, I do give a shit about your guys’ opinion!

I’ll be sticking to the basics (just like what I’ve been doing, seriously), but I’ll always read T-Nation’s articles because they are awesome!
However, not to call Chad Waterbury out, but I think what he wrote in this article is plain bullshit. Look at this:http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/build_a_huge_chest_in_six_weeks

Look at the slide push ups. If I understand him correctly, he says it’s far superior to the bench press (and the guillotine press lol) because you can bring your hands together at the end of the rep, thus better exploiting the horizontal adduction action of the pecs.

But if you think about it, it would be far better to do just that, with dumbbels, no? I’ll stick to my routine anyway, just wanted to ask something you guys, posting it here, instead of creating another thread

Also please tell me what you think of Coach Thibadau saying dips is the best chest exercise, pretty interesting to hear[/quote]

I imagine if you spent half of the time in the gym or kitchen that you use posting ridiculous chest threads and undermining CT and Waterbury, you’d have made some decent progress.

Read, apply, and make your own observations.

Yep, I do, and I hope to make gains, yes.

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
However, not to call Chad Waterbury out, but I think what he wrote in this article is plain bullshit.[/quote]

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
Hey, I wasn’t critisizing them at all, I just wanted to ask[/quote]

Wow. You have an interesting, annoying way of spouting off, then backing off as if nothing happened. You’ve done it to me, which is okay, but now to a pretty respected guy in Waterbury.

I guess I need to move on from anything you post from here on out. It is just too frustrating to continue. My friends call folks like you an energy vampire. I am tapping out.

Best wishes on achieving your goals.

I do appreciate your help, actually, seriously. Didn’t mean to ‘steal your energy’ or however to put it.

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
Didn’t mean to ‘steal your energy’…[/quote]

I knew it all along. You’re a mutant! Admit it!

[quote]Souldozer wrote:

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
However, not to call Chad Waterbury out, but I think what he wrote in this article is plain bullshit.[/quote]

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
Hey, I wasn’t critisizing them at all, I just wanted to ask[/quote]

Wow. You have an interesting, annoying way of spouting off, then backing off as if nothing happened. You’ve done it to me, which is okay, but now to a pretty respected guy in Waterbury.

I guess I need to move on from anything you post from here on out. It is just too frustrating to continue. My friends call folks like you an energy vampire. I am tapping out.

Best wishes on achieving your goals.[/quote]

Well, he does it to pretty much everyone. Subtle attacks (and sometimes not so subtle) to someone to get them to “prove” they’re right, then when they explain why he suddenly “wasn’t trying to fight/disagree” and then types in a weird way where you can’t tell if he’s being a sarcastic jerk who thinks your reply is dumb or lacks basic communication skills online and can’t figure out how to just say “thanks” and instead says things like “thanks, seriously, no seriously your right, like, that’s just the best advice ever. That makes perfect sense, I’ll just do [whatever you just said] and be awesome. Thanks, seriously”. Which sounds 99% like an ***hole and not someone who actually thanks you for advice.

Very odd way to go about things as a beginner who wants to learn. Like, seriously.