T Nation

Rock bottom bench (Chad Waterbury?)

I’m hoping to get a response from Chad Waterbury on this one, but anyone with some input feel free to chime in. I recently started a program based on Ed Coan’s bench press program. On Mondays I do bench alternated with T-bar rows, following a progression that decreases the reps each week while adding 10 lbs each week. On Fridays I do six sets of 3 explosive push ups, then 2 sets of rock bottom bench presses, then 2 sets of dumbell bench presses. I have been doing light (135 lbs) sets of 8 on the r.b. bench, but I’m wondering if my explosive strength would benefit more doing heavy low rep sets. What do you think?

Where did you get the idea to alternate bench with T bar rows. I love doing it and have some friends ask for info on it. Where did you get the program it looks good i would like to try it also??? Thanks

Patman,
Yes, your explosive strength would benefit more from heavy/low rep sets performed as quickly as possible. I don’t know your 1RM, but I wouldn’t recommend only doing the rock bottom bench with a light load. Once you retest your 1RM again, the load will probably not get off your chest if it is only trained with a light load in that position. Stick to heavy/low rep on one workout and speed push-ups on the other workout.

What exactly is a rock bottom bench press?

There is an article called “Rock Bottom Training” at T-mag. A search will bring it up at T-mag. Or check the previous issues section. It’s a couple of years old, but still a neat idea.

Reidy: I alternate bench with T-bar rows to increase recovery between sets. Alternating sets of antagonistic planes of motion increases neural recovery. When the back muscles are contracted, the nervous system relaxes the pushing muscles. I first read about it in an article about the Poliquin Principles on this site. Oh yeah, I’m sure it would also prevent imbalances, as both are being worked equally. I also alternate chins and shoulder presses.

Lots of questions… So would you suggest I decrease the reps to 1-3? Should I do more than 2 sets? Would I benefit most by moving rock bottom bench to monday after my other bench presses, or could I keep it on Friday? My recovery is good, I’m doing 100 reps/day with push-ups.

Patman,
First of all, I’m not sure what your primary goal is(?) Are you trying to improve maximal strength levels, hypertrophy or explosive strength? Since you mentioned explosive strength in your question I will assume that is your goal.
Explosive Strength levels are enhanced by increasing three types of strength: maximal, starting and acceleration. Therefore, explosive strength training would target all three of those variables. For maximal strength perform 6-8 sets of 2-3 reps with a large load. For starting strength perform 8-10 sets of 2-3 reps with an exercise that can be unloaded (such as bench presses with the pins set just above chest level so the load can completely rest before restarting), but these must be performed fast with about 50% of 1RM. For acceleration strength, do 8-10 sets of 2-3 reps with about 50% of 1RM or my Explosive push-up routine would increase acceleration strength.

Thank you for the advice Chad. For the record, my goal is max bench press poundage (focus on bench press due to a leg injury). I wanted to give Ed Coan’s approach a try, but changed a few things so I would have a little explosive training on a separate day from the strength training. I will take your advice into consideration. Thanks!