T Nation

Short Training Update


I'm currently in a chest/bench press spec phase.

Yesterda, despite the travelling, Colorado thin air and time zone difference I hit:

Bottoms-up bench press (bench press starting from a dead start in the power rack) up to 405 for 3 cluster reps

Thick bar bench press up to 400 for 3 reps

Floor press up to 380lbs for 3 reps


I tried the cluster reps for the first time today and to my surprise they were harder than a normal bench. I figured doing 4-6 singles with 5-7s rest between reps would be a great way to lift closer to your 1RM for extended reps.

My 1RM Bench is about 255, this morning I got 4 @ 185, 5 @ 205, missed on 225, and then got 5 @ 205 again.

Does this sound right, or should I in fact be working closer to where my 1RM is?




If you perform clusters from the bottom position (and I recently found out that this is the best way to do things) then most people will be weaker on the clusters because the can't use the stretch reflex to contribute to force production, it's all muscle contraction.


Great lifting, Thib! Heavy low-rep lifting all the way...
By the way, I don't get what is the point of thick-bar in any pressing?


For some reason I find it to be much easier on the shoulders


Thib, it seems like you use very low volume for improving strength. Do you
think that, the more advanced you are, the less volume you need (because
with every set you produce a big punishment) or, as some think, the more
advanced you are, the more sets you need to disrup homeostasis?.


Thib, would you share what the whole routine looks like?


Not yet... it would be akin to revealing what our superprogram is going to be!!!


Low volume? In that workout I did a total of 17 work sets... all pressing movements above 85% of my max... that's not low volume!!!


Could you please expand on why you think starting in the bottom position is superior?


For clusters it is. Why? Because with clusters, you will have to unrack the weight and bring it into the starting position which is hard by itself and will take some energy which will not contribute to your gains.

Bottoms up starts take that away.

And they also have a cool effect on the nervous system; you start from the stretch position... but normally when you start from there the stretch reflex kicks in, but it doesn't anymore.

What happens is that to compensate for this the nervous system will overshoot its activation signal. Then you move on to a regular exercises and the CNS is still in overshoot mode and thus you are actually much stronger.

This morning we trained Dr. Tim Hall... this guy had never in his live lifted more than 250lbs on the bench... and he actually stopped bench pressing due to shoulder issues.

This morning he was actually able to lift 315lbs for 3 reps, pain-free, with his first try at this program.


How many days per week will you be doing bench training?


Interesting... then how did the warm-up and first worksets look like?


Like sets that were lighter than the top set!!!




CT, can this same setup be use for improving the deadlift? could you please share an example day?
Thanks, cant wait for the upcoming program!!!


hi Coach,
because I train alone, for my safety,
I always train my bench press, shoulder press, close grip bench press in the power rack, starting from the bottom position ( from time with every kind of workout).

What do you think about? Is it safe for health of shoulders?

thank you very much



You're a cruel bastard, sir! Just wanted you to know that.

I did the bottoms up cluster for squats this morning and those things are made of 3 parts suck, 1 part awful. Thanks for that!

When you're setting up the pins for the bottoms up squat, how deep do you set your starting point. I like to squat as deep as I can, but I found that it was tremendously more difficult to start from below parallel with the squat. I 1RM around 335, got stuck at 225 when trying to start below parallel. Is this just a weakness I need to work on, or do you suggest starting at parallel or higher? Also, between reps do you keep your back to the bar or rest on your haunches or does it matter?

Thanks (I think...)

Greg (should these questions be put in the Questions about Training thread?)


I think that it has to do with the fact that one can't grip as hard as one would be able to with a regular bar. There might be some connection between grip (when resistance exist AKA weight) and shoulder activation. I tried using a thicker bar for the lat pulldown and noticed it wasn't as bad on the shoulders.


Yep, that's the main part of m theory and Tim Hall, a doctor specialised in pain treatment agreed yesterday