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SSP Layout Critique And Some Questions

Hello Paul! I purchased SSP today! Great work! I really enjoy this book!
I already read it two times. So I decide to run the following layout for the shield phase:

Day 1 - Legs

Seated Leg Curls
Smith Squat - main movement
Split Squat (for glutes)

Day 2 - Push

Incline Barbell Press - main movement
Seated Dumbbell Press
Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Straight Bar Pushdowns

Day 3 - Pull

Barbell Row - main movement (I decide to do rows instead of dl. All I feel with this movement is hams and lower back)
V-Bar Pulldowns (focus on lats)
Dumbbell Shrugs
Barbell Curls

Some questions:

  1. I can’t feel my quads with squat in general (barbell or smith machine). Any suggestions on that? Maybe one set of an isolation exercise before main lift as an activation? Or half reps with smith squat for a couple of sets? I can feel my quads on leg extensions, on leg press and when I am doing half reps on squat.
  2. Same problem with my chest… I can’t feel it without an activation exercise (isolation) or without pre fatigue technique. Any suggestions?

P.S.1 Great advice on stress management and how to develop a positive mindset.
P.S.2 You’ ve become my biggest inspiration on training!
P.S.3 Wish me good gains!

You’re not supposed to “feel” your quads in squats. No one does. Even if you’re biasing them with full knee flexion you don’t “feel” it in your quads per say because there’s so many other “parts” working to stabilize and help move that load. In high reps you might feel the accumulation of metabolites so that the quads are burning, but some other shit could be feeling that as well.

Activation work is mostly bullshit. Good mind to muscle connection is about executing the movements with good mechanics. Generally speaking, if that’s happening then the proper neural pathways have been created so that you know when that muscle is working.

If you’re thinking about making the pecs work and create good output with them then eventually you should feel them working.

If you’re holding your scapula in retraction while you press then the pecs can’t shorten and no, you won’t feel them working. And all the activation work in the world won’t change that because you’re literally turning them off when you press that way.

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Thank you very much Paul!
I asked you about squat because my quads really suck. I gained muscle on hamstrings and glutes but quads are small.

When I am doing pec work , I never hold my scapula in retraction though. I let my scapula move naturally.

then do hacks and leg press, not squats.

There could be something else going on there, but it could just be that you need a better mental cue.

I tell guys to think about shoving their armpit into the middle of their chest and this helps.

Maybe I will swap smith squat with leg press. We don’t have hack squat in my gym.

I will try that!