T Nation

TC on Jerry Telle's Fly-Aways

Was reading spill from November : http://www.T-Nation.com/strength-training-topics/1545 but can’t comment on it so thought to make a thread.

[quote]Say you’re lying face-up on a bench holding a couple of dumbbells. If you simply press them straight up, you put your pecs under a certain amount of tension. But if you use the same dumbbells and do a slightly wider flying motion, you expose them to greater tension. An even wider fly exposes them to the greatest amount of tension.

Makes perfect sense, right? That’s why the fly is thought of as the purest pec movement.

Given that observation, Telle said, “Why then not start a set with heavy flyes and as the athlete fatigues, gradually move the dumbbells closer to the body? That way, you get maximum tension on every set.”

Thus were born Jerry Telle’s “Dumbbell Fly-Aways,” a movement I often do to this day[/quote]

I was wondering if anyone tried this out? I had similar thoughts years ago but didn’t actually think to write it down. Although I didn’t think to do it in 3 separate sets but rather, gradually flexing the elbow joint as you got tired to “cheat” the weight up with the shorter lever in the fashion of doing a drop set continuously without rest.

Besides chest flies, I am wondering if anyone trains their upper back this way.

For example: you can start with locked-elbows for bent-over lateral raises (elbows-up) and gradually bent your elbow as your traps or rear delts (or possibly triceps) get too tired to continue, until you are doing rear delt rows.

Except doing both at once and not using a bench to stabilize.

I imagine there is a way you could do this with the traditional elbows-in rowing that is done to target the lats.

So basically if you did that, you could do it with a locked elbow (top position would be similar to a triceps kickback) and then as you got too tired, let the elbow bend more and more.

This would allow more volume for the shoulder/back muscles to be done with less fatigue on your biceps/grip, which is good if they’re limiting factors or people want to avoid them. Not to mention a good alternative for people who don’t have access to heavy weights.

I can’t find an animation for what I’m describing in this last case, it’s straight-arm shoulder extension similar to what people do on lat pulldowns, but with a smaller range of motion that has ascending resistance as you extend it (like a kickback, or a row).

This has similarities to how people say “row to the hip” and might be actively extending the elbow via triceps so that the hand is not under the elbow but perhaps slightly behind it.

I’m not sure what the technical term for that would be.

The major diff between using reverse fly-aways as opposed to pec fly-aways would be that the more you straighten the arms, the more triceps work in a shortened position (like top of kickback), whereas with flies, the more they’re straightened, the more the biceps work in a stretched position (like bottom of preacher curl).

To me that makes them seem a lot safer (no risk of elbow hyperextension damaging ligaments) and a lot easier to transition (to make easier, triceps only work eccentrically, as opposed to biceps having to work concentrically to bend elbow).

In terms of the wrist, it would also be a good balance. Assuming a neutral/hammer grip, chest flies work the wrist abductors (radial deviators, towards thumb) and rear delt raises work the wrist adductors (ulnar deviators, towards pinky)

Very similar concept to the “Mechanical Drop Set” idea CT and others have talked about. ie - Extending the set NOT through dropping weight, but by increasing your mechanical advantage.

Other examples:

Biceps - Steep Preacher Curl, Angled Preacher Curl, EZ Bar Curl ( All done with the same bar/weight)

Chest - High Incline DB Press, Med Incline DB Press, Flat DB Press (Again, all with same DB’s)

Shoulders - Seated Lateral Raise with a dead stop, Standing Lateral Raise, Seated Front raise with a dead stop, standing front raise

Its a really cool concept similar to the traditional drop set, but it lets you hit several different angles and fibers instead of just dropping the weight for a single exercise

I found an old article by Telle that was mentioned in the spill:

“Tellekinetics: A New Way to Train Shoulders”:

Though this seems like a different theory of his from the fly-aways approach.

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:
Very similar concept to the “Mechanical Drop Set” idea CT and others have talked about.[/quote]

Yeah you’re right, this was mentioned in the spill a couple times:

[quote]afonsollima: This type of exercise has been shown in an article some time ago under the name of “mechanical dropsets”. They work and hurt like hell.

iron addict: @TC, this method is what thib called mechanical dropset. as you weaken you switch grip or slight change the execution to perform additional rep.[/quote]

Here’s link for CT’s art for others:

“Introduction to Mechanical Drop-Sets”:

I think some of the examples you’re giving might be a bit different though since other factors that could change muscles being used come into play. This was mentioned in this exchange:

[quote]Shimmy: Guess the same concept goes for shoulders? Start with pinkies up lateral raises, then move on to normal lateral raises and finish with thumbs up lateral raises. Actually tried it the other day…my shoulders were in p-a-i-n…in a good way :slight_smile:

xilinx: Shimmy, that’s something else, since you’re moving the stress to another muscle - the anterior delt. Maybe this: start with 175 degrees arms (long lever), move to 135, and finish with fully bent arms. all with pinky up[/quote]

To be honest I’m not sure what a biceps version would be, short of doing curls with straight wrists and then bending them, but it’s not as huge a difference as with changing elbow bend for shoulder moves.

The thing about changing the incline of the bench during presses is I think that’s more about calling other muscles into play (like being able to use lower pecs during flat/decline bench but not during overhead/incline.

Changing seated>standing for shoulder moves is more about allowing cheating with the legs to make it easier right? Seems different than changing lever mechanics.

Though there are enough similarities that they could all be called mechanical drop sets even though they involve changing different mechanics (or calling into play different muscles).

If we could use front raises as an example (let’s say with a barbell), I think the equivalent to these fly-aways would be if you had a supine/underhand grip on the bar, and did them at first with straight elbows (though this might be danerous, so could be almost-straight) and gradually when you couldn’t raise it anymore, the elbows are bent and the arms (upper) keep getting raised.

I guess the peak of that would be with the elbows totally bent (like top of reverse curl) and raising until it was racked (like during a clean, but without using posterior chain drive) although I doubt going to that extreme would be normal.

Pullovers would have this too, and gradually shifting a straight-arm pullover to a bent-arm pull-over has the same similarities for triceps (assuming elbows are pointing up instead of sideways) to the stiff-arm row thingy I brought up as version of standard bent-over DB rows compared to the rear delt fly>row transition.

BTW - Tried this at the gym and it works great as a iso-circuit in the HPMass routine Im doing, will definitely keep in the mix for future sessions

I actually very much like this idea, seems like it would be great after doing a few heavy lifts for a muscle

How has Jerry Telle trained? WHO has he trained?