T Nation

Upper Body Ideas and Postural Work


I've been training for few year trying to get stronger and more explosive for rugby (semi-pro) most of my training is focused on Squats, Deadlifts, Oly lifts (cleans, clean and jerk and unilateral snatches) and sprint training (sledge and hill) with the appropriate (what I think) secondary exercises for each lift.

I'm pretty happy with my leg work (220kg x 3 squat, 210kg x 3 dead etc etc at 87 kg) and my Oly lifts (120, 100 and 44 KG respectifully), if those are considered good round here. What i'm really looking for help on here is my upper body push and pull (I'm only benching 100kg for 1!) preferably explosive work (whilst i'm not really interested in the hypertrophy from working the type 2b's I do want the CNS gains).

So if anyone could give me a few suggestions for this that'd be great.



The fast twitch fibers that give you the most explosive movement are the same that give you the most hypertrophy. And in the real world, hypertrophy just means more work capacity (you always want more of that). Explosive strength is related to how many of those fast twitch fibers you can get firing in the same direction at the same time (that's your CNS gains). You probably already knew all of that, but I felt the need to clear it up.

The absolute best lift I have ever seen for building an explosive bench press is the reverse band press. If it's set up correctly, it forces you to accelerate as hard as possible or you'll never lock it out. It's a ton of weight at the top, and the bands take off a lot as the bar descends, leaving you with lightish weight at the bottom. BUT, if you don't put everything you have into accelerating the bar, you won't have enough momentum to finish the rep because the weight will outrun you.


Cheers Jay, Yeah i'm cool with the whole motor unit recruitment and hypertrophy thing but thanks for clearing it up.

I'll give that a try when I get back to my proper gym (i'm doing some work in a commercial "gym" at the moment and it blows but can't say no to the money) where there are some bands. Might give it a go with DB presses as well, see how that works, band around the middle the DB maybe? i'm not sure if it'll work but i'll give it a try.

On the BB press I'm thinking they'll be a decent weight on the eccentric phase as well? I'm a bit weary of eccentric loading coming up to the rugby season because it's a bitch when I have 4 rugby trainings a week on top of all my own and client gym sessions and I'm getting heaps of DOMS from eccentric work. If you got any tips to avoid that it'd be great as well.

I'm pretty much here to learn as much as I can. It's how i'm going to become a better lifter and a better coach.


Probably better off using the reverse band work in the offseason. That's a very intense lift that requires a lot of recovery time. Speed bench would be better in the mean time. Load up about 50% of 1RM and move it as fast as possible. On the eccentric, the bar should pretty much be falling on it's own, with a snap reversal at the bottom. 3x8 with about 60sec of rest in between, and rotating between wide, normal, and narrow grip.