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“Controversial” chest/triceps workout and discussion; New photo.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I came up with a somewhat “controversial” chest/triceps workout for the final four weeks of my bulk. Why did I label it “controversial”? Mainly because I’ve included some decline bench press work and some smith machine bench press work. Some people are not big fans of these exercises. I’ll explain my reasoning in a moment, but first here is the workout:

– 3 x 10-12 Flat smith machine bench press
– 3 x failure/failure/failure Decline DB bench press (triple drop sets)
– 3 x failure/failure/failure/failure Cable crossover (quad drop sets)

– 3 x 10-12 Lying ez-bar “touch and go” triceps extensions
– 3 x failure/failure/failure Tricep rope pressdowns (triple drop sets)
– 3 x failure/failure/failure/failure decline skull crushers (quad drop sets)

I think this workout is going to require some explanation, so I’ll start with an overview of the workout and then address some of the exercise choices individually…

As you may have already gathered from looking at my bulking workouts, when it comes to intensity techniques I’m a big fan of short rest intervals, supersets and drop sets. I think giant sets have their place – and I did do some giant sets on this bulk – but I find that supersets and drop sets are better mass builders. I say that based on my own individual response, so my opinion is far from scientific. You may find quite the opposite, so I encourage each of you to experiment with different intensity techniques to see what works best for you.

So, as you can see, I’ve decided that for chest and triceps I’m going to focus on utilizing drop sets for the final four weeks of my bulk. The basic workout structure is mirrored for both chest and triceps muscle groups: I start with a good solid mass-building exercise in the 10-12 rep range, follow that with three super-intense triple drop sets and then finish off with another three drop sets, only these are quad drop sets. Do I smell burnt toast?

OK, now I’d like to talk about some of my exercise choices…

First, let’s address my decision to use the smith machine for flat bench press. While smith machine work will never form the foundation of my training (I’m a big believer in free weights), I do believe that it has its place. I’ve not done any smith machine work at all on this bulk, and I do like to utilize the smith occasionally for a change. I made some good gains on my 2006 bulk using the smith alongside my core free weight work, and I expect that a month from now my chest measurement will reinforce my point that the smith can be an extremely effective mass-building tool.

The next exercise I selected was decline DB press. Again, here we have an exercise that is less than popular, but I don’t really care. While flat and incline press are my “base” pressing moves, I feel that tossing in some decline work for a change is a good thing to do. As I mentioned in my journal a few weeks ago, I remain unconvinced that the decline press specifically targets the lower chest; however, I do feel that it can be an effective overall pec builder.

The last exercise that requires some discussion is the lying ez-bar “touch and go” triceps extensions. I’ve done these in the past, and they are fantastic! You perform this exercise by lying flat on the floor with the ez-curl bar behind your head (NOTE: use multiple small plates of 25 pounds or less to increase the ROM); reach back, grab the bar and bring the bar up over your head (I stop just short of lock-out to keep tension on the triceps); give the triceps a good hard squeeze and then slowly lower the bar until it is resting on the floor. The idea is to have to “break” the bar off the floor on each rep. With this exercise there can be no momentum, no body english and no cheating; because of this, you will probably find that you have to use less weight than you might use for standing ez-bar french curls.

I posted one new picture in my journal last night, a tricep shot with my arm measuring 18.25″.

The obvious thrust of this morning’s discussion is a point I’ve made over and over again (but it needs repeating): learning from others is important, but it’s up to you to experiment and see what works best for you.

I’m off from training today, and the rest will be very welcome. My leg workout on Monday destroyed my legs and glutes, and I’m quite literally having trouble walking.

Please join me in welcoming Aram “Mastover” Hamparian aboard as an Official JSF Sponsor! I’ve placed the Official “Personal Training with Aram Hamparian” Review and Discussion thread in the Fat Loss forum. Feel free to drop in and ask any questions you have, or just say hello.

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