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Strict form is the rule, but is there any place for cheating?; Supersets.

Thursday, July 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

July
22
2010

As most of you who’ve been reading my blog for any length of time already know, I’m a stickler for form and also for forming a “mind-muscle” connection. There are times when I’ll break form to grind out an extra rep or two at the end of a set, but only on certain exercises. For example, I’ll often put a little body movement into the very end of a set of curls in order to get an extra rep or two in that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to perform. On exercises like curls or tricep pressdowns (just to name two) a little “cheating” at the very end of a set can be done safely and provide some benefit. I would never break form on exercise like squats, good mornings, deadlifts and so on: the chance for injury is just too great on those kinds of exercises.

I’ve always been a fan of antagonistic supersets, but something I’ve been doing a lot of lately are supersets targeting the same muscle group. Generally this would involve a compound exercise such as bench press followed immediately by an isolation exercise such as dumbbell flyes. Even though I use very strict form and have become quite good at targeting my pecs when doing the bench press (again, it’s all about the mind-muscle connection!), the delts and triceps are also heavily recruited when doing a standard barbell bench press. I’ve found that when I’m unable to perform another rep on the bench press, it’s actually not my pecs that have failed! An easy way to put that statement to the test is to perform a set of bench presses to failure then, in superset fashion, quickly grab a pair of dumbbells and do a set of flyes, which isolate the pecs. You may be surprised at how much weight and how many reps you can handle on the flyes! I’m able to do a set of 10-12 flyes immediately after the bench press using pretty substantial weight. When I am unable to do another rep, I know my pecs have reached muscular failure. I like to do three supersets in this fashion, and I definitely feel it in my chest the next day. Another favorite combination of mine are close-grip bench presses followed by standing overhead dumbbell extensions. There are lots of other combinations you can try out, so get creative and use your imagination.

Today’s a cardio day, and I think I’m going to go on a Geocache this morning. This one won’t take me off-road, but it’s pretty far so I’ll put a lot of miles in on the road. I’ll be pushing the pace pretty hard.

Thanks for stopping by – train hard!

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