Suppose you wish to excel in a specific exercise or increase your strength, like in the bench press. First, begin by changing your thinking that the bench press always must be first in your workout. To increase your bench press, follow this simple 10-week routine.
Routine to Follow
1 – 4
|Start with incline bench presses followed by bench presses. Finish your chest routine with an isolated movement like dumbbell flyes.
|Do bench presses first to monitor your progress, then inclines and flyes.
6 and 7
|Begin with flyes to isolate your chest, then inclines, and finally bench press. Since you will pre-exhaust your chest by starting with an isolation exercise like flyes and ending with a compound exercise like bench press don’t be surprised if your bench press suffers dramatically. This will probably bruise your ego. But don’t worry you are working up to the best that is yet to come.
8 and 9
|Follow the same routine as weeks 1 – 4.
|Follow the same routine as weeks 6 and 7.
In your next chest workout begin with bench press first. You should experience a dramatic increase in strength.
Why is this so? There are mainly two reasons. One, by doing incline bench presses first you are able to strengthen your upper chest muscles that had been previously ignored because flat bench presses had always been first in your workout, which primarily works the whole belly of the muscle, not any specific location, like incline bench presses or flyes.
And two, beginning with an isolation exercise like flyes followed by a “specific” compound movement (incline bench press) and/or a “general” compound movement (bench press) forces the whole belly of the muscle to work harder since it had been pre-exhausted previously by an isolation exercise.
The same is true for increasing strength in an exercise like squats. Do leg presses, then squats and extensions for the first month. Week five do squats, leg presses, extensions. Weeks 6 and 7 begin with extensions, then leg presses and squats. Weeks 8 and 9 do the same as in the first month. Week 10 do the same as in weeks 6 and 7.
How about deadlifts? Begin with back extensions, then deadlifts, and finally leg curls for the first month. Week five, do deadlifts, extensions, and finally leg curls. Weeks 6 and 7 begin with leg curls, extensions, and deadlifts. Weeks 8 and 9 do the same as in the first month. Week 10 do the same as in weeks 6 and 7.
The sum point is to begin with another exercise (specific compound, isolation) first other than the one exercise (usually a compound movement) you wish to excel or improve in. And to finish with the one exercise you wish to excel or improve in last. The reason being is that you are forcing the muscle to work that much harder than ever before.
Single RM’s For Increasing Strength
A single rep max (RM) is out of the question for increasing strength. A single RM condition’s the CNS and allows you to get better and better at the lift without any noticeable increase in strength and/or hypertrophy. Single RM’s can lead to overtraining. It is okay to do once a month to satisfy the ego but do not do it continuously. All you’re doing is placing undo stress and strain on your joints, tendons, ligaments and conditioning your CNS.
It is only in due time your joints and connective tissue will give out and you’ll end up with a serious injury that will put a halt to your high-intensity training that may take weeks or up to months to heal. Doing single RM’s weeks on end on bench press can lead to overtraining in this particular exercise. The chest cannot recover from the excessive abuse it receives from doing single RM’s. Performing single RM’s can cause you to plateau for weeks to a couple of months.
Beating the pecs with bench presses so much can have an adverse effect from that exercise. A lack of upper pec strength to get beyond a “sticking point” can be the problem. Begin with incline bench presses first on a 6, 8, 10 rep system and then bench press. If you are accustomed to working out with few reps on bench press try starting with the very least minimum of 4 reps for your first set and follow with 6 and 8. Do not go below 4 reps on any given set as this may cause serious injury. You should notice strength gains on a weekly basis and muscle gains of at least two pounds on a monthly basis.
Monitor your strength increases by “warm-down” sets, i.e., your last couple of sets – 8, 10. Make sure to get enough quality nutrition in the right amounts at the right times to boost your recuperation cycle. And rest!