So, to further talk about the quest for a bigger, better bench press I've now gone from the Smolov routine - which really worked for me for a short period of time - to a Sheiko routine from Pavel Tsatouline's book Beyond Bodybuilding. I've finished the first week of the routine which is broken down into four preparatory weeks and six competition weeks. Though I have no "meets" planned, and don't plan to compete anymore as this is just for personal gain, I'm going to follow the routine with the only addition being some barbell rows or pulls ups to balance out the pressing.
Tonight was the latter part of the week's workout with just some easy presses behind the neck for 5x5. I did them seated from pins in my power rack at about ear level, so I don't over stretch the shoulders. I also did ring pushups for six sets of 4 slow reps holding at the bottom to build the bottom position of the bench press. The routine called for weighted dips, but since me and dips don't get along they're just not on the training menu anymore.
Yesterday I bench pressed 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3 and 80%x2 for five sets. I did a little back work afterwards.
Monday will be the following:
Bench press as follows: 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x2 sets of 3 reps, 80%x2 sets of 2 reps, 90%x three singles. Then I'll do the rows, then back to bench for once again 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3 and finally 80%x2 for five sets.
Tuesday will be some more pressing and dips (but I'll sub out the dips with pushups for 5x5 each with a light weight.) Wednesday, Friday and Saturday will be bench press again. I'll add in some bent over rows of course. The way the program is structured it seems like every other week on Tuesdays and Saturdays there's some alternating of the bench press with more upper body pressing like military presses or incline bench pressing, which I suppose you could do with dumb bells for variety sake and dips or pushups.
The one thing I'm noticing with this volume is that though there are a lot of "lifts" per session, particularly on Wednesday's session which is called The Bench Marathon Day where you're in excess of 16 to 18 sets in some workouts and little else, the weights are manageable and I noticed no real soreness the following day after a workout, particularly when I train multiple days in a row.
I was a little skeptical of course on the outset of this style of training given its the anti-thesis to everything I've ever done in my training volume wise. But, for some reason, after researching and researching training articles and methods of training, and having tried it now for a couple of months I can say its working. Long term I just don't know what the answer will be because I'm not there yet, but suffice to say this little experiment I'm trying on myself is working well enough.
I've read a lot of information and the two things I take away from this style of training are these two points: As we age and our testosterone levels drop off the thing to do is increase our strength training as strength training for older guys is a natural anabolic. So suffice to say a little bit of training over a long period of time goes further than once a week of hard training and blowing out the muscle(s) so that you HAVE to recover for a week or else you're over trained. With this style, I never feel over trained or tired. In fact, on training days I'm feeling fired up and ready to go! Weird, but I suppose that's why Sheiko is so successful with his lifters!
The second point I took away from the readings I've done is to maintain your training poundages at the 80 percentile for a good portion of the particular workout you're doing and throughout the training cycle - however long that is. Don't be afraid to hit 90% once in awhile. The routines are written as such with controlled volume. Now, I don't think any of these routines are magical and that I'll become Superman from them. But, I do believe, based on what my experience has been with them so far, that there is something to this "science" and thus, I'll continue on this path until its quits working.
Now, if I could only squat and deadlift I'd like to see how this routine would play out. I've read the routines that include all three lifts and they're daunting! But, not impossible to do. With two lifts a day, say the bench and squat or deadlift, the volume is very controlled so as to allow one to bench press at EVERY workout and be able to squat twice and deadlift twice a week! Some of those routines have the trainee benching five days a week! Crazy! But, it seems to work.
Anyhow, I've bored you all enough with this.....
Happy New Year! Lets make 2019 "the year" to break your plateaus and set new personal records!
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Moderator: peter yates
Thanks for the update John and not at all boring. It is interesting to read personal training experience and results obtained. For me, while it is important to do research first before embarking on a venture, be it training or anything else, what is written is less important than personal experience. Yes there are those who would claim it is too much volume or too frequent training yet have never experienced it themselves. This whole training thing is constant experiments to find what works for us, our particular needs and goals and is always subject to change. You have already altered it a little, as in pushup for dips, to suits your needs and as you go on may do so with other aspects. Main thing is you are making progress and it seems enjoying it, which for us non competing guys is the most important. As i mentioned before i have found also contrary to most teachings is that i have to work my whole body at least 3x a week now i am older though at different intensities. This way i have more flexibility and little soreness from training, use it or lose it. Anyway keep us updated John and good luck with your program.