Friday, February 20, 2015

Bench Press with Controlled Explosive Velocity


I filmed some of yesterday's training session to demonstrate a little of the "Controlled Explosive Velocity" I've been talking about recently.

This applies in particular to the Barbell Bench Press, but it's much the same if you're using dumbbells or even machine press. Tempo is important, and you really want to make both the eccentric and the concentric movements count if you want to make this exercise as effective as possible.

Now, I managed to screw up somehow and the first caption in the video should say "Warm Up Set: 60kg".

You really want to make that warm up set count. Don't just take a light weight and blast out a bunch of reps at light speed with no control or resistance.

Perform the warm up set the way you would like to perform your work sets. Obviously, as you go heavier and as you become fatigued... the bar won't go back up in the air so quickly, and it might come down a little faster too... still, your intention should be to control the rate of decent by maintaining muscle activation, and then explode back up again with the most powerful muscle contraction you are able to produce.

Therefore what I suggest is to think of "explosive velocity", and for that matter think of a "controlled explosion" if you could imagine such a thing. For the PUSH we should be aiming to move that weight up in the air with as much (controlled) explosive velocity as possible. Now for working sets the weight should be sufficient that it doesn't just fly up in the air, but that's what we should have in mind to force the most powerful muscle contraction we can produce. We don't want to lock out at the top of the movement... stop perhaps a half inch short, then very, VERY slowly lower the weight back towards your chest. Slowly as if you're a little scared of letting it get too close, and them BOOM explode up again.

Do not neglect the negative portion by just letting the bar crash back towards you with no resistance. You should be applying an amount of resistance that is only just short of what would be required to hold that thing up in the air.

 Try this first for a warm up set of up to 16 reps. Then 4 work sets of 10 - 12 reps. You'll find it particularly demanding and notice a real difference in the hard, powerful muscle contraction you produce in those pectoralis muscles you are targeting.