I started tracking no-belt, paused and paused + no belt squat PRs, so my PR record table had gotten a little longer and has a lot more empty boxes.
PR's This Past Week
Beltless Paused Low Bar Squat: 460 lb x 1 (1RM)
I wanted to see if I could do a paused squat with 460 lb, and I did!
Paused Low Bar Squat: 500 lb x 1 (1RM)
I did this right after the 460 lb paused squat. I think I'll do this again and hold the squat a little longer, for an eye blink or two.
Paused Front Squat: 370 lb x 1 (1RM)
Decided to continue on with the paused PRs
Missed on the first try because I wasn't committed to giving it the real ultimate power coming out of the hole.
Got it the second try though 🙂
Barbell Row: 230 lb x 8 (Hook Grip)
Tried out some hook grip barbell rows on Tuesday, mainly to punish my thumbs, and get a thicker and lumpier back.
I set the bar on top of a bunch of mats so I didn't have to bend over so much before rowing.
I'd rather save my bending over strength for squatting and deadlifting.
I may try out some other barbell row variations, like the Pendlay row, before deciding on what to stick with.
Training Schedule Change
I'm going to change my training schedule so that everything is pushed back one day. Meaning my "volume" days are now Sundays instead of Mondays, "recovery" days are Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays, and "intensity" days are on Thursdays instead of Friday.
Today is Sunday, so I should start getting warmed up!
The awesome thing was, it was my first time submitting an article to T-Nation!
The original article I submitted tipped the scales at a little over 4000 words. The one that's on T-Nation's website is roughly 2100 words. So I guess I need to figure out what to do with the rest of the stuff I wrote that wasn't published!
There has been some mention of the reverse grip in previous articles on T-nation, mainly talking about how the RGBP is a shoulder-friendly variation of the bench press:
"Reverse-grip bench press — Basically the same as the standard bench press set-up, but turn your hands so that the palms are facing towards your head instead of your feet. This will externally rotate the whole arm, which puts the shoulders in a much more favorable position for the lift, decreasing injury potential without compromising range of motion"
However, there is no step-by-step, "how to" tutorial on how to execute the lift on T-Nation (or anywhere else online that I could find, at least with pictures and how to do the RGBP without spotters).
You're welcome, internet 😉
Header Picture: The image they chose for the article was interesting. I was kinda-sorta expecting someone more oiled up and shirtless. Maybe I'll submit a pic of myself shirtless, pumped and oiled up next time I submit an article to T-Nation haha
Also, I noticed the bar looks like a fat bar. The safety pins seem a little high, and I don't see the J-hooks. But it could be the angle of the camera.
TL;DR Bullet Points: Another thing I want to address is this:
I did not write the 3 bullet points under the heading, "Here's what you need to know".
In fact, when I submitted the article I don't recall T-Nation using the 3 bullet points before the article just yet. I would have chosen a different wording than "heal your joints", but I think most people got the idea that the RGBP was a shoulder friendly variation of the bench press rather than an exercise that will miraculously heal your joints.
The reception to this article has been pretty good! The article has gotten >280 Facebook likes, and people have made positive comments in the "LiveSpill". It seemed like there were some people who came out of the closet about benching using a reverse grip because of some shoulder problems as well.
However, there were some who immediately dismissed the movement, pre-judging the exercise and giving their "opinions" without even thoroughly examining it (that is, actually spending some time performing the RGBP for a few training session. To be honest, I don't think they even read the article in it's entirety!).
But that was to be expected: we are on the internet we are humans after all.
Even though the reverse grip is not a new exercise, it's a rarely executed variation of the bench press (at least that I know of). It's also perpetuated by misinformation and preconceptions. The RGBP is different than what most people are accustomed to seeing, and it is a relatively "unknown" exercise. Even those who know of the RGBP probably have not been under the bar performing this exercise, let alone pressing anything near their bench press 1RM.
The fear of the unknown, prejudice of something that is different and it's accompanying reactions is probably not going to go away anytime soon, no matter what the subject matter is.
I think as more and more people start trying out the RGBP and start making progress without pain (and not going to "snap city" or not killing themselves as some would think), and seeing or reading how other people are using the RGBP, it's going to become a more common exercise as time goes by.
It might even come to a point where the reverse grip is the preferred way to bench press and people will be saying that the regular bench press is an injury prone exercise that will lead to snap city!
Ed Coan Answers My Question
I'm not the type of person who asks a ton of questions because I like the satisfaction of figuring things out by myself, but when I am stumped I like to ask those who have a lot more experience points than I do.
I had a problem I couldn't figure out, so I asked non other than Ed Coan.
It looked as though Ed Coan already knew the answer as he was nodding his head.
So, basically I'm "not keeping back tight enough", and "locking shoulder blades enough".
With my new bench press setup (placing feet on the bench first, lift my hips up and put pressure into the bench with my traps, then put my feet to the ground - you can see this in the bench press video later on in this blog post) makes it easier to get my tight and lock my shoulder blades before unracking the bar.
Some people have said to use dumbbells instead, but 150 lb + dumbbells are kinda hard to come by from what I've experienced, getting it safely in position is a bit of a pain in the ass, and increasing the load from workout to workout by a small amount requires something like PlateMates (magnetic microplates that attaches to dumbbells). Not sure if PlateMates would work on those rubber coated dumbbells though.
Also, failing with dumbbells can result in one of the dumbbells smashing into your face (this has happened to me before).
PRs During The Last 2 Weeks
I hit a few PRs in the last couple of weeks:
Front Squat: 400 lb x 1 (1RM)
No knee wraps front squat PR done on 2 Wednesdays ago.
Low Bar Squat: 500 lb x 2 (2RM)
I've attempted 2 reps with 500 a few times in the past, and normally I would miss the second rep. Pretty happy with this.
I think I rushed the descent during the 2nd rep, because I remember losing tension and I didn't feel as tight as I dropped down, which made the rep a little more difficult and ugly. Still recovered and popped it up though. I'm thinking on a solid day, I could probably get 3 reps at 500 lb.