Eat My Meat, The Sequel

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Last week, we posted the original Eat My Meat article.
Despite its sophisticated title, the article contained an enormous
amount of useful information.

Hence, Eat My Meat, The Sequel: A list of useful tips
that benefit the powerlifter and bodybuilder alike. No references,
no filler, just great info.

Here are some more hunks of meat:

1. This isn't a tip but a question and an observation. Why
do so many people stand on the bench press to do bent-over rows?
It's not like they need the extra clearance because when you
watch them, their range of motion is about 6 inches and the plates
wouldn't hit the floor anyhow if they were standing on the
ground. I see this all the time and have never been able to figure
it out.

2. If you have a tendency to let your hands fall back (wrist not
straight and bar lies behind the midpoint of forearm) when bench
pressing, try casting your wrist wraps. To do this, wrap as high on your hand as you can
with only one wrap line down the wrist. Read this:
Note: This is a quick fix, and you should work on correcting this
technical problem.

3. Rep Test — 225: I get asked several times a year how to
increase one's 225 lb bench press rep test. This has got to be
the dumbest test of all time, but I've found a few things to
be very effective in performing and training for this test. The
first and most simple one is to get stronger. You would think this
would be well-known, but just about every time I look at the
programming leading into this test, there's never any max
effort work (ME). So make sure you're doing ME work. Some of
the most effective ME movements are one-board presses, floor
presses, and close grip inclines. If this "rep test" is
your goal, change this movement every week. The reason is simple.
If you're asking this question in the first place, then you
probably don't have much time before you're tested. This
forces you to hit these movements more frequently because you
don't have the time to figure out which one works best.

Westside Babes

4. Rep test — 225: Pull out on the bar or pull in? Check and
see where you fail and how you fail. If it seems to be the pecs
(fails at the bottom) or triceps (the top), then change the focus.
If you're a pec guy, just press until you feel
"burning." At this point, begin pulling the bar
apart. This will give you a few extra reps. If it's your
triceps, then pull in.

5. Rep test — 225: Many times this is a time game. You may
find you always fail around the same time (say 45 seconds). You can
change this with training, but as you know, this one will take
time. Usually when I'm asked this question, time is very
limited. The trick then becomes how to get more reps in the same
timeframe. You can either shorten the stroke (classic
Westside — tuck belly up and so on) or work with over speed
work. Use the reverse
band press
to help move the bar faster. By doing this,
you'll learn to press faster.

6. Rep test — 225: Speed work with bands — the same concept as above but work more on a
faster eccentric phase.

7. Rep test — 225: If you can gain weight and maintain
speed, gain weight.

8. Rep test — 225: Make sure your wrists stay straight and
locked. If the bar falls too much behind your wrists, your
triceps will fail way too fast. This is a huge mistake that I see
with ALL guys who do this. When this happens, the triceps will fail
faster because of where the center of gravity of the weight
falls.

9. Rep test — 225: Don't bounce the weights! I
shouldn't have to write this, but I've seen far too many
people do this test and I've seen the same mistake over and
over again. Aside from the injury potential from bouncing weights,
the bar gets tossed all over the place. The best path is the same
path for each rep. More fluid motion equals greater
output.

10. Rep test — 225: To expand on number 9, you can test how
well you're doing. Wear a black shirt and chalk the bar all
over the center knurling. Do a few reps and check to see if you
have one or three chalk lines. If you're interested in doing
more bench reps or increasing you max bench, then there had better
be only one line. If there's more than one line, your
technique is off and you're expending too much
energy.

11. Rep test — 225: I've seen very few who can train
and perform the test in a high arched position. The tension is too
long and the reps are too high to maintain this position without
cramping in the lower back and/or hamstrings.

12. Rep test — 225: Count the reps down, not up. Instead of
counting 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, start at what you would like to do and
count back: 43, 42, 41, and so on. Better yet — count in groups
of ten: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then 10, 9, 8, 7, and so
on. It's even better if you can get someone to count for you.
This is a mind game just as much as it is a physical
game.

13. Rep test — 225: Stick-UM on the bottom of your shoes
will help big time. Or make sure that there's no way your feet
will slip when you use leg drive.

14. Rep test — 225: Use your leg drive like gears. Start
with enough drive to stay stable. Then increase the tension and
drive with about five reps before you would normally die out. This
should happen a few reps before you begin pulling in or out on the
bar.

15. Rep test — 225: If your technique is great, do all your
endurance bench work with a fat bar. This will make the regular bar feel like a twig when
you go back to it. There are also physical reasons for this, but
the metal ones far out weigh them.

16. Rep test — 225: Never hold the bar at the top for more
than 1 — 2 seconds except after a series of ten or more
reps.

17. Rep test — 225: Learn to only press with the required
amount of force per rep. You wouldn't sprint for a mile, would
you? The same holds true with the rep test. Don't expend more
energy then needed. You'll need it later.

18. Rep test — 225: Try to keep yourself down, not crunched
up with your chin in your chest. This test requires oxygen to get
the maximal number of reps. This practice has helped and may help
with a one-rep max, but we're talking about 20-plus reps here,
not one.

19. Rep test — 225: Unlike with a one-rep max or all other
bench strength work, don't use a super tight grip on the bar.
Grasp the bar with enough force to control it and keep it there
until the last few reps. Then squeeze the crap out of the
bar.

20. Rep test — 225: When you discover where you fail, add in
some extra work for that specific area at a 20 percent higher time
range than your bench fail time. For example, if your bench fail
time is 42 seconds and your triceps are what fail on you, add in
one set per session of three-board presses at 50 seconds. If you
can't do all the reps for this time, do what you can and
statically hold the weight at midpoint for the rest of the
time.

21. Rep test — 225: Focus your eyes on one main point on the
ceiling and don't deviate from it. Why? Next time you're
in the gym with beginner or intermediate lifters, watch what they
do when the reps get hard. They always look to one arm or the
other. Then one arm begins to give out. This may be before they
looked at it or after. It doesn't matter. What matters is that
they acknowledged it and let it defeat them. Remember this is a
MENTAL game and every rep counts.

22. Rep test — 225: As the last line of number 21 stated,
make every rep count. It's your own fault and a waste of your
effort to do a rep that isn't legal and doesn't count. Do
them ALL correctly.

23. If you are weak chested in the bench press, check your wrist
to elbow position ( They should be in line). If the wrist is toward
the feet more than the elbow, then this is taxing the shoulders too
much in the bottom position. If the wrist is closer to the head
than the elbow, then the weight is focused more on the triceps. If
you use a bench shirt this all changes depending on the shirt and
length of the upper arm.

24. A fat bar can take a lot of strain off the elbows and
shoulders with pressing and extension
movements.

25. If you can't do a chin, the best thing I've seen is
reverse band chins. Loop the band around a chin bar, step into it
and let the band help you up. General guidelines for band
selection: The light and average bands seem to work best for
this.

26. I'm a big of morning cardio, but not for the reasons
you may think. I like it because you're half asleep until 1/2
way in so it only sucks half as bad.

27. If you're rowing to build the bench press, think of
pulling with your hands. If you're trying to build a Yoked
back, then think of pulling with your elbows.

28. Walking dips are one of the best triceps movements I've
used. To do them, set the safety pins up in the power rack at the
crease of your hip (or where ever your 1/4 dip position is). Then
place two barbells on the pins. Get into the rack sideways and
between the bars and get into a dip position. Start at one end of
the rack and after each rep (when your feet hit the floor), move
one fist-width (two inches) forward. Go the distance of the rack.
If you need to, add a weight vest or dip belt.

29. Choke up on the dumbbell row so you thumb is hitting the
plates.

30. Belt Squats are a great way to deload the squat and still
keep progressing. Taking the weight off the spine has a great
effect on recovery.

31. If you need to add volume to your training, then use what I
like to call bridging. If you feel you need extra triceps work to
build your bench press, then think on a scale of 1-10. A close grip
bench press or heavy close grip board presses would be a 10. These
are harder to recover from and take a lot out of you. Push downs
using bands are a 1. These are easy to do and you'll
rarely get taxed or have a hard time recovering from them.
When adding volume with movements (it's always best to add
sets of what you're already doing first), it's best to
start with movements that are easy to recover from and work up from
there. This will help avoid over-training and over use
injuries.

32. When you do pushdowns, push the bar slightly away from you
as you push down.

33. For the most part, the advanced lifter needs less volume and
the beginner needs more. A beginner needs lot of repetition to
develop training coordination and technique.

34. Here's an easy way to know if you're a beginner or
not. I know of no advanced lifter who can bench more on a machine
than they can flat bench (for a single). By the way, saying
"One RM" is a great indicator that you're a
beginner. No advanced lifter would ever say this, but every
beginner does.

35. Weak points come from not doing the things you suck at
doing. The difference between a successful athlete and a crappy one
is they always do the things they have to do, not what they want to
do.

Dave Tate
EliteFTS.com