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Max effort bench. Partials, bands and boards.

We have some new toys at the gym for we have taken delivery of  some very big, very strong elastic bands. These are not the regular elastic bands that you may find wrapped around a bunch of letters (unless you were being mailed entire trees bundled together like chopsticks), but massive, thick, gnarly, intimidating elastic bands. Elastic bands on steroids.

There are many insane and ridiculous things you can do to yourself with these elastic bands, some of which are rumoured to be illegal in most of the civilized world, I’m still getting to grips with the subtleties myself. One thing for certain they will be cropping up in a lot of my workouts from now on.

Today was a max effort bench press day, which meant I had to select a chest exercise and work up in weight until I can’t do another rep. I did board press as my max effort exercise. There are a few ways you can do this, you can have someone hold a board of various thicknesses on your chest as you bench or you can stick a foam roller up your t-shirt. What this does is, obviously, limit your range of movement and allow you to train with heavier weights then usual. I did this a few months back while doing 5/3/1 and got great results from it. Where I found it useful was that it psychologically got you used to having a large weight in your hands and removed the fear of being stapled to the bench. On the 47 warm up sets that it takes me to get ready for action I spent all my effort in getting a good lifting position and engaging my legs as much as possible. Thinking about pulling the bar down with my lats also really helps with taking a lot of the pressure off of my shoulders. I worked up to 160kg and then moved on to Reverse band bench press.

As you might be able to work out from the above picture is that the bands are attached to something solid overhead (ie the squat rack) and then wrapped around the bar you’re lifting. What this does is effectively reduce the weight as the bands stretch downwards. This has the effect of making the point where the bar is on your chest feel much lighter, but as you push the bar up the bands take less of the weight and your triceps more. Great exercise. Good for the chest. Good for the triceps. Easy on the shoulders. What’s not to love.

After that several sets of tricep extensions, tricep pushdowns and some leg raises for the abs.

Love the elastic band thingies,
 Dave Carter.

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