Eat Train Prosper

Chest Training | ETP#144

February 13, 2024 Aaron Straker | Bryan Boorstein
Eat Train Prosper
Chest Training | ETP#144
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Part four of our series of episodes named the “Design Series.” So far we have covered the Upper Back and Lats, Shoulders, and Quads. In today’s episode we are covering Chest. We walk you through how we would approach program design for effectively training the chest based on three equipment availability tiers.

0:00 - Life/episode updates 
24:48 - What pushed Bryan and Aaron to work on their chests?
27:43 - Building a chest training session in a commercial gym
48:20 - Chest training in your garage gym / CF gym
55:29 - Dumbbell/bands only chest training

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What's up guys, happy Tuesday. Welcome back to Eat, Train, Prosper. Today Brian and I are continuing our training design or our design series and we are moving into chest. So if you go back a few episodes which I can actually give to you right here, the first episode we covered back in last was episode 137 which is a very, very fun, good one. Episode 138 we cover shoulders and then in episode 140 we cover. quads. So in this episode 144, we are finally digging into how we would approach designing a chest session with a few different given hierarchies or tiers of equipment availability. But before we dive into the nuts and bolts of today's episode, Brian, can you kick us off with some updates please? Of course, yeah. I have two updates today. The first one I'm gonna cover is a somewhat in-depth update on the weed experiment that I've been undergoing. And so yeah, I'm just gonna talk about that a little bit because I've been getting this question from a number of people with different contexts associated to it. Some of them are asking about it specific to me. Some of them are asking about it specific to themselves. But basically the question is some version of, is it really a problem? And it's an interesting question because I think that how you answer that is very dependent upon how you're consuming it and how it's impacting your life individually. And so I have kind of five thoughts on the, is it a problem question? And the first one I don't think applies to me, but I do think it applies to many, and that is the prevalence of laziness. And the prevalence of laziness, it can lead to negative life outcomes. And so what I mean by that is it could lead to, you know, lack of exercise, lack of movement in your daily life, and lack of motivation to pursue your goals. And I do see that. Like at least a number of my friends from high school and college that I used to consume with, they have kind of fallen into that category and some of them never really got out of it. But there's just as many of my friends from those eras and my current era that consume regularly or even more than I do. And they're go getters. They exercise. They actually use it as motivation to exercise in many cases. Like I've expressed how one of my favorite things to do is or was to take a hit and go for a really long bike ride. I know my uncle, who's now 70 or whatever, but he was a waiter. just kind of wasting his life away until he was in his late 30s. And then one day he said he got really high and went for a run and decided that he wanted to be a chiropractor. And now 30 years later, he has gone through chiropractic school and he's a chiropractor. You know, that's his job and his career and he's still a daily weed smoker. So, um, I do think that it can impact people differently and knowing where you fall in that spectrum is, is very important. So second one, uh, is it a problem? I would say the one that I'm mostly concerned with here is the severe sleep withdrawal symptoms that I had when I first stopped. And so I talked about this a lot in prior episodes. If you guys go back, maybe four episodes, I think the quads training episode, I talked about it quite a bit, but I had a really bad sleep withdrawal for about seven to 10 days and my sleep was really severely impacted. The last... The last four days, I actually took a gummy, so I made it 33 days. I took a gummy on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. My intention, as I've discussed on the podcast, was to have more days each week that I don't consume than days that I do consume. And so I did take it Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, just a very low dose in the late afternoon evening, and my sleep was amazing. It's hard for me to describe how great sleep latency was, but also how great just sleep throughout the night was. All three of those nights, I only woke up once and my sleep efficiency was 90 plus percent. I would sleep for eight hours and eight hours and 20 minutes in bed or something along those lines. And then yesterday being Monday, and with my goal being to consume less days than I do consume. I didn't take anything yesterday and it was fine. Like I didn't have any cravings in the afternoon or whatever, fell asleep fine. But last night I woke up three times and dreams were back too, the really bad, horrific dreams. I had three anxiety dreams that woke me up in a semi panic throughout the night. And that's from literally just consuming three days in a row prior. And then I don't consume one day and suddenly these dreams and the terrible sleep are back again. And so that concerns me. I don't know what to make of it at the moment, but I do know that the fact that it's impacting sleep that much is not something that I love. And I don't want to reach a point where I become dependent on it to sleep. I don't want to feel like, oh, I'm taking this 10 day trip to Costa Rica in the spring this year, and I have to figure out a way to like sneak gummies into the country or else I'm not gonna sleep well, or I'm not gonna enjoy my experience fully or something along those lines. And so I do have a bit of trepidation in this. specifically regarding sleep and this kind of unexpected, severe impact that it seems to be having on it. Third is concerns over cognitive decline over time. And the studies, I've looked into studies on this, there isn't really any study that has done a long-term RCT on cognitive decline due to marijuana consumption, but I can't help but think that consuming marijuana over the course of a life would have some sort of impact on cognitive decline. And so I'm kinda gonna table that one. I don't have enough information on it at the moment, but it's a semi-concern for me. Then there's the small concern. Well, actually, this is a large concern, but smoking it versus eating it and the impact on the lungs or the respiratory system. And so as I go back to consuming it again now, one of my big commitments is not to smoke it anymore. I literally just wanna be done putting things into my lungs forever. So if I can't continue consuming it with just edibles, I'm gonna have to stop it complete cessation because I really, I just don't wanna be putting things into my lungs and I think that is something that anybody that's concerned with longevity over time or with athletic performance or anything like that, that's something that they should highly consider as well. And so I just feel very confident in that statement and. I'm gonna do a really, really good job of making sure that only edibles are going into my body if I'm consuming going forward. And then the final concern, which I do think is relevant for me and is maybe not relevant for other people, is concerns over appetite management and food choices. And I just, I have an association of I'm high, I want certain foods in my mouth and I want those flavors and... the flavors that I want, the profile of flavors changes when I'm high. And so I need to be able to find a way to manage this in some way if I'm gonna continue consuming so that I don't go back to eating a bunch of highly palatable foods. I'm less concerned about the foods that are like fried and more fatty as long as the fat being used isn't the worst source of fat. I'm much more concerned about the sugar. And I think sugar has further reaching effects than just the moment. It's not just, oh, I put in all these extra shitty calories into my body. It's the impact that then has on downstream effects of sleep and things like that. And then that has effects on the quality of my next day. And so I really do need to manage that. And I also need to manage proximity of food to bedtime. One thing I've really noticed throughout this experiment of cessation is that stopping eating for me two and a half to three hours before bed has to be a non-negotiable. And if I'm consuming weed and suddenly I'm getting hungry at 8 p.m. or 830 and eating something, anything, doesn't matter what it is, that close to bed, I notice that it severely impacts my sleep. And so I have to manage the timing of my food and I have to manage the amount of sugar that I'm putting into my body. And if I can continue to manage those things well, then I think it's not a problem. But that's basically my five tiered answer at the moment from the way that I've intellectualized this and kind of, I guess, introspected it. And so, yeah, that's where I stand at the moment. I do think I'm still going to continue to try to do it two to three days a week as I want to. I'm gonna try not to do three days in a row anymore because that sleep last night was... pretty uncomfortable having those dreams come back again. And so maybe like an alternating day approach or something along those lines will work better, but I'm gonna continue experimenting with it. And yeah, I've rambled for a long time. So I have one more update on my bike race, but let's jump over to Aaron, see if he has any thoughts and then some updates for you, bud. I mean, I had a number of thoughts as you were going through it, but then I think like anytime I did have one you eventually meandered into that thought. Yeah, it's the whole the whole question from a whole, I think is just it's such a good question. Like, you know, is it really a problem? It it's contextually dependent upon the person that its life it's impacting. You know what I mean? I really, really love that answer. And I know a lot of people don't, but it's like, who knows, you know, if I think you answered it really, really well, is pretty much what I'm getting. And I think the way that you structured it, all just a really, really good answer there. Thanks, man, appreciate it, yeah. And the other thing, the last thing I just wanna say on it is that I don't love alcohol. I actually, alcohol isn't for me. It affects my sleep more, it affects my state of wellbeing more, it affects my resting heart rate more, it just has all these negative downstream effects on me. And so I've had a number of friends quit weed and they just pick up drinking more alcohol. And for me, that's not the answer. So yeah, with that in mind, I think that weed is... certainly the lesser of the two evils for me. And if there's times that I want to adjust my mindset in some way, I think that weed is the better choice. So yeah. I mean, I guess for what it's worth for any of the listeners out there, I'm one of those people that I don't really feel great with either. I would say if anything, like weed makes me feel worse than alcohol. Um, I'm like, I'm. But I think that might be, there might be characteristics of my personality. Like I'm quite introverted in those sorts of things anyway. So then like when I'm high, it's like that just like gets multiplied by a hundred and the time moves really slow. And I just like get fixated on these things. And then I'm like, whoa, time's moving way too slow. And then I'm just miserable. So, um, yeah, it's just, I don't, yeah, I just, it would be one of those things like it's a negative into my life, just in how I perceive myself with it. I think again that comes back to the beauty of the individualism with it, right? You're like, hey, I like to get high and go ride my bike. I can't go outside if I get hot. It's the sort of thing, like no fucking way. Okay, so my observations or updates this week. I have enough, I have to go back and check. It's either week, I think it might be, today is the start of week three on TRT. And my updates are really in relation to that. So if you, for the listeners, if you haven't heard, I think when we did my January, my Aaron's Best Physique ever, we kind of wrapped that up with some of my future plans and those sorts of things. That was about two to three weeks ago. So it's been in. The biggest thing is I'm very, very happy about the way I decided to go about this. I started from very, very lean, like starting from arguably the best physique I've ever had. Already doing everything else very, very well, like training is dialed, nutrition is dialed, and because it's so easy to be objective to any changes and stuff that are happening when both of those two previous statements are already in place. The biggest... I guess observations that I have noticed so far, I don't think it's been long enough for me to start to pick up on the quality of life sorts of things and changes there. As from what I've read, that would be a couple more weeks, but I have noticed gym, mostly gym related things. The biggest thing I've noticed is that you are no longer playing the same game. It simply changes things. There's two pieces that I've really picked up on. The negative associations like with the pump and the pain that accompanies that is completely different. And this is something that I would notice when I'd be training with my training partners who are very open that they're enhanced and those sorts of things. Like we would do, for example, the a rest pause set on the leg extension, which is a pretty brutal set, right? You get the lactic, the metabolite buildup, it burns sort of thing. It is so much more worse now than it was two weeks ago. Like the pain, the pump, it is incapacitating. It hurts at least twice as bad. And I would watch, you know, like five weeks ago or six weeks ago, I'm like, we're all doing the same exact thing. Like they're getting, I'm getting dragged through just as many reps as they are, but like they are so much more miserable than me. And I think it has to be, has to be the gear. Like what else could it be? It's the gear. it hurts worse. It just like, and that was a very, very eye-opening thing. And I'm like, this, be careful what you wish for, because this kind of fucking sucks. So that was one. I just. or? I don't know what it is. We very briefly talked about it on one day. No one had a pretty decent answer and I haven't had the time to really go dig into it, but I mean, I feel very confident in that statement. It's like the hole you can dig yourself into, you can just dig the hole deeper in terms of that. And then like the pain you get from it is just significantly worse. And it's like, it's two sets, two sets of leg extensions, like a rest pause, and I mean, it's insane how uncomfortable it is. And the other thing that I've really noticed, and I think this may relate into my previous statement, as your reps slow down, your ability to like grind through them is just more. Like I know from literally just so much personal experience of like I get like one rep slow down, I might get like one more rep and then I fail, right? So there's like rep, like the first part is like reps are moving at a solid sweeping cadence. You get like a rep and noticeable like rep speed slow down, you know, and then I would fail the next, you know, rep. What I'm finding now is like that slow down period, I have like four or five of those as opposed to one previously. And that's where I think, of course, right? Like a pendulum squat, not really. Leg extension is a very good example of one. Leg curl, another one. The hack squat where you have a little bit more of an even resistance distribution was one I noticed today where I could feel. You know when you can kind of feel like it's getting really hard and you're like, OK, I got like, you know, one more rep and then I might fail. Like I had that thought on a rep like I think like maybe 11. And then I got 15 reps. So I was like, I literally thought I was going to fail 12. And then I got 12, 13 and 14 before I failed. So that kind of, you're able to like grind more. That's been very kind of interesting because you expect to fail, you know, and from the whole like gauging RIR, like I would have put like, hey, I'm at a one RIR here. And then I got four more reps where I know two weeks ago, that would have been a one RIR. So that was been, those have been my two biggest observations that have been very, it's just wild experiencing it. And again, just kind of going back to what I said, I'm very glad in the way that I structured it because I'm able to be quite objective in some of these changes and stuff that are happening. Yeah, that's wild, man. It's gotta be nuts to have to recalibrate your entire RIR system, because you've literally honed this thing in for so many years as a natural, and it's almost as if, I mean, I don't wanna call you a newbie, but in many ways, you now can relate to a lot of those people that are like, I really struggle with RIR, and you're like, yeah, me too. I really struggle with that too. Yeah. And so it's an interesting perspective to have for sure. Yep, and then the other, the last thing that I forgot to make a note of, but my, I guess, perceived recovery has actually gone down. I am significantly more sore than I was three, four weeks ago, pretty much across the board. pushing beyond this, the threshold that was your threshold before. Yeah, any improvements in sleep? Um, no, I mean, I was sleeping really, really good at the end of the diet. And then, uh, as food came up, I might, my sleep kind of returned to baselines. And then it's been. It's been good. I did have maybe the first week of the TRT, some of those kind of like, I don't know if I could call it heart palpitations, but maybe that anxiety feeling in bed in the morning. And I do remember reading about that as your body's kind of adjusting to exogenous testosterone. But that was about it. But sleep's been pretty good, minus some left, my left leg keeps cramping on me in the middle of the night. So besides that, sleep's pretty good. Yeah. always just keep asking that question because one of the things I always hear about TRT is that it does improve the quality of your sleep, which I think is part of this downstream effect of like improved quality of life type piece is that when you're sleeping better, you know, everything is better. And so I've always I'll ask that every week. I'm just curious about it. Yeah. Cool. Well, I have one last update here. So I competed in a bike race this weekend on Sunday. And for anyone that followed my story, we got eight inches of snow on Saturday. So I'm driving to pick up my registration packet in Boulder basically. And it's like pouring down snow. There's like six inches on the ground. The roads are an absolute disaster. And I'm like, I'm gonna do a bike race tomorrow. This is wild. And so I woke up in the morning and the roads were still pretty atrocious. We got to Lyons, which is only 25 minutes away from Boulder, where the bike race started. And Lyons didn't get nearly as much snow as us. So this course was half gravel, half pavement. It was actually 48 percent pavement, 52 percent gravel. And the roads were completely fine. Like literally, it was as if it didn't even snow in lines. The roads are so clean. So the part where we were on the road, it was smooth sailing, easy biking. The gravel part was an absolute disaster. It turned to complete mud. I mean, not even like you couldn't even tell you were on gravel. It was just a mud pit for the entire 52% of this 32 mile ride. So 16 or 17 miles of this ride was in mud. The temperature was 40 degrees at the start and it got down to like 36 at one point because the sun went away and this fog came in. It was just awful. The mud was, it's like hard to describe how bad the mud was because it was wet too. And so it kept like splashing up on you and it would splash up as high as your face. Like. it would drench my face. I had to take my glasses off because they were just completely caked in mud. It was kicking up mud from the back tire all over my back and my camelback. My entire legs were just soaking wet. My feet were drenched. It was so cold and miserable. And I got to the 12-mile mark. It's a 32-mile race. And I looked at my watch thinking I was at least halfway done. And then I saw the Oh my God, I still have 20 miles to go. And I got like a little bit demoralized at that point because it was just, going through the mud was so treacherous. It was so slow. It was like quick sand at points. And there was thousands of people doing this race. In my category, there was 800. And the people in the longer race went before us. So I think that's part of why the... mud was so bad because 800 people before us had already gone through and basically turned it to mud and churned it. And then our race of 800 people came through. And, um, and so yeah, it was just a very, very challenging experience overall. And, um, I actually think I did quite well through the first 27 miles. I literally was passing people the majority, like a few people passed me, but I was mostly passing people for the first 27 miles. And then the final five mile stretch, I just, I just didn't have it, man. It was the first time that I've done. I guess this is only my second bike race, but the this one, like I just, my legs just died. I, my lungs were fine. The last five miles I, I kind of gave up. It was like, I mentally got weak because my legs just stopped turning as fast as they should. And so in the last five miles, I think I got passed by 25 or 30 people, um, which is what it is. You know, I haven't been training for this. The longest training ride I've done leading up to this was about 16 or 17 miles and it wasn't on mud. It was on pavement for the most part. So to think that I was doing double that distance with half of it being this terrible mud, um, I just, I just didn't have it. And so that's, you know, something that I need to know in future races is That's why you train like that's why you train the distances and you train the terrain that you're going to race. So overall, the race took me two hours and 20 minutes. I finished 257th out of 800, which really like in the grand scheme of things, finishing in the top third, I'm not even that bummed about it. There were a number of professional racers doing this race as well as just really solid endurance athletes where biking is their primary sport. So that was cool. And then as far as heart rate stuff, I basically spent the entire two hours and 20 minutes in zone four or zone five. It was an hour and four minutes in zone four, 27 minutes in zone five, and 35 minutes in zone three. And then there was three minutes left that I spent in zone two or something like that. So literally the entire race for the most part was zone three through five. And I was just really glad to be done. So it was one of those things where You go into it knowing it's not gonna be like fun per se, but you go in knowing that you're gonna be challenged and going in expecting the hardship and then getting the affirmation of completion and kind of that nice dopamine high of, wow, I really did something hard and I feel good about myself. So overall felt really good about it. It's a winter race, not gonna put too much credence into the result. But it was cool that I did it and a couple of my friends did it with me and so that was always a good time too. Very cool, very cool. Are you ready to dive into today's topic, Brian? Cool, so. go ahead, introduce it. Me, okay. Okay, cool. Yeah, so chest training is, I don't know about you, and I think this is an interesting question to open it, but when I first started training, when I was 15 years old, chest was the thing that got me into the game. I remember reading muscle magazines and seeing pictures of guys with just these really chiseled, well-developed chests. And one of the very first articles I read, I think it was the Muscle Media 2000 magazine back in the day in the late 90s, and it was an article that was titled,"'Build a chest that walks through the door before you do.'" And I just thought that was such a inspiring thing to see as a 15-year-old who hadn't lifted any weights really and didn't have a developed physique, was slow to puberty, all of these things. And so for me, chest was... Chest was it. That's the thing I wanted to do. And I think it resonated with a lot of other kids that age too, because everyone cared about their bench press. That was always the big question was, what do you bench, right? So what's your story? How did chest impact you? I remember having these strong desires to like, trying to race to get to like 135 pound bench. I remember that like freshman year of high school. And then in terms of like. my bench was not very great, but chest development came very easily to me. Like that would probably be the most natural muscle that developed for me, which coincidentally actually led me to not do it very often because it would grow kind of quite easily, so. Interesting. Yeah. Um, when I first started, I thought bench press with a barbell was pretty cool too, but I was never very good at it. It took me a really long time to actually get to 135 pound bench. I want to say years, like maybe two years, three years. I can't remember exactly. But I've described many times how when I first started training, I met this dude, Paul Carter, in a forum in 1999 or in 98 or whatever it was. And he told me to just do a two to three times a week full body program and choose, you know, one movement for chest on one day and one movement on another day. And so I, I chose incline dumbbell bench press and dips. And the reason I chose those two is because they were accessible and I could do them without a spotter and work close to failure. So barbell bench was never a prominent focus of my chest training. Like ever. I, As much as I thought it was cool and I wanted to answer the question, how much do you bench with a really great answer, I think of my entire 25 plus years training at this point, I've only trained the barbell bench for three or four of those years, which is kind of wild to think about in retrospect, but I think it also goes to show that you don't need to barbell bench to build a chest. There are many other roads to roam as far as that goes. And so as we kind of go through this sequence of discussion around chest training, that we'll frame it the same way as we did in prior episodes. We'll start with commercial gym where you have all the equipment and we'll spend the majority of the time there and then we'll kind of disseminate it down and go into what it would be like if you had a well-stacked home gym or if you had only kind of dumbbells and bands and stuff like that. And so when you think about building a chest training session, my perspective has changed a little bit on this. because in the past, it always started with the large compound movement. That was always the one that I thought would be the most important to do. And like when I would do max OT back in the day, it was always incline dumbbell bench press, boom. First movement, always building that one that was always a staple of my program. I do think my perspective has changed on this a little bit, but before I get into that, what did you used to do and has your perspective changed at all? I probably used to do a lot of very dumb things that were me following things that I had saw without having a solid reasoning as to why I was doing them, you know? And my perspective has changed just as I've learned more and understood like why certain exercises may go in or something like that. Like I, I reckon in the past that I may have done like a barbell incline bench press and then done like a dumbbell incline bench press, because that was literally how little that I actually understood, you know? Um, yeah. So, I mean, it's, it's just changed as I've, as I've learned more and, and been privy to, you know, people like yourself who, who've been instrumental in what I've learned in, in training. Mm-hmm, cool. No, that's a good answer. So this is one of those ones where if you're gonna do an unstable movement, such as an incline dumbbell bench press, I still kind of hold the notion that it should probably be first unless you're an extremely advanced trainee. And so when I talked about how my perspective has shifted a little bit, I now feel that doing something that is a little bit more short overloaded where it's hardest at the contracted position is probably a pretty good idea to do if you're advanced. And it also probably depends on what your second movement is. So like, for example, if I had access to everything, I think starting with something like a press around, the Coach Kassem press around, where you kind of angle your body, you adduct the arm across the body, and it's, I don't want to call it like a one-arm cable crossover because your elbow never comes out quite that wide. You're still kind of keeping your elbow tucked in nice and tight, but you're getting a lot more ability to come across your body and fully shorten the pec when you do it in this manner than you would if you were doing a bilateral two-arm cable crossover type movement where you're stopped when the cables sort of meet each other. And then I would go into a second movement that is stable. So it wouldn't be an inclined dumbbell bench for an intermediate type trainee, because now you're asking them to stabilize these heavy dumbbells in space after they've already exhausted part of their chest. So I think something like a back supported chest press machine of some sort, like hammer strength incline, if that feels good for you, or any other form of converging chest press. would probably be a really good second movement. But this is talking about organization of training for somebody that's maybe like at that intermediate advanced level, I don't think this is the only way you need to go about it. I think it would be just as good in many cases to start with that unstable movement and go with that incline dumbbell bench press or something along those lines, and then move into a chest press machine at that point, or even into a. short-ish overload movement from there. And I do think I'm gonna have three or four movements, probably four movements in this program. So how we start the first two, I don't think is super important. I do think you have a little bit of freedom in there. What do you think? I agree with that. I do think there is freedom in there. One thing that I ultimately agree with you, and I have a little bit, potentially different difference of a reasoning why, is if you were to put the inclined dumbbell bench third, you're going to have a very solid performance decline, I would say, in that. Whereas if you put the inclined dumbbell potentially the press around second, and then maybe we have that like hammer strength machine press or another sort of machine press or something that's bilateral, more stable where you have a back support, you're not balancing anything. There's going to be performance detriment by placing it third, but I think the fall off. of having that machine third as opposed to having the inclined dumbbell third is less in terms of training performance being a proxy for general growth if all the rest of the environment is supportive of it ordering in a way that allows you to keep performance as good as you can for the most exercises typically makes sense. Yeah, no, that's a good point. So I've kind of meandered around and not really committed to anything because I do think the way you approach it is a bit different if you're an intermediate versus if you're like a very advanced athlete. And so for me, the way I would approach this in a perfect world is I think that I would go press around first, get the short overload movement done. Then I would go into the slightly less stable pressing movement, which would be the incline dumbbell bench. And then I think my third movement would be the chest press machine, where you have a lot more stability and you can still go into really deep depths of stimulus there. And then what I would also probably do is I would do some sort of intensity techniques like rest pause, drop sets, something like that on that third movement, which is the really stable chest pressing machine. So we have the press around the incline dumbbell bench and then the stable chest pressing machine with some intensity. That would be for an advanced athlete. I think if we were to go for more of the intermediate athlete, I think I would advise starting with the incline dumbbell bench and then probably moving into the press around or the cable crossover or one of those more short overloaded movements and then still probably keeping that chest press machine third because it's so stable. You can get a lot out of it in the later portions of the workout. What do you think about that? I think that's great. Personally, I think I would do things a little bit differently, but that's more so related to how I know my chest pressing performance is. If I'm doing dumbbells, they're gonna go first, and I just warm them up really slow. But I know if I put them in second or third, I'm gonna have a poor performance there. Whereas I think... Again, like the machine press, I just said, I think I would be able to maintain a higher amount of performance there. And then if for myself, I would put that press around third or maybe like a clavicular fly or something like that, or sorry, sternal fly or some other sort of kind of short bias movement last because I feel that I stand to gain the least from that. So that I typically will put less because I don't get as quite as much of a stimulus from those personally, right? But that's again where that individual aspect comes into play. Do you feel like there's any value in the idea of stretching it all out at the end? Because there's two different perspectives on this. There's the perspective of lengthened movements go last, and there's something to stretching out all the fibers, all the sarcomeres getting really lengthened at the end. So that's my thing is to put the dumbbell fly at the end, where it's really stretching everything out at the very end. Whereas you mentioned doing the short overload movement at the end, which I assume when you said fly, you meant more of like a cable fly. Yes. what do you think about that placement of the short overload movement versus the length and overload movement at the end and the impact of that? I think if the way that you do your flies, Brian, and I think that has, I mean, I don't wanna use the term damaging from like a negative connotation. I think in the context you're speaking, it would be very positive, very stimulative for, you know, stimulus into the chest. I think if you were to place that anything anywhere further in front, you would very negatively impact further. Agreed. Yeah. sense to put that last because you're going to really focus on that like loaded stretching which will be rather I don't like fatiguing is not the right word like damaging I think is a proper use here but I don't mean it in a negative way yeah yeah, it's definitely damaging. There was a system of training and I'm blanking out on the name of it right now, but it was from Iron Man Magazine back in the early 2000s. I wish I could remember the name of it, but their exercise ordering was specifically. about going from short to lengthened, and the rationale being that if you can stretch out all of those fibers at the very end, then you're essentially creating more opportunity to flood blood and nutrients into the muscle, versus if you do the short overload movement at the end, you're kind of closing off the ability to flood the muscle with all the nutrients, although there is more blood in a short overload movement. So it's an interesting... Interesting perspective there. I mean, I think at the end of the day, both have worked for bodybuilders for many years and it's probably stimulus more than exercise order for sure. Going back to something you said earlier about the load on the incline dumbbell bench press. So forever in my life, I always did incline dumbbell bench first because load was so important to me. I always had to be able to bench the hundreds or the 110s or whatever it was at that point in my life. And in the last few cycles I've done, I've purposefully put the dumbbell bench pressing second after the short overload movement because I'm training my ego not to care and trying to drive stimulus more than load. And so it actually, it's quite significant. I mean, if I could do the hundreds or the 110s fresh for five to eight reps. when I do a short overload movement first and then go into the incline dumbbell bench, it's like 85s, maybe 95s. Like I can't touch the hundreds after I've done that short overload movement first. And I don't know if that's really necessarily a bad thing when it comes to stimulus. Like it certainly is for ego. I don't feel good about the fact that I haven't touched the 100 pound dumbbells for a couple of years at this point. but I do feel like my chest gets probably a better stimulus because it has that little bit of pre-fatigue in it. It feels like I'm getting more in my chest and maybe a little less in my triceps and front delts when I put it second. And so maybe that's a bit of individual experience and everybody's experience is gonna differ slightly. So that's kind of my rationale for that. And then my question to you is, how do you guys organize your chest day? in training camp when you're training with your bros in recent months. We have all of our compounds first. And then the compounds, the lengthened overload things are all first. And then we move into the short, like the flies, those sorts of things would be the cable fly. Or we have a really good seated, like our arsenal, as much as I may talk shit on some arsenal stuff, their seated machine fly is actually very, it's very, very well designed. Yeah, I would say that still falls into the category of being that like short mid overload. When when just to differentiate it from a dumbbell fly, because a dumbbell fly very much where you're fighting gravity is a lengthened overload fly movement. But pretty much any other fly, whether it's like a cable or a machine or something like that, is usually going to be more like short mid. So do you guys not do any dumbbell fly, any lengthened overload flying? There is one of the days we have the, the gym also has the arsenal, like plate loaded fly, which is like an incline loaded fly. But that's still very short overload, like how, how just how the plates are just how the biomechanics of the machine are it's very, very short overload still. Yeah, okay, cool. When was the last time you did any sort of dumbbell flying in your training? You know, I've never been a fan of it. It's always kind of bothered my shoulder. The last time I did it was at some, I don't know, it was some place we were at, like a hotel we were staying at for Jenny's birthday last year, and I had limited equipment, and I was like, you know what? Brian loves these like dumbbell flies, I'm gonna do them today. So sometime around July 25th of last year, it was the last time I did a dumbbell fly, and it was probably two or three years before that. yeah. Okay. Yeah. So just recently I've introduced like the proper dumbbell fly back into my training. In prior years, it's been the fly press where I still come out somewhat wide, but I, at the bottom of the movement, the forearm is vertical. Um, and so if you think about what a fly is, when you come out to the bottom of the movement, the normal fly, your forearm is going to be pointing out toward the wall to your side. when you're at the bottom. And if you're doing a dumbbell bench, your forearm's gonna be pointed in toward your chest. So it's gonna be the opposite. The fly press that I really like, still one of my favorite movements ever, is a mix between the two where the forearm is completely vertical at the bottom and you're focusing on driving the elbows back. And so what I love about the fly press movement is that you can load it. almost as heavy as you can do a standard press. It's certainly gonna be less because there is some ABduction there, but way more than you can load like a proper dumbbell fly where you're getting out really wide and getting really stretched, but you still get a significant stretch in your chest at the bottom with the fly press. So like I said, only recently have I reintroduced the dumbbell fly in and for all the years prior, it's been this fly press. And... The only reason I'm using the dumbbell fly at the moment is because I'm doing these, I'm experimenting with these bottom ROM dumbbell flies. You guys may be seeing Nunez doing them. He calls them 10 and two flies as like 10 o'clock and two o'clock on the clock. But I like them as a final movement to really stretch everything out like I was talking about. And I also really love them. The way I'm using them now is as a super set. I just do one set. one set of bottom ROM flies directly into super deep deficit pushups. And so I just find that as a phenomenal way to just finish the chest. Every time I do that, I think like mortal combat, finish him type thing. And that's just how I feel about what it does to my chest at the very end. And so I think as we talk about this kind of design of the training program. You know, the fly press has been a staple for me for so long that even though that's not currently in my training, I think that that's the movement that I would choose as my kind of lengthened overload flying type movement. And so we have a press around or a short overload movement. We have a an incline dumbbell press. We have a machine chest press, which unfortunately, I can't actually do because I don't have a machine chest press in my home gym. And then we have the dumbbell fly or a dumbbell fly press or something along those lines. And so you have those kind of four movements coming together there. And then the last thing I just wanna share on this is that I think the best development I ever achieved in my chest was when I started doing really heavy dumbbell flies. And it's another of these things where there's some confounding variables, which I've talked about before in that. When I had my best gains in my chest was also the time where I was turning into a man and eating a bunch of food. And so there were all of these things happening at the same time, but I can definitely say for sure that when I was just doing inclined dumbbell bench presses and dips, that my chest didn't achieve nearly the development that it did from flies. And another thing, my brother used to make fun of me when I was... first starting lifting in the first three years, he called it, what do you call it chest fat or something. But basically, there was like this little ripple of fat that I had between my armpit and the beginning of my pack. And it was there for the first three years that I lifted and it never went away. Even as I started developing my physique and improving many of my areas, I still had that little bit of chest fat where it met my armpit. And it wasn't until I started hammering heavy flies a lot. that area finally hardened up and it ended up forming more of that outer peck that kind of has that sweeping circular motion where it begins to curve under. And so again, confounding variables and everything, but I still believe that introducing heavy dumbbell flies for me and really prioritizing that deep stretch position there really made some significant differences. And so for whatever that's worth, that's my story. Yeah, I like how the exercises you chose there. I did have a little, this one's small, but these are things that I feel like I didn't use to understand and really helped. So I would choose the same exercises and those sorts of things that you have here. The, for the chest press machine, let's say your gym has multiple, you brought up the example of like a hammer strength press where the weight is loaded on the arm that you're pressing, right? Mm-hmm. There's nothing bad about these. However, you're gonna get a change in the resistance profile as that arm moves closer to gravity, which is typically that shortened position where you're not as strong. If your gym has leverage style loaded chest pressing machine where you are going to load something that is behind the machine typically, and then there is linkage that attaches the arm that you press to that, and then the machine just moves the weight vertically up and down, you're going to get a much more consistent resistance profile. And in my opinion, if I have choice, like I'm going to take that style of machine. Yeah, I agree. And that's a great point. I think the reason I always tend to mention the hammer strength is because every single commercial gym I've trained in the last 10 years, and I don't train in them that often to be fair, but they all have a hammer strength, chest press and usually the inclined one. And so it's just it's ubiquitous. It's everywhere. And so it's accessible. But I do agree with you. And obviously, even better than what you mentioned would be a prime or a strive. where you have the three loading handles and you can then manipulate your resistance profile based on, hey, where you put that movement in your program. Like if you want to load it short and make it your first exercise, that's fine. If you want it to be the lengthened exercise second, you can set it lengthened and do it that way. And so having a prime or strive option is going to give you a lot more freedom as far as how you're building out your chest routine and where you put that movement in the sequencing. Yeah. So I think that finishes it for commercial gym approach. Yeah. And then, um, as we kind of jump into the home gym. There's definitely some things that need to change because you can't assume that you have cables or a chest press machine. So I kinda go back to the way that I used to train during the max OT days. I would train at a commercial gym, but the program was built around free weights almost entirely. And so I think it's really as simple as choosing a incline press of choice. whether that's dumbbell or barbell, and then choosing a flat press of choice, whether that's dumbbell or barbell, it might make sense to do one barbell and one dumbbell, or shit, you could do both dumbbell. I probably wouldn't do both barbell if it were up to me. I just think you're losing out on a little bit of stretch and a little bit of the adduction that you can get with dumbbells, a little more of that freedom of movement. And then the third and fourth movements, I think, are dips and a fly. And so you build out your routine that way. And I don't think it really matters where you put those last two. The dip could go third and the fly last, which is probably what I would lean towards just because of that super lengthened part of the fly. But again, like a dip is pretty lengthened as well. And you get like a really diesel stretch at the bottom of that dip if you're leaning forward. So those are all great options. And then what we usually do in my programs is for people that can't do dips. Like obviously you can do foot assisted dips where you kind of have your foot on the ground and you use a little bit of push off your foot there, but it's kind of hard to regulate that for progression purposes. So you could do negatives on the dips where you jump up to the top and lower yourself down. That's super effective. But usually what we do is revert to a pushup. And pushups are infinitely scalable. So you can do deficit pushups. You can get a deeper stretch by putting your hands on dumbbell handles. and really get a deep stretch that way. You can do them standard pushups or you could even elevate your hands. And one of the things that we love to do with hands elevated pushups is set them up with a barbell in a squat rack, because then what you can do is just as you get stronger, you can just move it down one rung. So say you're at the eighth rung and you get your sets of 10, then the next session you can move it down to the, did I say eighth rung, the seventh rung. And so you can basically progress by one or two or three inches of range of motion across time. And eventually you'll realize, oh shit, this barbell is at the first rung. I can start doing regular pushups now. So we love the hands elevated pushup, especially when you can control the range of motion that you're achieving or the amount of assistance that you're achieving through putting a barbell on a squat rack or something along those lines. So what do you think as far as home gym? I like all of those, one movement, and again, I'm just impartial because I do really, really like this movement, the feet elevated decline deficit pushup. I love that movement. I'll put that movement in regular training programs, even with a commercial gym, because it's just so, so good. Let's say we wanted to introduce that. Where do you think we would make the modification to the prior list that you said? Well, yeah, so it depends how strong you are at that movement. So for me, I'm pretty strong at it, so it has to be last. Like when I go through my whole chest day, and then I do the superset, where I go super rom dumbbell flies, and then I superset it with exactly what you're talking about, deep deficit, parallet pushups, I'm still getting nine pushups as the second part of that superset. So if I were to put that pushup, even not supersetted with the dumbbell fly, I would probably get 15 reps. And thus, I can't do that movement unless it's either weighted or it's the very last thing in the program. Now, if somebody weren't as strong and say they could fail in the six to 10 rep range with that movement, then I think that's a great movement to do first or second or third. Like, I don't even think it matters where it goes. If you're able to work that movement in the six to 10 rep range, it could replace. one of your pressing movements from part A or part B is kind of the way I see it. What about you? Mm-hmm. Yeah, that one is like, I would never do it in like a part A or part B, but I do find that when I'm when I'm already carrying some fatigue, like, I'm not doing 18 reps, anything like that, like I'll fail at 1112, you know, especially if I have a decent, if I if I'm using maybe like bumper plates or something like that, where I can get a good couple inches of elevation. I, and it's just like, I get such a good contraction out of it and it feels incredibly stimulative, um, for me, because I don't love the fly press kind of thing with the dumbbell, I might replace that with it if I was, you know, in charge sort of thing. Yeah, yeah. I've used that movement as a prime, actually, let me backtrack. I've actually used a pushup as a primary movement, like a part A movement in Home Gym program, but I do it with the dip belt. So if you can set up a barbell in a squat rack, you can elevate your feet so that your body is horizontal with the barbell, and then you put a dip belt around your body, and you can literally work pushups in whatever rep range you want. So when I was doing those for real as part A, I got up to 135 pounds for sets of six. And the hardest part of that was literally just putting 135 pounds on and then getting your ass into position so that your feet are on the bench, your hands are on the barbell, and then you can roll. But yeah, I mean, that variation of a dip belt push up is super, super solid. And The only way I would wanna improve that would be if I could somehow create a neutral grip for the pushup. Cause I just don't love being stuck in pronation where your hands are in that standard pushup position. But if there was a way that I could have that same elevation with enough elevation so that it clears the dip belt at the bottom, but have my hands in a neutral grip, I think that would be honestly possibly a movement that I would even use in my programming like right now, despite all of the home gym. equipment that I have, like my cable machine and stuff like that. So I do think pushups have a ton of validity and you just kind of need to be creative with how you're implementing them into the program and how you're setting them up. Yeah. do that with a football bar if you ever had an inclination to pick one up. That's true, that's a good point. And it would fit across the squat rack the same way that a regular one would. Yeah, I agree that would be an improvement for sure. I would still love to be able to get it almost in a deficit. So it would be like a Buffalo bar, but with the football bar, you know? So you would have the neutral grip, but you would also be able to go deeper. Ooh, maybe I need to invent that, that would be dope. That's an interesting idea. So anyways, yeah, I think that pretty much hammers home gym chest work. And then when you get into dumbbell only work, it doesn't change a whole lot. You have an inclined dumbbell press, you have a flat dumbbell press, you have a dumbbell fly and you have a pushup. And I think that pretty much takes care of the entire gamut of chest training for you there. Yeah. One thing that's kind of cool in this episode relative to other episodes is it's almost like simpler training chest. Obviously the commercial gym, you're going to have a little like the, um, the chest press machine, the, the cable fly, but the fly, you can really replicate even with dumbbells and that sort of thing. And I would say chest is, is a, is a is a body part that I don't think the trade-offs are nearly as large as they are for some of the other body parts, which is pretty cool. I agree 100%. No, I was thinking the same thing going into this because I feel like in the other episodes, we've had a very more rigid structure of kind of how we wanted to organize the session. And in chest, we kind of are all over the place. We're like, well, we could do it this way. You could do it that way. That way is cool too. Like you could put this movement in there, that movement. And it just kind of seems like all of it is effective and all of it works. And so I really liked that too. I feel like it really gives you some freedom and can make training interesting as well. One other thing I mentioned as you were talking about, I don't know what you were saying, but it popped into my head, is that you can do a banded dumbbell press or a banded pushup, and you can make those a little bit more short overloaded. So if you're doing a dumbbell press, you can kind of loop the band around your back and then through the dumbbell handles, and now it's running along your triceps. So as you press up, you're actually getting more resistance at the short position. And then you can do the same thing with push-ups, where you loop the band again around your back and hold it down with your hands. And so once again, you're getting a little bit more resistance at the short position. And so by using bands either alone or in conjunction with dumbbells, you can manipulate resistance profiles a little bit more for some of the home gym stuff. And one movement I didn't mention at all is using bands for... crossovers or press arounds. So we do that sometimes in our home gym programs where we'll set a band up at whatever height you want, depending on what region of the chest you wanna train. If you have two bands of the same color, you can easily do a crossover, step yourself out so there's resistance and you can crossover that way. That would be very short overloaded as band work usually is. Or you can do a press around. So you can just attach one band to a pole. and then you can angle your body and you can press around using the band resistance as well. And so both of those would just be super short overloaded as bands are, but also another kind of thing you can include into the programming to keep it interesting and get a little bit more of that short overload, which tends to evade us in home gym programming where you're using primarily free weights, you don't have cables or machines or anything like that. Yeah, wonderful. Is there anything on this one that you want to add, Brian, before we wrap it up? Nah, dude, I think that's it. Okay, wonderful. So. As always guys, thank you for listening. Hopefully this has been informative just on kind of the creativity that you can bring into the chest training. And I think like Brian alluded to, we were a little bit less structured in this one, but if I'm being honest, when I think about it, I have less strong opinions in how it would be structured. And I'm going to assume that Brian does as well. And that's probably what kind of led this conversation to be a little bit more dynamic than the prior ones that we've had. Yeah, great point. So again, hopefully it was informative and you learned something. As always, we will talk to you next week.

Life/episode updates
What pushed Bryan and Aaron to work on their chests?
Building a chest training session in a commercial gym
Chest training in your garage gym / CF gym
Dumbbell /bands only chest training