I have been doing a huge amount of reading on this forum and not much posting so i have acquired a few questions about the BGB routine, certain lifts, etc.
First of all, in regards to BGB, is there a specific reason that the horizontal pull 5x5 lift is rack pulls instead of deadlifts? I know rack pulls are designed to hit the upper back more as they are somewhat the top end of a deadlift, but is there any disadvantage to deadlifting instead of rack pulls AS IT PERTAINS TO THE BGB ROUTINE (i know deadlifts are cruical and beneficial in a general sense, i am asking because Built may have a reason that is specific to her routine).
Secondly, for the bench press, in my reading i have come across several arguements over the most beneficial/safe/etc. bench press form. I am solely interested in the strengthening and development of the pectoral (and yes to a lesser extent the deltoids and triceps and whatever other muscles the bench press hits on). When i say that i mean i am not interested so much in the AMOUNT OF WEIGHT i can bench press as i am the effectiveness of the lift as it pertains to muscle growth and strength, and by that i am referencing the fact that there are always ways to "cheat" on many lifts that incorporate more of the body/other muscles to accomplish a greater amount of weight, but sacrificing the integrity of the lift and benefits it has on the targeted muscle group (pectorals in this case). My basic point is i am not a olympic or power lifter and therefore the number on the bar doesnt matter to me as long as i am maximizing my growth potential for the target muscle, which leads me back to my question, IS THERE A SPECIFIC FORM that allows for my goals? should i be doing anything i can in terms of foot placement/back arch/ etc. to lift the greatest amount of weight possible? is a flat back with knees extended beyond 90 degrees (and therefore essentially relaxed) with perhaps less weight but not incorporating anything aside from the pec/delt/tricep muscles better? etc.
Third, i have read several times that the proper form for calf raises (standing, donkey, or seated) calls for a pause at the bottom of the motion to allow for the achilles tendon to stretch and force you to use your calf muscle to lift your body and not just momentum. This makes sense to me (please tell me if i am off here). This has lead me to my next question, would all lifts benefit from a noticleable pause at the "bottom" of the motion of the lift to allow for the same "forcing" you to use the muscle for the lift and not just momentum? I have always tried to do my lifts "controlled" (by that i mean not just bouncing the weight at the "bottom" of the rep) but i would like some clarification. The reason i am unsure is because i have also read several times that lifts should be performed so that the muscle and related joint involved in the lift should not be "locked out" at any point during the set, thereby discontinuing muscle tension and ruining or cheapening the effort and therefore benefit of the lift. As i am typing this i can imagine the possibility of never locking out the joint/muscle and yet still maintaining a pause at the "bottom" of a rep, so my questions has evolved into: is "never locking out the joint/muscle and yet still maintaining a pause at the "bottom" of a rep" the most beneficial way of performing a set on any given lift? Or is it more beneficial to have a state of continuous momentum, even though this intuitivley leads to the conclusion that the weight you are pushing (say 100lbs) is, because of the momentum, not really taxing the muscle as 100lbs, but less (say 90lbs) because of the benefit of inertia. (I can also recall that deadlifts are supposed to be performed by letting the weight hit the floor and rest on the floor "dead" for a moment before the next rep is performed, which is a contradiction to any other lift i can think of, i.e. letting your knees lock out totally inbetween reps on back squats). This deadift vs. squats example is one of the thoughts i had which lead me to ask this long ass question.
Fourth, i have heard contradicting opinions on the subject of how lifts should be performed in terms of "controlled" movement vs. "explosive" movement. I KNOW you have to be controlled to be explosive (safely) but when i say controlled i suppose i mean more "slow". For example, on a back squat: assuming completley perfect form (which i know is essentially impossible, but for the sake of the example bear with me) would it be more beneficial to reach a parallel or below parallel "bottom" of the rep and then EXPLODE upwards with as much force as possible while retaining perfect form (again, bear wth me) or to move upwards in a "controlled" slower non explosive movement? When i say beneficial i am again refering to maximum muscle growth and strengthening and not just completing 1 rep with the largest amount of weight possible on the bar. It seems to be generally accepted that the "negative" portion of the repetition should be "controlled" but again, i have heard differing opinions in reference to the "positive" portion of the repetition. This question may be toeing the line in terms of some peoples goals being the creation of a more explosive (fast twitch) type of power (such as a vertical leap)vs. someone who just wants to make their muscles grow/get stronger in a general sense and isnt so much worried about having "explosive" potential.
I hope these questions have made sense, i know its a long post and 95% of the people who started reading it stopped before the 3rd paragraph but i am really trying to understand some of these principles of lifting beyond just the basic logic of "eat more, lift heavy weights, sleep" etc. I KNOW that those are the building blocks above all else, however i crave a deeper understanding of the nuances of the lifestyle.
I have many more questions, but i feel like this is as good a place to start as any. Thank you in advance for your replies, information, questions, criticism, and discussion.
Last edited by Cal_lifter_10; 11-11-2007 at 11:03 PM. Reason: spelling
1. I scrape the hell out of my shins when I do off the floor deads, so I do rack pulls instead. I do RDLs on hammie day, so it's functionally like I'm breaking a conventional dead into two parts. No other reason. If you'd prefer to do of the floor deads on either of these days, please by all means do.
2. Lots of lifters find better pec development from low incline work. I'm one of 'em. I made a post about why a few days ago.
3. Yes, it can help. I wouldn't recommend it for all movements though - for example, not for squatting.
4. Explosive up, slow on the lowering is a helpful pattern. So are fast eccentrics - which is why olympic lifts can be so effective. Lots of microtrauma.
can anyone else please shed some insight on my questions?
I understand. Re-read the post I made in that thread. Incline, even with the arch, at best turns into a flat, where flat with the arch turns into a low decline - with more tricep involvement.
Personally, because of shoulder injury and also the above observation, I'm a big fan of incline barbell work, but some develop at their best on the flat. You'll just have to try these techniques for yourself to see which way you grow better.
Okay so tonight was my first official BGB lift. This is how it went.
Rack Pulls: 225x5, 235x5, 245x5, 255x5, 265x5
(i had never done them before so i didnt know where to start weight-wise. i had very good technique from what i could tell so i will continue to move up next time)
Bent Over Rows: 145x8, 8, 8
T-Bar Rows: 70x12, 11, 8
(70 being a 45+25 plates, its a "machine" and not just a oly bar on the ground)
Flat bench: 185x5, 5, 5, 4, 3
(the 3rd set required a spot to get 5th, 4th set required a spot to get up on 4, 5th set required a spot to get up on 3)
Incline Dumbell Press: 55x8, 7, 6
Flat Bench Dumbell Fly: 20x12, 11, 10
Standing Calf Raise: 150x14, 8, 135x10
Abs: it had already been 1 hour and 15min. so i skipped abs.
A couple questions...
On my flat bench and incline dumbell press i was unable to hit the 5x5 and 3x8 marks. Should i adjust my numbers down so that i am just barely hitting the 5x5 and 3x8 and adjust up from there or should i just keep the weights where they are and increase my reps as i get stronger?
Also, i am feeling pretty tired/spent in all the right places (the ones i lifted tonight) which is awesome. My question refers to the rest that should be incorporated with the BGB routine. On a typical Mon-Sun how should my lift days and rest days look? I got the impression somewhere that it should be Day 1, Day 2, rest day, Day 3, Day 4, rest day. Is that correct, or is it otherwise?
I was encouraged by my first day of this workout! I had been lifting on my own 3 day split of chest/shoulder/tri, back/bicep/forearm, legs before. It felt good and i was making progress but i wanted to try a routine written by someone with knowledge, experience, and research so here we go. I am excited to see where it goes!
Last edited by Cal_lifter_10; 11-13-2007 at 03:35 AM.
2. Awesome, and yes. 1,2, rest, 3,4, rest, rest.
3. I'm glad you're enjoying it so far.
your reply to my first questions confused me a little bit. i asked "On my flat bench and incline dumbell press i was unable to hit the 5x5 and 3x8 marks. Should i adjust my numbers down so that i am just barely hitting the 5x5 and 3x8 and adjust up from there or should i just keep the weights where they are and increase my reps as i get stronger?" and you answered "yes"
unless this was your way of telling me it doesnt matter which way i do it then i didnt understand, lol
i started an online journal here on the boards, feel free to check it out everyone and off suggestions, help, encouragement, etc.
Man I wish my gym had a rack so I could do rack pulls. Always wanted to try them.
23 y/o, 170 lbs
Do you understand that the second you
look in the mirror and you're happy with
what you see, baby, you just
lost the battle!
cal, yes to the first part. At least ATTEMPT to squeeze out all the reps. Don't aim for failure, but it's okay if you hit it.
Altephor, do them between two benches.