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Thread: The Second Bench Day

  1. #1
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    The Second Bench Day

    Most of the guys around here ascribe to a vaguely similar heavy bench day, block training aside.

    But what about the second day? What do you do and why?

    Obviously I use dynamic effort (speed bench) as does the rest of Westside but I'm interested in seeing what the rest of you do and the explanation.

    I've seen some guys do the heavy lockout work, others do a higher rep kinda day, and still others do just accessory work, no benching really.

    C'mon, it's been awhile since we've had a good natured debate in here and I'm bored right now.


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  2. #2
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    brian schwabs program has a nearly normal ME day with boards (3,2 or 1board) but with percentages and the second day is weekly progressive benching for reps as mainlift. it sounds really interresting for me .

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    i've been doing a full body routine lately where I don't even bench and focus more on overhead press, but I do have a day where I will bench, and alternates. I haven't had good progress with speed bench, and the times i have done the two bench days a week where one is ME the other will be with more repetitions with regular old bench because i still progress well from it be it 5 reps or 8 rep range I mix it up. If I don't include plain old bench on a regular occasion my ME lifts can go up but I can lose lbs on my raw bench. I can feel really strong but then get down to bench raw and it just isn't there, whereas with getting some reps in it really helps.

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    I have my best gains incorporating heavy lockout movements (board work & rev. band) for the second day with typical tricep movements used on both days. But my training is focused on getting the shirted bench to improve and not to concerned about raw numbers.
    Last edited by blong; 01-19-2012 at 02:06 PM.

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    Currently, I'm following Block, so it's heavy all the time.

    In the past I've had success with the Westside style. I got away from 2 bench days because my elbows and shoulders were taking abeating. I know squatting 2x a week wasn't helping, either. That being said, the explosive pressing with light weights was destroying my elbows, wrists, forearms and shoulders. It was like trying to throw a wiffle ball as hard as you'd throw a baseball. It was just bad for me. Plus, I think if you're already pretty explosive, you don't need to hammer away at something that you're already good at.

    People go on about weakpoint training and I think miss this. If I'm fast, why do I need to focus on that? i need to maintain it, but I certainly don't need to make it a priority. I needed to learn how to struggle under weight. if I didn't smash weight, I'd miss it badly. i wasn't able to drive through and finish.

    When I started training with Vincewnt, he had me drop the 2nd bench day and focus on Military Pressing, which did wonders for me, as well.

    I think the key is to work what you're good at, but focus on what you're bad at. The ego neeeds to be dropped. I think a lot of guys like DE work because it's easy and they're good at it. Struggling through reps sucks, but I bet that would help a lot of guys. It has helped my pressing, for sure.

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    1st bench day (ME day) is really focused on shirted technique and working weak areas. I usually go in a shirt once a month (3 weeks out then a week in the shirt) if I'm not training for a meet. Before a meet I go every other week. I really try to overload my hands and wrists---ie feel the heavy weight at the top on these days. In single ply I'll work up to a weight I can touch and then work further up in weight with boards. In multiply I may work one board height the entire workout or work down (ie get a high weight at a 3 board, then get it 2 board, then 1 board, then add weight) or something like that. It really depends on my perceived weak points. raw ME work is done to a max and then alot of times a slingshot is put on and a few more sets are done. I think this has given me a big carry over to my shirted bench so far. Triceps work is kept lighter---pushdowns or band work, with higher reps too for elbows.


    2nd bench day is (DE day) is focused more on arch and moving weight fast---with either straight weight or chains usually. I usually only do bands right before a meet. with things done in 3-4 week waves. After DE work I'll do heavy triceps work, which is high board work (4 board) or heavy extensions of some type or I'll do close grip work on an incline or decline much heavier.

    So depending on how you look at it, I guess you could technically argue I'm benching heavy twice per week, although in my mind the 2nd day is more triceps oriented and flat bench is all that counts.
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    I only have one day. 2 days destroys me.
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    dumbell work and rep stuff seems to fit well on the lighter day

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    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    For those of you who are doing block, how do you keep from being beat up between sessions? I know for myself, sometimes I'm still a tad sore Friday after a wednsday so benching heavy Saturday would be just about impossible for me. Over time I think the slower recovery would just accumulate too much.

    For those of you who the speed days beat you up too much, my question would be what do you feel the difference is between benching heavy twice a week and one heavy/ one light that made you more likely to recover?

    Matt, on one hand I hear what you're saying about the speed development. Each one of us has a ceiling on how fast we are going to get, but how do you know where that is, and also how would you maintain that speed you've achieved without practicing it?

    Speed days (as prescribed by Louie) are for several things - 1)technique work 2)training explosive reactions in your muscles 3)a bench day more light in nature that will promote speed, recovery and muscle growth

    I get my ability to strain under max loads from my ME day. Personally I look at what a lot of guys do on their ME day and they are really lacking a lot of pressing volume. They come in, hit a max and shut it down. In addition, they really cut down on the triceps volume.

    Lot of times I hear that because I train twice on Wednsdays, I do the same volume as block training or benching twice a week so I shouldn't argue against it. However my response to that is that I keep it on the same day. So although I wake up Thursdays completely wore out, tired and sore. But I have an entire week to recover until the next heavy session and I always walk into my ME days ready to rock and roll.

    Good discussion! Lots of good info in here.


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    Senior Member Niko_El_Piko's Avatar
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    I also train WSB, so my second day is Dynamic.
    Every 5 th dynamic training, I change and work what I call Strength/Speed, which is basically a 12 x 1 with a 30/40 sec rest, with an 80% load, making a 1 sec pause at the chest, and exploding as fast as I can to lock out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    For those of you who the speed days beat you up too much, my question would be what do you feel the difference is between benching heavy twice a week and one heavy/ one light that made you more likely to recover?
    .

    I think I've seen 2 things with those who claim DE days beat them up: 1) they do not warm up correctly at all. They are using a lighter weight, so they come into the gym and just do a set with a plate, maybe 2 sets, and then they start their DE work. I've learned the hard way, 3-4 sets with high reps are a minimum before the working weight is ever even thought about on DE days . For example tonight I warmed up several minutes of Indian club work, then foam rolling, then hip stretching, then the bar x 15 x 2 sets, 135 x 15 x 2 sets, 225 x 25, then 275 x 3 x 2 sets then added the chain and did my 9 working sets. After that I'll do board work (or tonight heavy triceps extensions) If I don't do that kind of a warmup, my elbows and shoulders kill me.

    The other thing is they don't move the weight with a dynamic effort, they ballistically jam the weight up and down. That beats the crap out of you. You have to maintain control of the bar, but still move it fast, ideally with perfect setup.
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    Multi ply: 960 squat, 770 bench, 550 deadlift and 2250 total.

    The next stop: PRO total.

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  12. #12
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    I am doing block and I would not say I am doing heavy bench twice a week. I am doing more moderate work twice a week with a lot more volume. Regarding recovery from two bench days like that, it's a b!tch. I am spending so much time on recovery it's crazy.

    WS brought me many 600 hundered pound benches. Those were in the shw's and 308's. It did not quite get me there at 275. I wanted to try a new approach. I do agree that some people do not hit enough volume on WS, myself included. Brian and I are trying to work out our own little twist for next time we do WS.


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    Day 1 (Saturday) is primarily shirt work for me. Warming up with a 3 brd then taking it to lower brds. I do 4 week phases working on my desired weakness or strength building. I do doubles increasing weight each set and each week. I will ususally try to push the envelope and then throw in a atleast two heavier singles. After shirt work is completed I try to do one more pressing movement with either straight weight or a sling shot repping to failure depending on how my body feels. I will do an additional chest assitance exercise for 4 sets and then one tricep assitance exercise for 4 sets.

    Day 2 (Tuesday) is primarily Lockout and speed work. Weather I also do this in 4 week phases. I will do the same exercise the entire 4 weeks be it straight weight 4 & 5 brd, or bands and chains lockouts or floor presses. Recently I have been feeling beat up from the heavy raw lockout work so I now do my lockout work with a loose single ply shirt. It protects my shoulders and lets me handler hevier weights without beating me up near as much. After I get done with lockout work I will do some type of speed press with a three broard. Exersises include Reverse band, Sling shot, Doubled Mini bands, or chains. I will throw in some Key presses and Tricep pushdowns supersetted with Single arm tricep extensions.

    This works for me. My training partners often complain that the work load kicks their ass but thats what its all about. I make time to ice and take contrast showers religiously. Allso throw in a lot of light shoulder work the following day to rush blood into my shoulders and it seems to help with my recovery.

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    Normal westside split, ME day on thurs, and DE day on Sunday. I've been playing around with my DE days lately as well. For the last few years, I would do 5-6 sets of speed work on DE day, and then work up the last 3 sets until i hit basically a max effort triple. About 8 mos ago I changed that to doing straight speed on week 1, working up a little bit on week 2, and going to a 3 rep max on week 3 all with the same combo of resistance (chains, bands, etc), and then afterwards I would move on to a new combo. Now, I've been doing straight speed work all the time, but I have added more volume pressing on both days. After my max lift, I'll hit a few moderate sets of 10-12 reps on the same or a similar exercise, close to but not quite to failure. After DE sets, I've been doing high rep DB press lately, 3 sets of 15-20 reps.
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    Senior Member 44pirate's Avatar
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    I'm am basically Raw lifter using WS. ME days, I do 8 week cycle, 2 week 3brd, 2 weeks 2brd, 2 weeks 1 brd and then 2 weeks to chest. Then DB benchs and Hammer bench press machine alternating these every 2 weeks. Heavy Tricep, heavy shoulder then back and bis.

    DE, I do 3week wave using monster minis. I work on my setup pausing on first rep blasting the next 2 with 3 different hand holds. Then my accessery work is about 80% of my ME day. At 54yrs old I find I need more recovery, so I look at DE as rehab recovery from my ME day.

    I've plateaued at 425 bench at 238, so I'm trying Schwabs bench cycle mainly using the ME for raw. DE i'm keeping the same.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    For those of you who are doing block, how do you keep from being beat up between sessions? I know for myself, sometimes I'm still a tad sore Friday after a wednsday so benching heavy Saturday would be just about impossible for me. Over time I think the slower recovery would just accumulate too much.

    For those of you who the speed days beat you up too much, my question would be what do you feel the difference is between benching heavy twice a week and one heavy/ one light that made you more likely to recover?

    Matt, on one hand I hear what you're saying about the speed development. Each one of us has a ceiling on how fast we are going to get, but how do you know where that is, and also how would you maintain that speed you've achieved without practicing it?

    Speed days (as prescribed by Louie) are for several things - 1)technique work 2)training explosive reactions in your muscles 3)a bench day more light in nature that will promote speed, recovery and muscle growth

    I get my ability to strain under max loads from my ME day. Personally I look at what a lot of guys do on their ME day and they are really lacking a lot of pressing volume. They come in, hit a max and shut it down. In addition, they really cut down on the triceps volume.

    Lot of times I hear that because I train twice on Wednsdays, I do the same volume as block training or benching twice a week so I shouldn't argue against it. However my response to that is that I keep it on the same day. So although I wake up Thursdays completely wore out, tired and sore. But I have an entire week to recover until the next heavy session and I always walk into my ME days ready to rock and roll.

    Good discussion! Lots of good info in here.
    I agree with you that it's hard to know where your top speed is. I think when you stop wondering, you kinds know, if that makes sense.

    I understand the ideas behind why Lou has a speed day. My form never breaks down on lighter weights unless I don't pay attention. I gte form breakdown with heavier weights. So for me, speed work was never really a technique builder because it was so light. I think for newer lifters it is a great tool.

    I practive my speed every set. Once I'm warmed up and i do my reps at 135 and 185, I press every weight after that like speed work. Obviously, once you get into the 80+%range it's not true speed work, but my intention is still there to push with maximal force.

    For me, reps have taught me to strain better than ME work. Those doubles and triples when you're already fried really makes you dig down and push to get the last rep.

    As for recovering during block, it's a bitch. I approach it like I have 3 weeks to beat myself to hell, then I spend a solid week recovering and resting to get back at it for the next block. The goal of the program is to beat the hell out of you, so I expec it and know it's coming. If I'm beat up then I know I'm doing the work. If I eat well, take my supplements religiously and ice etc... the week of each deload seems to be enough to help me recover in time for the next ass-whipping.

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    Great thread. I love hearing top guys discussing variations in training.

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    I use alot of Wade Johnson's methods. I do POR grip Decline Press on my 2nd bench day. Wade said the declines allows you to have 2 heavy bench days while avoiding overtraining the shoulders. Also he told me that POR grip makes the triceps the prime mover and it also builds pressing power for flat bench.

    I've hit alot of bench PR's since I started using this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    I get my ability to strain under max loads from my ME day. Personally I look at what a lot of guys do on their ME day and they are really lacking a lot of pressing volume. They come in, hit a max and shut it down. In addition, they really cut down on the triceps volume.

    Good discussion! Lots of good info in here.
    I have actually found the deliberate reduction in volume on heavy day to be very effective. I shirt immediately, work up to 3-5 heavy singles and then shut it down. It seems unorthodox, but I have been seeing good gains with it, and the next day my CNS is laying crushed under the feet of a dancing platypus.

    Indeed I have to argue with myself that I need to focus on the results, because it doesn't feel like I am doing enough work...

    To your original question: Second day for me is heavy lockout and tricep work. Typically raw boards, swissbar and pin presses but after reading Luyando's comment I think I might move some of that work to a loose shirt to keep my shoulders happy. It'll probably help remind me to keep my belly up too.

    Always nice to read a thread and come away with a good idea!

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    Sunday is ME work for us. We do anything from chains to bands to boards. After that its incline/decline, flies, rear delts, lats, and whatever else needs work. Wedneday USED to be speed work, then it went to crazy heavy lockouts, now its volume stuff. I basically do a full upper workout with extra tricep work in the 10-20 rep range.
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