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Thread: Cycling bands for DE Bench work

  1. #1
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    Cycling bands for DE Bench work

    New to this board but a long time member of the P&B, but that place isn't really into its Westside use so thought I might ask here. I currently have a 150kg Raw bench max and using 60kg for my DE work (45% of my max floor press). I don't have chains but do have bands so am currently going 3 weeks with doubled minis (27.5kg at bottom, 42.5kg at top), then 3 weeks with doubled mins and choked monster minis (27.5kg at bottom, 59kg at top), then upping the bar weight in light of whatever my new max is on the floor press and starting again.

    Is this a suitable approach to my DE work seeing as I have no chains or access to different bars? The other option to this I presume is to keep doubled minis a constant and vary the bar weight over a 3 week cycle. Any advice would be appreciated as I'm a bit lost about how to cycle my DE work at the moment with no chains (I'm about to start on a PhD so can't really afford the cash for chains for a while).

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    one thing ive done in the past is
    week 1 2 pairs of minis
    2 mini + monster mini
    3 doubled light bands
    All weeks is 9x3 w 40% at most.
    I used 135 for all 3 weeks. Ive also ran this twice in a row. I liked it VERY much but you need to be proactive in keeping your elbows healthy and might wanna reduce other work that is hard on your elbows.

    Another wave I have tried (from marc bartley i think) is
    9x3, 3 sets close, 3 medium 3 wide. First set is to a 2 board, second set 1 board, third set chest. Then repeat with other grips. You also do a full 3 second pause with press commands. This was done with 60-70%

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    You can use the bands however you want. I would keep the phases to 2-3 weeks tops. Also, DO NOT change your percents each time you hit a new PR. Run the whole cycle (8-12 weeks) with the same percents. I would run 40, 45, 50% then repeat for the rest of the cycle.

    Cycle 1 - straight weight (4 weeks)
    Cycle 2 - mini bands for 3 weeks (1 week straight weight)
    Cycle 3 - monster mini's 3 weeks (1 week straight weight)

    There's 12 weeks.

  4. #4
    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    When I talked to Travis Bell about this a few years ago he mentioned changing the band tension throughout the cycle. So rather than the 4 weeks each like Matt suggests above, you might go week 1 minis, week 2 chains, week 3 monsters, week 4 straight weight. Then repeat as such. There are many ways to do this sort of thing and will take some experimentation as to what works best for you. There are always guidelines, but flexibility is allowed.

    I do understand chains aren't an option for your current situation, was using them for example sake.
    Last edited by joey54; 08-03-2012 at 09:06 AM.


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  5. #5
    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    And Matt benches a ton more than me, so I would be inclined to listen to his advice for sure.


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  6. #6
    JERSEY IRON Brian C's Avatar
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    Just make sure the bar is moving fast no matter what. People over think DE work and dont get out of it whats intended. Keep it simple.
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    I like the idea that Travis mentioned, as well. The key, as mentioned above, is to move the bar FAST!

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    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    I have learned a lot about DE work over the years, especially chasing the same numbers I was hitting when I was 40+ lbs heavier.

    I used to only worry about speed. If it felt heavy I backed off. I had good results. However, I have had much better results pushing my load up to the 70% range. Of course this is not going to be as fast as 50%, but it's still faster than 90%+. I am not struggling to finish the reps, but I do struggle with how hard the work is. I have found the DE day to be just as important as ME, that is not something I always believed.

    Regarding the use of bands, I agree with Matt on waving the load. I have had very good success with this. My past cycle I used straight weight, then bands, then, bands and chains all in the same mesocycle. I dubbed that complimentary accomodating resistance. For my next training cycle I am going to try two mesocycles of accomodating resistance, the first will be solely with bands (and weights), and the second will be solely chains (and weight). Again, I will vary the load up to close to 70% at the top.

    I wanted to try this because I know bands can beat you up. With the second mesocycle getting close to my peaking phase, I thought chains would be more appropriate for that time. We'll see.


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    I would invest in some chains if speed work is important for you. I always loved that POP off the chest after going from 3 weeks of bands into chains.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    I have learned a lot about DE work over the years, especially chasing the same numbers I was hitting when I was 40+ lbs heavier.

    I used to only worry about speed. If it felt heavy I backed off. I had good results. However, I have had much better results pushing my load up to the 70% range. Of course this is not going to be as fast as 50%, but it's still faster than 90%+. I am not struggling to finish the reps, but I do struggle with how hard the work is. I have found the DE day to be just as important as ME, that is not something I always believed.

    Regarding the use of bands, I agree with Matt on waving the load. I have had very good success with this. My past cycle I used straight weight, then bands, then, bands and chains all in the same mesocycle. I dubbed that complimentary accomodating resistance. For my next training cycle I am going to try two mesocycles of accomodating resistance, the first will be solely with bands (and weights), and the second will be solely chains (and weight). Again, I will vary the load up to close to 70% at the top.

    I wanted to try this because I know bands can beat you up. With the second mesocycle getting close to my peaking phase, I thought chains would be more appropriate for that time. We'll see.
    I don't think the bands and chains are very accomodating. HA!

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    Thanks for all the replies, waited awhile to reply as I've been playing with the percentages a bit and wanted to test for a few weeks. Sticking with percentages based off my floor press for the band work but going to 50/55/65 of Raw max for straight weight days otherwise the lockout is so hard it gives me elbow problems. Just going to keep it simple for now and do 3 weeks with straight weight, 3 weeks doubled mins and maybe 3 weeks doubled minis plus choked monster minis (depending on bar speed).

  12. #12
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    If the lockout is that difficult, you are using too much weight or band tension or both.

    Also why use your floor press percentages? Use your best single full range as the spring board.

    What is your best full range press?


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    Sorry, phrased that badly. I meant that the lockout is too forceful -ie. the weight is too light and so the lockout is such a hard 'snap' that is gives me a bit of pain in the elbows.

    Max bench is 150kg at the moment. Using 45% of Floor press when using bands after reading this in the Book of Methods: "Speed bench with bands: These should be done for 89 sets of three reps. Use 45% of your 1RM on the floor press. The bands should provide 40 lbs of tension on the chest and 85 lbs of tension at
    the top." (p.89)

    Still open to suggestions, only have access to standard bar, full set of bands but no chains.

  14. #14
    illinois fattest lifter theBarzeen's Avatar
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    Do you do any reverse band benching in the rack?
    Just a thought, and something that has worked for me......
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    Yeah it's in my ME rotation but not a regular at the moment. Find it excellent for getting used to unracking and managing a bigger weight though for confidence.

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    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meatfish View Post
    Sorry, phrased that badly. I meant that the lockout is too forceful -ie. the weight is too light and so the lockout is such a hard 'snap' .
    That's an easy fix, just add more weight or more band tension. Things written in books are guides. Ultimately we are all different and have to experiment a bit to find what works best for us.


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    Quote Originally Posted by theBarzeen View Post
    Do you do any reverse band benching in the rack?
    Just a thought, and something that has worked for me......
    I had a lot of success with this as well. It also helps ease the tension on my ailing elbows

  18. #18
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    You do need to deccelerate a little towards the top to protect the elbows.

    Just like how you do with DE squats or the bar ends up bouncing off your back.


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