I have written a few articles on my push sessions but looking back they have changed each time.
Now, these are not drastic changes, but nonetheless, the workouts are different.
I have written on my contest prep training and post-show training. In prep, I emphasized chest and immediately post-show I was more delt focused.
I am constantly learning and monitoring my response to training and adjusting the plan accordingly.
I learned I don’t need as much volume to improve my chest as I have become more effective at recruiting the pec fibers during training, as well as starting with an overhead press is hell on my shoulder joint.
I also now know my delts can handle quite a bit of volume without causing detriments in recovery. So, what did I do with these learnings?
The Evolving Push Day Workout
I’ve made a plan that puts it everything into action. This push day will start with a lateral move, since you’ll be fresh and can put the most energy into the exercise and also pre-fatigue the delts for further training.
Shoulders are the priority this offseason, so it is reflected in the exercise order.
Next, we’ll hit 3 compound moves and really focus on progressive overload through heavy loading types of sets. Chest is hit first, followed by delts to keep shoulder joint health in mind.
After the heavy loading exercises, we’ll then get into some isolation/metabolic work sets. Shoulders will be trained first followed by chest. Finally, triceps being a strong point will be hit last in a superset fashion.
I wanted to lay out this thought process, so you can see how I program, and you can apply the same thinking to your training. Check out the workout:
|Cable Upright Row (Rest-Pause)||2||15-20, 20-25|
|Hammer Strength Flat Press||2||8-10, 15-18|
|Hammer Strength Decline Press||2||8-10, 15-18|
|Smith Machine Military Press||2||8-10, 15-18|
|Lying Cable Lateral Raise||3||Failure|
|Incline Cable Fly||3||Failure|
|A1. Cable Overhead Tricep Extension||3||15-20|
*Warm up sets are not included in the workout table, complete 2-3 warm up sets for each exercise.
*All work sets listed are to be taken to muscular failure. If form breaks then that is counted as muscular failure of the intended muscle working.
1. Cable Upright Row
For each rest pause set you will pick a weight and get as many reps as possible, rest 20 seconds, get as many reps as possible again, rest 20 seconds, and then get as many reps as possible one last time.
Add up all the reps you complete, and this should fall between the prescribed rep range of 15-20 or 20-25 reps. So, for rest pause set 1 you may complete 10 reps, then 4 reps, then 2 reps, which adds up to 16 reps total.
I prefer doing these lying on a flat bench made for cable rows. Lying helps stabilize the scapula and eliminates torso swing. This will take a lot of the momentum away and allow more tension directed into the delts. Make sure to pause at the top and control the weight down.
2. Hammer Strength Flat Press
The Hammer Strength press allows you to not have to worry about stabilization like dumbbells, so you can focus on trying to pull the handles together and really activate your chest. The seat height should be high enough that the handles are at mid-chest level.
Warm up to a work set of 8-10 reps trying to select a weight you fail within that rep range. I decrease the load 30% on the 2nd set to hit a high rep range. Using a reverse pyramid scheme allows you to push more reps with a lighter weight since you were previously accommodated to the heavier weight.
3. Hammer Strength Decline Press
Just like the Hammer Strength flat press, the decline press is another strict compound move for the lower pec fibers. This specific machine does a great job at getting the pec shortened and you will notice a very strong peak contraction. The seat should be adjusted so the handles are at nipple level.
The set execution will be the same as the Hammer Strength flat press, one low rep set and one high rep set.
4. Smith Machine Military Press
Now, that the chest was hit with two compound moves, shoulders are up next. The smith machine allows for a bar path that stays out in front of the torso, which can limit the shoulder pain caused by free barbell military press.
Set up the military bench in the smith machine to allow the bar to just barely miss your face coming down. Stop the bar at chin level and then press upwards. Really focus on a slow eccentric phase with this move, it will break down some delt fiber, but save the joint.
5. Lying Cable Lateral Raise
Like the lying upright row, the lying cable lateral makes a strict version of the dumbbell lateral raise.
Set up an incline bench between two cable systems with the cable set at the bottom position. I prefer using ankle straps to attach the cables to my wrist and be hands-free.
Lay on the bench and perform a lateral raise. You should aim to drive the pinky finger up first, which keeps the arm slightly internally rotated for more side delt activity.
You should be warm from the previous exercises so jump right into this work set since the rep count is high.
6. Incline Bench Cable Fly
The pecs have been hit early with compound moves to emphasize the mid and lower pec fibers, so now an incline cable fly can focus more on the upper pec fibers. Keep your incline bench from the lying cable laterals in the same spot to perform these.
Make sure to keep the scapula retracted the entire time. If the scapula protracts and comes loose, you are less stable and more likely to involve the delts in the movement.
7. Superset: Cable Overhead Tricep Extension & Dips
For the tricep extension, body position should be upright with your chest pulled up high. Lock your elbows by the side. For bodyweight dips try not to lean the torso over too far and use more chest.
For tricep extensions contract forcefully spreading the rope apart, give a 3 second eccentric phase. For bodyweight dips perform the movement with a 3 second eccentric and explosive concentric phase.
So, this workout is a great base to build from, but I want you to use this as a starting point to monitor progress. Take notes on what is improving what is not. Then adjust the plan for your own body.
Thanks for trying the workout and keep growing those delts, tris, and chest!