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  • Situps and Bench Press

    Two major things I'm working on...

    I'm trying to increase my number of situps... Currently around 40 in a minute. Question is, is it better to just keep adding reps to my workout, or vary the exercise? I'm considering this from a "grease the groove" perspective.

    When I can do them at my gym (about twice a week, I work on the road), I do decline situps. Should I start adding weight to decline situps, even though that will reduce my reps? I typically do three sets of 25-30 situps when "normal" on a mat. On the decline bench, I do 25/20/20. If I add weight, I can probably knock out three sets of 15.

    Any suggestions for other ab exercises that will really step it up for me? Like I said, I only have about two days a week to use my gym. Otherwise, it's all body weight or dumbells at a hotel gym.

    Secondly, I'm looking to ease the effort of benching my body weight. I've only been lifting for a month or so (I haven't done much barbell exercise in my life), and using barbells is limited to twice a week. Any thoughts on some dumbbell or body weight exercises I can do to help me ease the bench press? I typically only have dumbbells up to 50 lbs in a hotel... I can easily do dumbbell presses, alternating dumbbell presses, pushups, etc., but which will be most effective?

    I'm doing the "starting strength" program with some slight modifications at the moment. When I'm home, lots of squats, overhead presses, deadlifts, bench press, pullups, and chinups. I add curls and dips for some more arm work, as well as situps and a running program.

    Any advice or modifications would be appreciated.

    (Sorry for the fragmented post, I'm trying to hurry typing this)
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence to those who would do us harm." - George Orwell, April 4, 1942

  • #2
    Doing chest exercises I utilize many different things in the gym. Obviously there is always the barbell bench. I do flat bench, incline bench and decline bench utilizing the barbell. Then you have dumbbells, which I also use, typically on flat bench. If you're limited to only dumbbells then yes, push ups are also extremely effective. You can always place your legs on something that is raised, making it more difficult. The more you do, the stronger you will get, no doubt. Just make sure that you're taking enough protein, eating good foods etc.

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    • #3
      Those compound exercises you do in Starting Strength (Squats, Press, Hang Clean) are all great for your core. You will develop ab strength just by using correct form and advancing in weight.

      For an increased bench press just follow the program. You shouldn't be doing other stuff. However, with your travelling situation, I would just stick to pushups. Do incline, decline, close grip and wide grip. It's better than nothing, and depending on your bodyweight, probably heavier than the 50lb dumb bells.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by FlyChicaga View Post
        Secondly, I'm looking to ease the effort of benching my body weight. I've only been lifting for a month or so (I haven't done much barbell exercise in my life), and using barbells is limited to twice a week.
        Do you know what your one rep max is? If you tell me this I can tell you what weight to use for max strength gains. I added 50LB's to my one rep max on bench in a little over a month during high school using the suggestions I will give you. I was doing it Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to achieve this. The reps of the program are 5,4,3,2,1,1,1,3. The weight for those sets is based off your max. For instance last time I maxed I was able to get 245 in one rep (I think decent since I weigh 160LB and have just started lifting again). The weights for 245 are:

        5-145
        4-170
        3-190
        2-215
        1-230
        1-230
        1-230
        3-190


        If anybody wants to know what weight to do just ask. I would attach the file but it won't let me attach an excel file.

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        • #5
          To answer this question correctly I would ask why these specific goals? If you are trying to prepare for a test where these are the standards then I would tell you just do lots of situps, do them fast and explosive, do multiple sets with no more than 30 sec break in between, take your self to failure for the last 2-3 sets, this will help train the muscles to get good at this specific task. same with easing benching your body weight, if you can do it now atleast 5 times do multiple sets going to failure on the last one. you can also do pyrimiding where you start ata lower weight do 5 reps, increase weight do 4 reps, increase do 3, increase do 2, increase do 1 when you can complete the last set go up in weight on the initail set. You can choose any number to start with lik 10, then 8, then 6. The key is to stress the muscles so they recruit more fibers, and then thicken those fibers. You don't want to do a muscle like the pecs really more than twice a week ( so on those two days hit it hard) if training for strength. But real wide pushups will focus on the chest and increase stamina in those muscles.

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