New Member Introduction Followed by some Chest/Shoulder/Bench Questions...

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    tjd4201's Avatar
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    New Member Introduction Followed by some Chest/Shoulder/Bench Questions...


    Hi everyone, I've been reading these forums for a while but this is my first time posting.

    Before I get to my questions, I'll give a brief back story.

    I am 26 yrs old, 6'6", my weight fluctuates between 215-220 right now. I was a high school basketball player who never touched a weight until about the age of 21. I graduated high school around 240 lbs, went off to college, got high a lot and ate a lot of campus food. Needless to say, I maxed out around 270 lbs somewhere during the sophomore second semester/summer between soph/jr years. After spending the summer feeling like a fat **** and knowing I was on the fast track for 300+, I decided to make some changes in my life. I decided to take up weight lifting. During the fall semester, I did a MWF, upper body workout. I did a lot of research and watched the football players/wrestlers/etc. to learn to do lifts legitimately. I stuck with it and lost a few pounds and felt good. However, when I went back for my second semester, I had a kidney stone like 5 days into it. While dealing with approx 5 week health ordeal (it was too big to pass naturally, so they went up my urethra to break it up, inserted a stent, realized the didn't get it all, went up my urethra again, had the stent removed weeks later). I realized how important diet was to life as well. So from that experience forward, my main focus in life has been myself; my body and my health. Cause really, when it comes down to it, that's all I have. Everything is superficial compared to my heath these days.

    Needless to say, once I recovered, I got back into the gym, kept at it for the rest of college, graduated around 240ish again. Stronger than my high school 240, so I was pretty proud at that point. When I moved back home, I joined a gym, and have been going off and on for the past almost 4 years. Mostly on though. I have taken a few months off two or three times. However, I have been going hard for about the last year. Like not missing more than one or two workouts for the entire year. I workout like 5-7 days a week. The way I look at it, I don't really have anything better to do, I'll just sit around and do nothing otherwise. I do chest/tri, back/bi, shoulders/tri workouts mixed up depending on soreness. I mix in abs and cardio (intervals on stationary bike or 2.1ish mile outdoor hilly loop by my house now that it's getting nice out again), some days I'll do just those two. I feel I do a good job of cross training right now. I started to do some leg lifting at the beginning of this year. I did it once a week for about a month, but I decided to give it up. I was sore for like 5 days afterwards each time. My job is like 95% walking around a production floor so work sucked and I looked like a bitch I'm sure, and it also derailed my cardio and I was gaining a few lbs. So I decided to curb it. I am running some 5ks starting on 3/31 so I need to not fall off my cardio game. I might revisit it again in the fall after 5k season and just man up w the soreness, not sure yet. I really have my diet down pretty good I think. My weight is down to my all time low right now with me being as strong as ever. So I feel good about that. But I want more!! Haha.

    I've been working out at a Planet Fitness, so I haven't really been using heavy free weights since college. They have smith machines, which I use to bench sometimes, but I don't really like. I mainly use the 60 lb dumbbells they have (that's the heaviest) to bench with. I mainly focused on body weight exercises (pushups, dips, pullups) so I have still been able to work to failure and get pretty strong I feel. I can do 50+ pushups, 25+dips, 12-15 close grip pullups, 6-8 narrow grip, still working towards that wide grip pullup, I've been doing negatives and am getting close. I recently started working out w my friend at a Gold's Gym and have access to everything pretty much. I still go to Planet Fitness when I workout by myself but I am going to make the switch myself very soon.

    I feel as if you get where I am at now, now onto my questions!!!

    So my friend and I got onto the bench for the first time @ Gold's like two weeks ago. The bench workout I did was 145x12, 185x10, 225x4, 225x3ish, 225x3ish, the like 2 or 3 225 negatives. We did some other chest/tri workout exercise afterwards but no more than like ten more total sets. The front of my shoulders and my triceps were tired and sore for a few days but my chest was good to go, like no soreness at all. A few days later, him and I weren't on the same page, either schedule or soreness wise, I don't remember. But I did a chest workout at PF. DB bench w 60s 1x20, 2x10, DB flies w 35s 3x10, DB pullovers w 60s 3x15, all supersetted w sets of 10 pushups immediately afterward. I did some other ****, about ten more sets. My chest was sore as hell from that. I just did another legit bench workout @ Gold's yesterday. 145x12, 185x10, 225x6, 225x4ish, 225x3ish, the like 4 245 negatives. About ten additional sets. We ended the workout by putting 45s on the bench and burning out. I failed at 8!!! I was pissed so after my friend got like 20, I tried again. Failed at 8 again!!! So I feel as if I put some quality work in. But once again, my chest is feeling fresh. So I feel as if my chest is way stronger than my shoulder/triceps muscles.

    Do you guys agree with my diagnosis? What can I do to try to even things out? I am guessing shoulder press and incline work but I am not really too sure. Does it even matter? If I keep benching and using other heavy free weights, will things take care of themselves?

    I am open to all advice/questions/comments/criticism. I am just trying to get a feel for what I should be focusing on going forward. I work out with a partner sometimes but at least 60% of the time I am solo, so I need some exercises I can do safely w/out a spotter too.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to give me some feedback.

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    Tomorrow is chest/shoulder day. Any suggestions?
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    Yikes dude, that is a lot to take in! haha

    ok, first and foremost, you slipped in "about ten more sets..." a few times. Are you seriously doing ten more sets of chest in addition to what you have detailed here? If so, you're first step should be to cut back the volume and up the intensity

    a few observations:

    you seem to get sore when you work out by yourself, but not with your friend.. hmm... I see a lot of "friends" who are workout partners that jock around for hours in the gym with the workout intensity of betty white. I'm not saying this is you, but I know that I stay focused and push myself to the limits when I workout alone, and if I have someone trying to talk to me I never get the same caliber of workout in. Even if you push sets to failure, think about how you really feel after the workouts. Do you want to lie on the bench in the locker room sick as a dog because you pushed yourself so hard during your workout? Notice that a lot of big guys like to train alone (its not because they dont have friends haha). something to think about

    As for the chest and shoulder thing, i've been there. Bench has always been my best lift. Back when I was a little lighter... I could bench twice my bodyweight. Pecs are definitely my most "gifted" muscle, I cant say the same for my shoulders. I used to have soreness in my shoulders from benching, then I learned how to bench. Seriously, bench press form is really hard, especially if you are going for heavy lifting, which it seems you are (all the negatives...). Since really focusing on perfecting my form, my shoulders don't get sore from bench anymore. Your pecs are always going to be a bigger muscle than your front delts, the trick is getting your delts to do almost nothing during the lift. I remember watching a video where victor martinez was interviewed while watching footage of himself benching, and he was complaining that he was benching wrong because he could see his delts flexing

    To bring up the shoulders, definitely do some heavy shoulder presses with BB and dB. Upright rows can be great for the front delts, but also can be hell on the rotator cuff and wrist, so you would have to assess your tolerance.

    oh ya, and try benching with a wider grip to take some of the workload off your triceps. It sounds like you have some long arms, so I would grip with index fingers on the grip rings.

    hope this helps
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