Get Leaner and More Defined While Blasting Your Bench Press!

A while back we gave you a bulk-up routine designed to add power, mass and strength using big weights and low reps. (See Power and Bulk Routine). Now, we have a routine that will define and cut up that mass and bulk that you worked hard to gain. However, this routine has a twist to it. We are going to specialize on building up your bench press poundage with a special chest routine that will blast you through any bench press plateau that you might be experiencing. Most bodybuilders are always interested in improving their bench press and this is a good time to do it. The idea is that you will be blitzing and bombing your chest exercises while using lighter weights and more reps on your other body parts in order to define and cut up these areas. Throw in a few sessions of cardio per week and the mix is complete.

Let’s get started!

This is a 12 week routine where you will be weight training 5 days per week with 30 minutes of cardio at least 2 times per week and ideally 3 times per week. Cardio can be done at the end of your workout or on your off days. You will be doing 2 days of chest work per week with a special set and rep scheme that we will discuss in a moment. Your other body parts will be done on the remaining 3 days with a 3-4 set x 12 rep schedule.

Train your abs 2-3 times per week either with cardio on your rest days or at the beginning of your weekend as part of a warmup. This all important warmup should consist of some light cardio, ab work, and after light sets for the area you are going to work. Feel free to take extra rest days if you require them.

Monday – Chest (See chart below for set & rep details)

  • Bench Press
  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Weighted Dips
  • Close Grip Bench Press

Tuesday – Back

  • Barbell Rows – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Pull-Ups – 3 sets x As many reps as possible
  • or Lat Machine Pulldowns – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Pullover – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Standing Straight Arm Pulldowns
    (on lat machine) – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Shrugs – 3 sets x 12 reps

Wednesday – Rest day or 30 minutes of Cardio plus ab work.

Thursday – Chest

  • Same as Monday

Friday – Legs and Forearms

  • Squat or Leg Press – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Slide (facing in on the hack squat machine) – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Lying Leg Curl – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Calf Raise – 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Forearm Dumbbell Curl (up grip) – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Forearm Dumbbell Curl (down grip) – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Note: The Forearm Curls are to be done between sets of Leg Curls and Calf Raises. This is the staggered sets principal.

Saturday – Shoulders/Arms/Deadlift

  • Deadlift – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Seated Barbell Press – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Side Laterals – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Incline Curl – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Preacher Curl – 3 sets x 12 reps

Note: I put the Deadlift on this day because I did not want it to drain too much energy from your other back exercises. If you prefer, you could do the deadlift on back days in place of the shrug. The shrug could them replace the deadlift on this day, as some people like to practice the shrug with shoulder work. Different strokes for different folks!

For your non-chest days start with 3 sets for each exercise and after 6 weeks switch to 4 sets of each exercise for the remaining 6 weeks. Keep your rest periods between sets short in order to keep your heart rate up and to burn more calories. Since you are at an advanced level you can adjust this program to suit your needs. Perhaps you may want to change some of the exercises or the order in which they are done. If you like to do super-sets, add them where appropriate. Maybe you don’t want to blast your bench press with a power program at this time and would rather follow a chest routine more in line with the rest of the program such as doing the recommended chest exercises doing 3-4 sets and 12 reps with lighter weights. Throw in some lying flys or maybe some cable work to bring out definition and cuts. Cut chest back to one day per week and do cardio and abs on what would have been your second chest day. You will note that there are no direct tricep exercises. This is because the triceps are worked indirectly pretty heavily on chest days especially with Close Grip Bench Presses. If you want to work the triceps directly, do one or two light moves on Arm day. Just be sure your triceps are fully recovered for the heavy chest draining days when the triceps play a big part in bench pressing moves.

As far as diet is concerned you need to cut back from your power and bulk eating by at least 500 calories per day while still eating 5 smaller meals a day. Remember to keep your protein high with at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight. Increase your fruits and vegetables to help with increased energy needs and be sure to eat immediately after working out with a lot of protein and simple and complex carbs to feed hungry muscles and replace glucose supplies.

Now for your power bench press and chest routine that will add big pounds to your bench and give you armor plated pecs!

Your first chest day (Monday) will be your heavy day and your second chest day (Thursday) will be your light day where you will do more reps and use less weight. Rest a full 3 minutes between each set and be sure to warm up with general light cardio and 2 sets of light bench presses before you start your actual working sets. This will get the blood flowing and warm your shoulders and pecs.

Try to add poundage on your heavy days every other week, even it is only 3 to 5 pounds. Don’t strain but always make a big effort to push more weight at this time even though ultimately you must progress at your own pace. Be confident that you will get stronger in the bench and add more muscle mass to your chest at the end of this 12 week program.


If you are an experienced bodybuilder and would like to kick up the intensity a notch or two, try using negatives every other week after the first 4 weeks. On your heavy day (Monday), add a fourth set of 3 heavy negative reps to each exercise in the chest routine. Do only one set of negatives per exercise and do this only every other week on your heavy day. Remember this is an advanced training technique and is only to be used by experienced body builders who can handle the additional stress. Also, it is very important to have a spotter or training partner who is capable and strong enough to give you the necessary assistance with these chest exercises and especially when you are doing heavy negatives.


There you have it. Be diligent and try not to miss any workouts. If you do, get back on track and pick up where you left off. 12 weeks from now you should be much improved in the bench and your overall look will be leaner and more defined. Good luck.…

Blitz Your Biceps with the “Tri-Blasting” Training Principle!

I was looking through an old 1963 edition of Muscle Builder magazine that I have had since I was about 14 years old and came across an article written by Joe Weider, “The Trainer of Champions”, that brought back a lot of old memories. The article was on Joe’s new Triple Range Training principle and he said if I had the necessary guts, will power, and zeal this revolutionary principle would enable me to “Bomb” and “Blitz” my wimpy biceps into massive herculean proportions. Here is what the introduction to the article said:


“Here is the most astounding muscle-building principle ever revealed by the Weider Research Clinic. It is so far-reaching in scope…so sensationally effective in action and so monumental in its astounding results that it is absolutely light years ahead in scientific muscle-building. Here is a definitive analysis of “Tri-Bombing” the biceps by the Trainer of Champions.”

Wow! I was psyched! I just had to keep reading what the Trainer of Champions had to say about this revolutionary new training principle. Joe went on to say, “It’s totally new…something so daring, so different that I’m sure it will excite you to just read about it. You will actually be driven to apply this effective principle to your workouts…beginning with the very next one!”

Holy Cow! Joe was right! I was so mentally pumped as any 14 year old could be. Tell me more Joe, I want to “Blitz and Bomb” my wimpy arms like never before! Baseball Biceps here I come!

In all upper case type the headline read, “NOTHING TO BUY…NOTHING REQUIRED BUT ZEAL!” What the heck is zeal anyway, Joe? I hurried to the nearest dictionary to find out that ZEAL meant enthusiasm. “Oh, Joe…Man, I have so much enthusiasm, I’m about ready to burst! Com’on tell us already what this Tri-Bombing deal is all about!

Joe proceeded to explain in great detail what Triple Range Training or Tri-Bombing was and how to apply it to bicep training. In case you’re interested, I actually added about one inch to my upper arms over a three month period when I was a kid with this training principle. So, the “Trainer of Champions” wasn’t jiving us after all!

I will now summarize Tri-Bombing for the biceps in hopes that you will give it a shot for a couple of months to shock your biceps to new growth. Just because it’s old school doesn’t mean it won’t work.

Let’s start with the Strict two arm barbell curl.
The lower part of the bicep and the brachialis muscle (under the bicep) are activated as is the belly or middle section of the bicep to some degree. Almost nothing was done for the upper part of the bicep that gives height and peak.

Now with the Cheating Barbell Curl you load on more weight than the Strict Curl and you give the weights a slight shove or cheat with your hips just to get the bar moving. Then you curl the heavier weight to the shoulder. The cheat curl mainly attacks the belly or middle of the bicep and only works the lower biceps briefly as the weight is returned to the starting postition. The upper arm doesn’t get worked much so the peak is not developed.

With the bent over Concentration Curl you work mainly the upper part of the bicep that gives your arm peak or height when flexed. With the Concentration Curl you are forced to use a light weight so the development of the belly or middle of the bicep is hindered. Also the brachialis or lower arm is automatically disengaged because of the bent over position.

As can be seen from above examples there are weak areas and strong areas of the bicep. No one type of curl fully develops the three sectors of the bicep muscle at one time. This is where Triple Range training or Tri-Bombing comes into play. With this method all three sectors of the bicep will be attacked from different angles with three different exercises in a tri-set fashion. This ensures complete development of the lower bicep (brachialis area), middle bicep (belly), and upper bicep area (peak).

Now for the exercises:

Triple Range Tri-Set #1:

1. Incline Board Partial Curls with Dumbbell

Stand behind the raised board of an incline bench with the curling arm lying flat on the board and the body supported and steadied with the top of the bench in the armpit. Now, with as heavy a weight as you can handle that will permit you to raise you arm no more than a few inches upward in a series of partial or curl beginnings. this will attack the lower bicep. Do this one set for 10 reps and immediately repeat with the other arm for ten reps. Take a brief rest and move on to the next exercise. Editor’s Note: This exercise can also be done on a preacher bench (sometimes called a Scott Bench because it was popularized by Mr. Olympia Larry Scott).


2. Cheating Barbell Curls

Take the heaviest weight you can maneuver and with a slight thrust of the hips and legs curl the barbell to the shoulders and lower it very slowly. Remember to only thrust the weight just enough to get it started. This attacks the belly or the middle of the biceps. Do this for 10 reps, take a brief rest and quickly move on to the next exercise.

3. Bent Over Dumbbell Concentration Curl

Bend over with your right arm extended straight down and with your right elbow resting on your right knee. Now and the dumbbell to your shoulder strictly and with no cheating or thrusting. Mentally concentrate and when your arm reaches your shoulder tense and squeeze the bicep then return slowly. This will strongly attack the peak-part of the upper biceps.

As you can see all three sectors of the biceps were strongly worked in each type of curl range. That’s why Joe called it the Triple-Range Tri-Set. Here’s another Tri-Bomb variation that Joe claimed Larry Scott, the first Mr. Olympia, used to work his famous biceps.

Triple Range Tri-Set #2

1. Larry Scott Extension Curl

Rest a barbell on power stands or on the uprights of a bench press. Adjust the height of the stands so that when you are holding the bar at the start of a curling position, your arms are pointing downward at a 45 degree angle. The idea is to make sure your elbows are slightly bent and not locked when starting out like you would be in a standard curl. From this position do half-curls bringing the weight about half-way upward toward the shoulders and then immediately beginning your next rep. By touching the stands your elbows are not allowed to lock and will be slightly bent at the beginning of each curl. This will attack the lower bicep area. Do 10 reps and take a brief pause and quickly move on to the next exercise.

2. Sitting Cheating Curl

Sit on a bench with a heavy barbell resting on your thighs. Placing a thick towel or rubber pads on your thighs will make this more comfortable. Now, with a little body heave and a slight thrust of the back, curl the weight to the shoulders. Lower it slowly to the thighs and repeat. This will attack the belly or middle biceps. Do 10 reps and take a brief rest and go to the next exercise.

3. One-Armed Cable Curl

While standing, grasp a cable pulley handle with one hand and while keeping this arm extended to the front and parallel to the floor, curl the handle to the shoulder. At this point tense the upper bicep almost forcing a cramp into them before returning slowly to the starting position. If necessary use your other hand to keep the elbow of your working arm straight and parallel to the ground. This exercise attacks the upper peak area. Do 10 reps.

This completes “Triple-Range Tri-Set #2” and again all three sectors have been worked. The article suggested to do five complete Tri-Bombing or giant sets of each group…five of #1 and five of #2. That is probably too much for the average person starting this routine so the article goes on to say if your biceps can’t stand so much bombing at first, then do “Tri-Bombing #1 for two consecutive times and “Tri-Bombing #2” for another two consecutive times. Increase the number of sets as you get stronger.

This is a pretty tough routine but as I said earlier it helped me gain an inch on my upper arms during a three month period back when I was 14 or 15 years old. Joe Weider ended the article by saying, “Now go to it. ‘Tri-Bomb” your biceps. Blitz them into ‘Mr. America’ size and shape. Remember: It’s another Weider Research Clinic first!”…

Forgotten Exercise – The Handstand Press-Up Against Wall

If you watched the recent Olympic Games from Greece you probably noticed the strong shoulder and arm development on the male gymnasts. This comes from many hours of practice with the execution of pressing into a handstand as the main catalyst for the majority of their complex moves.

Back in the 1950’s and early 1960’s the Handstand Press-Up was used by many bodybuilding and fitnesss enthusiasts to develop their shoulders into “Cannonball Delt” proportions.

Originally used by early gymnasts and hand balancers to get into a handstand, this movement was embraced by early bodybuilders who saw its muscle building potential.

For some reason (probably because it is difficult – no panty waists allowed!) this exercise lost popularity and is rarely seen today.

Let’s start a Handstand Press-Up revival! (No Girlie-Men need apply!) This exercise bombs the shoulders (deltoids), arms (tricep area), back, and a host of stabilizer muscles used for balancing under resistance. Also, you’ll increase your poundage in the military press as this exercise attacks the same muscles but from a different angle. As an extra added bonus there is no equipment needed except a wall and with a little extra practice you can learn to do a true handstand without the help of the wall.

To start, place your hands on the floor about shoulder width apart and approximately 12 to 18 inches from a wall. Experiment to find a handspacing and distance from the wall that is comfortable for you. Kick up into the handstand position with your feet resting against the wall. It helps to be barefoot or in socks. Next, keeping your head back, slowly and deliberately bend your arms and lower your body until your forehead is almost touching the floor. Now with your feet still against the wall press your body back up to where you started by straightening your arms. This is a difficult exercise, especially for women, and you may be lucky to do only one rep at first. If this is the case start off by doing “negatives” which in this case would mean to start from the arms straight position and very slowly lower your body to the low position resisting all the way. Repeat these “negatives” for several reps. Gradually with patience and practice, over time you will be able to push yourself back up to the top for several repetitions.

To make this exercise even harder you can place a thick book under each hand. This will force you to lower your body even further thus placing more stress on your arms (triceps) and shoulders (deltoids). However, this is a more advanced version that will take a bit of practice to work up to.

After you have acquired the control, balance, and strength necessary to do this exercise correctly you can gently push your feet away from the wall and try to maintain a true handstand position as long as you can. If your legs fall down to the floor, be persistent and kick them back so that your feet are touching the wall and once again gently push them away like before. Again, hold this unassisted handstand as long as you can. Like everything else in life, practice, practice, practice is the key to success!…