In one of my last blogs, I outlined my plan for a Prilepin bench cycle designed to increase volume and speed. This blog entry is about that second day, a speed day using the humble pushup.
In December, I experimented with a cycle that used push presses as a maximum effort exercise and inclined pushups done on speed day. Originally, I was going to use Dave Tate's beginners cycle of 20-30% bench 1RM for 15-20 sets of triples. When I tried that, though, the weight was too light - - - it was like trying to throw a wiffleball real fast. The pushups were better for me for three reasons: at 60-75% of bodyweight, a pushup uses so many muscles it feels lighter than that; it's good for GPP; and it teaches you to sychronize your pushing muscles with your back muscles better than the bench. The result was a 205 bench, the best I've done without actually benching.
15 sets of 3 were tougher towards the end, though: the reps eventually started to get slower. So. this week's second bench day will start with the minimum number of reps per Prilepin's table for that weight range: 24 reps, or 8 sets of 3. My feet are inclined 18 inches high on a platform, and I will use pushup bars to get the required depth. Each rep is done with a moderately fast drop with an explosive push but not enough to make the hands leave the ground - - - just short of that, maybe. My goal by the time my heaviest Prilepin bench cycle ends is 20 sets of 3. Some cycles will run two weeks long, like the first one. The other benefit of this is, of course, that it will help on my Navy test and I'll still be handling something heavy while I do this light cycle.
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