12 June 2011

Don't Do This Exercise At Home

... and for the sake of liability, you might not want to do this exercise, period.  The following exercise recommendation is for people who know what they're fucking doing in the gym, brass balls that's make bathyspheres look tiny by comparison in both mass and volume, and people with consider themselves to be immortal.  Conversely, that means beginners, people who consider themselves advanced but really have just lifted in a Nautilus gym for years like they're a modern day Arthur Jones, the easily injured and the timid should probably avoid this exercise like an Armenian should avoid a pack of rabid, sword-yielding Turks.
Yes, yes.  The Turks are absolutely terrifying.

What I have for you today, people, is none other than the Unassisted Reverse Grip Incline Bench Press.  By unassisted, I mean that there's no spotter within shouting distance... and the rest is hopefully self-explanatory.  I actually started doing these out of boredom one day in the gym, and found that I both love them, and that they seem to carry over nicely into my behind the neck push press and onto my reverse grip flat bench.  After I discovered these for myself, I determined that this exercise (albeit spotted) was a favorite of the Barbarian Brothers, who did all sorts of reverse grip exercises religiously.  This is one instance where my research didn't predate my execution, however, and I started doing these simply for something novel to do.
Who wouldn't emulate these guys?

I realize that most of you are at this point incredulous, as anyone who's ever tried reverse grips knows you need a spotter for handoffs, and that doing incline anything without a spotter is ill-advised no matter what grip you take.  I'll counter, however, that I actually think that this is better for your shoulders than regular grip, and provided that you're amongst the types of people I listed at the outset as capable of doing these, you should have no problem.
If you have a pic like this of yourself anywhere on the net, go ask your mom to help you find a spotter.

The key is in the setup:  to do these without a spotter, you will need to start from a standing position, leaning against the bench.  Take an even grip (I put the webbing of my thump in line with the break in the knurling on the bar, unrack the weight and place it on your upper chest.  Then, slide to the seat, reset, and commence the pressing.

An example:
I typically stick in the 1-3 rep range, as I am generally wont to do on everything.  I find that anything over that leaves me  fatigued and increases the risk of dropping the weight in my mouth.  As I'm hardly a pretty man, fucking up my face doesn't really both me, but keeping my teeth in my head does.  I've no intention of remaining in the South much longer, but should I be forced to do so, I would at least like people to recognize my Northern origins from the number of teeth that remain in my head- all of them.  Thus, any time the bar starts to go squirrelly on me, I either rack it on the low pegs or roll it to my lap and stand up.

Though I realize the massive amount of criticism I'll likely draw for making this suggestion, I don't give a fuck. If you're reading this, you're an adult who can make their own decisions.  If you cannot see the danger inherent in this, it's best if you die as quickly as possible, which means you should do this.  Irrespective, this lift is fucking awesome for the following reasons:
  1. It's pretty fucking extreme, which will add a little excitement into what is doubtless a fairly drab existence for those of you who aren't smokejumpers, trapeze artists, or professional Russian roulette players.
  2. It's far easier on your rotator cuffs than incline bench presses.
  3. It has added massively to my overhead pressing and locking power.
  4. For those of you who are image conscious, it is a hell of an upper chest builder.(cite)
Frankly, I could give a rat's ass about my upper chest, but I love this exercise.  Provided you don't suck, you're not litigious, and you want to try something new, you probably will as well.
A chest about which I care.

Bring the motherfucking ruckus.


  1. i'm trying this next chest day (with a spotter). i might have to start doing reverse grip flat bench as well.

  2. Why the incline? I imagine you would receive similar benefits from reverse grip shoulder press, or better yet, standing reverse grip shoulder press, would you not? (as far as improvement on lockouts and overheads are concerned)

  3. I never thought the incline press was all that bad on the shoulders, to be honest.
    Of course, I use it as an assistance to my overhead press and nothing more, so I don't use an extreme grip or heave it up.
    My grip and elbows are positioned in the same way they'd be if I were standing.
    Older lifters (Bill Starr in particular) fucking love the incline press, and sneer at the flat bench.

  4. This makes a lot of sense... as far as I understand, having the elbows point towards the feet in an any pectoral - ante.deltoid movement causes more efficient contractions. i.e. aTrainer Flys and supinated grip military press..

    oh, and that reminds me, I need to go erase my pictures and go find a spotter...

  5. Dude is that Gold's Gym in Charleston? and why the hell doesn't it let me post with my google account on here?

  6. 1) Nope. It's 24e in Birmingham. I'll be at the Gold's on James Island over 4th of July weekend though. If you want to get a lift in, let me know.

    2) I've no idea. For whatever reason, my Google employee passcard isn't letting me into the building today.

  7. A fellow strongman competitor used to tell me all the time that standing reverse grip overhead presses were the best thing for improving the log press. Since I was better at the log press than he was, I ignored the advice. Whatever floats your boat though.

  8. Sounds like fun but Im in Tucson. It just looked like the Ashley River Golds.

  9. Ok now its letting me post with my Google ID

  10. I used to lift in the World's Gym on Stone and Drachman... and amusingly, worked at La Mariposa for a while, haha.

  11. That worlds is a boxing inc now. Not sure what la mariposa was I usually lift at Golds downtown and or speedway. Ever been to the Driftwood on Craycroft in tucson?

  12. La Mariposa's out on the eastside- it's a country club, more or less. As for the Driftwood, never been. I pretty much only drank at Omalley's and Maloneys on 4th.

  13. The Driftwood is a bar on Craycroft on the east side. My brother and I just bought it.

  14. What up jamie. Haven't been on here in a while. Finally finished my degree and I'm done with the third world shit hole I've been rotting in for 6 years. Hit a nice deadlift and blew out my right groin. Been training with piece of intestine trying to shove its way out of my stomach for 6 months now since apparently government health care still considers it 'elective surgery' to get that corrected.

    Got to catch up on your old posts.

    -Make wussies shit pussies

  15. @Verb- congrats
    @WLC- I'll send my ex-wife over there to grab a beer after she finishes her finals. She's the only person I know who still lives in Tucson, and she's good people.

  16. Cool thanks dude we appreciate any business we can get especially good people. Tell her to ask for Nik. Its pretty cool that you still get along with your ex. I want nothin to do with mine.

    I dont know why but each time I want to post on here from my laptop I just about have to create a new profile with blogger. I have no problem with my droid though.

  17. i tried the reverse grip incline press today. i usually do around 225 with overhand grip, but with the reverse grip i couldnt do 135 more than twice. you can really tell that it works your upper chest more than a regular grip, though.

  18. I'm going to try this tonight instead of overhand grip. Should be interesting providing I don't drop it on my face.

  19. You get along with your ex? That is simultaneously a perfectly sensible thing to do, and completely insane by most people's standards. I should have expected no less.

  20. Hahahaha. Honestly, I make no concerted effort to buck trends... I'm just that awesome.

    She's a fucking cool chick though. At one point when we were married, she was rowing 155 lb dbs for reps without straps at about 140 lbs, and she once pulled a dude out of the driver's side window of his car and beat the shit out of him in a parking lot for cutting me off. Now, she's quitting electrical engineering to go back to school... to study neuroscience. You can see why we'd get along.

  21. I can see why you'd like her. Still looking for reasons for her to like you.. ;)

  22. You seem to have done a lot of research about the etiology of various lifting and nutrition myths/bullshit. Do you know where the "alcohol will kill ur gains!" nonsense came from? It's obviously bullshit given how much old school lifters drank (and that I've set most of my deadlift PRs after a night of heavy drinking), but it is still very prevalent on the internet. Just curious.

    I tried the reverse grip incline, and decided that I will wait to go heavy until I can find a football helmet.

  23. There's actually evidence to support the idea that have regular drinking will fuck up your lifting, but most of the studies seem to contradict one another. People like to cherry pick quite a bit. Between stone masons and old school lifters, however, I'd say there's a compelling amount of anecdotal evidence that would seem to destroy clinical evidence about the evils of drinking.

  24. I'll bet you can't guess which muscle in your body is the muscle that gets rid of joint and back pains, anxiety and burns fat.

    This "hidden primal muscle" is in your body and will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual performance, strength and athletic skill when developed.