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Advanced Bench Press Training – Pre-Exhaustion and High-Tension Training

Advanced Bench Press Training

Pre-Exhaustion and High-Tension Training

In a recent workout I started experimenting with combining different protocols.  I was tired of the same old workout and I was in a rut.  After a few sets, I came up with something that felt like I was ripping the muscle off the bone.

I used two unique protocols together in the same set; pre-exhaustion and high-tension training.

Pre-exhaustion training is a protocol where you fatigue the primary muscle groups by performing an isolation or compound exercise prior to the main lift.  For example, if you are performing a set of dumbbell military press, you could perform a set of banded tricep extensions prior to the set.

For pre-exhaustion training you should hit a moderate to high rep range, somewhere in the 12-15 rep area.  The pace should also be moderate with a controlled eccentric/concentric flow.

I combined this protocol with a high-tension training protocol.  High-tension training is just a method where you focus on the contraction and time under tension (TUT) of the movement.  The pace slows down and you focus on contracting hard throughout the range of motion for each rep.  If you’ve ever tried to slow the tempo down for ANY movement, you’ll know that the lowering (eccentric) isn’t the bad part, it is the raising (concentric) phase.  When you start slowing down the drive, that is when you want to get some warm milk and have Mommy tuck you in.

For this phase of the set, I used a rarely known exercise – the crush dumbbell bench.  It is perfect for what we’re doing.  You perform the exercise by taking the same dumbbells and pressing the ends against each other.  This causing a serious irradiation effect across the pecs, shoulders, triceps and your upper back.  Combine that with the slower tempo and you have the recipe for muscle building and serious mental toughness.  The slower tempo is also amazing for building stability into the shoulders and improving your reversal strength potential (see POWER!).

If you listen to the video closely, I think you can hear me whimper and cry a little bit.  I actually had to take a rest between the 3rd and 4th reps so that I could wipe the blood from my eyes.

Here is how it looked:

Attempt this protocol at your own risk.  It is not for everyone, just those looking to get results, take their training to the next level and be a man.


By on February 10th, 2012


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Comments (12)

  1. Posted by - Big_in_Japan on February 10, 2012

    How many sets did you do?

    • Posted by - Smitty on February 10, 2012

      I did 4 sets of this.

  2. Posted by - kläder on February 10, 2012

    Hey ,thanks for those useful posts.

  3. Posted by - kläder on February 10, 2012

    Hey ,thanks for those useful posts.

    • Posted by - Smitty on February 10, 2012

      Thanks kläder.

  4. Posted by - Jimb on February 10, 2012

    Would palms facing in grip work just as well for this? Great vid and you deserve to be tucked in and have your milk after that!

    Cheers – Jim

    • Posted by - Smitty on February 10, 2012

      Haha, thanks Jimb. It will definitely work.

  5. Posted by - Rick Walker on February 10, 2012


    Using super slow, or time under tension, has all but eliminated my shoulder pain. Try it for squats…yeeoww!


    • Posted by - Smitty on February 10, 2012

      We’ve done it, it is murder.

  6. Posted by - parasite symptoms on February 11, 2012

    Many thanks for the article, it was interesting and compelling. I discovered my way here through Google, I’ll return one more time 🙂

  7. Posted by - Brad on February 13, 2012

    I will definantly give that a try, looks painful!!

  8. Posted by - Andy on February 16, 2012

    I can only imagine how effective your ‘Step 2’ is, and I can’t wait to try it!

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