Q: I know you train at home, so you have limited exercise choices. But I train in a commercial gym with many alternatives. Should I ever change ideal exercises? Like for chest, there are some cool decline press machines and even dip machines that seem to be ideal. Should I change to gain? If so, how often?
A: The fact that you’re asking says a lot. Perhaps you’re getting bored with what you’re doing. You can change to gain, but you must be careful…
Review the top-five ideal-exercise factors on page 15 in Old Man, Young Muscle. Make sure you switch to an exercise that’s close to equal in “idealness” and not inferior.
For example, I remember the Hammer chest press machine in the commercial gym at which I used to train—similar to the one Jay Cutler is on above (but I used much more weight, of course). The handles were separate, so there was independent motion to reduce bi-lateral deficit, and the angle was correct for proper direction of resistance and range of motion, but…
The machine was designed so that the resistance increased as you reached contraction. Every time I used it, something didn’t feel right. I now know why—bad resistance curve.
The stretch felt great though. So you could use it after a couple of sets of a “true” ideal chest exercise—like decline dumbbell presses or cable chest presses. In other words, use the machine press as an add-on move…
And you may want to do it in 1 1/4 style. That’s full rep followed by a quarter rep at the bottom stretch. That will emphasize the stretch, as you’ll be doing twice as many bottom strokes as top.
What about machine dips for chest? We’ll look at that in the next training newsletter.
Note: This newsletter is now appearing in your inbox on Monday (Mass Mantra), Wednesday, Friday (Zen), Saturday, and Sunday—at least that’s the plan as I try to free up time to finish Old Man, Young Muscle 2. Thanks for reading.
Your Efficient Mass-Building Handbook: For more mass-building tips like the above plus complete workouts that include the ideal exercise for each muscle and the best stretch and contracted add-on moves, get your copy of Old Man, Young Muscle.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
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