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Tip of the week Tip: Bench press for fat loss

Tipps der Woche Tipp: Bankdrücken für den Fettabbau

It sounds crazy, but this challenging training session will not only test your manhood, but also set your heart and lungs on fire.

The bench press & pull-up challenge

  1. Load the bar with your body weight for the bench press part. Perform superset bench presses with pull-ups for 5 reps each.
  2. Perform 8 repetitions of each exercise. Pause when necessary to maintain good form when performing the exercise.
  3. You have 10 minutes to perform a total of 16 sets (8 sets of bench presses and 8 sets of pull-ups). If you need more than 10 minutes, stop after 10 minutes and record the number of repetitions. Beat this result next time.

Note: You should be familiar with both exercises. As you will experience fatigue, you should have a training partner at your side during the bench press.

Tip: Use load contrast training for new growth

Here's a new way to stimulate hypertrophy that you've probably never tried before.

By Christian Thibaudeau


Intra-set load contrast

This method utilizes the potentiating effect of heavy training. By performing a heavy exercise first, you excite the nervous system and neuromuscular junctions and activate more muscle fibers. If you immediately switch to hypertrophy training and use the same movement pattern, you will keep more muscle fibers active and stimulate more growth.

Use two different loads for both sets. Load the bar with 75% of your maximum weight. Then slide two locks onto the bar. Then add 10 to 15% extra weight to the outside of the bar before the locks. (The bar is now loaded with 85 to 90% of your maximum weight). This will make it easier to remove the extra weight faster before you perform the descending set. The whole thing looks like this:

Log Press: Intra Set Load Contrast

  1. Perform 1 repetition with the heavy weight (85 to 90%)
  2. Quickly remove the extra weight. Ideally a training partner should do this.
  3. Take the lighter weight and perform as many clean repetitions as you can without bouncing. This should be around 7 to 10 repetitions. If you can do more than 10 reps, increase the weight.

This method will build a lot of muscle mass. It will also get you used to using heavier weights, which will translate into maximum strength gains. Although this method can be used with any exercise, it is more suitable for heavy basic exercises such as squats, bench presses, shoulder presses, rowing, etc.

Tip: Perform one set for arm growth

Yes, just one set. A killer set that will make your eyes pop out of your head.

By Christian Thibaudeau


The multi-hold pump set

This technique takes pain to a new level. It is best used at the very end of a training session. Only do one set this way! This method overloads the muscle with tons of local growth factors and supersaturates it with amino acids.

For a tricep exercise, this method looks like this:

Tricep Press: Multi-Hold Pump Set

  1. Hold a weight isometrically for 20 seconds - ideally at the weakest point of the range of motion.
  2. Then perform 8 to 10 repetitions.
  3. Then immediately switch to a second hold without a break, targeting the same point in the range of motion - this time for 15 seconds.
  4. Perform 6 to 8 repetitions.
  5. Then immediately and without pausing, move on to a third hold targeting the same point in the range of motion - this time for 10 seconds.
  6. Complete the set with as many repetitions as possible.

You will feel your muscle really pumped up when you finish this set. It's a strange but fun feeling.

The same method can be used for the biceps. Perform the isometric hold in the middle of the range of motion of curls.

Tip: Build broad shoulders with this superset

You've never trained your shoulder muscles like this before! Take a look at this unique hypertrophy method

By Christian Thibaudeau


Partial repetitions / isolation superset

Like all supersets, this method involves performing two exercises directly one after the other with minimal rest. Here, however, the first exercise consists of a basic exercise performed in the form of partial repetitions in a non-accelerating manner. For the shoulder, it could look like this:

Partial repetitions shoulder press and side raise

Try to maintain a fairly slow speed of movement throughout the range of motion, concentrating on maintaining tension on the target muscle. Performing a partial repetition should take about as long as it would normally take to perform a full repetition. Perform 8 to 10 partial repetitions as well as 8 to 10 repetitions of the isolation exercise.

Not just for the shoulder muscles

The same training method can also be used as follows:

  • Chest muscles: perform the lower half of the bench press movement as partial repetitions and use cable pulls over circle as an isolation exercise.
  • Quadriceps: The upper half of squats and then leg extensions.
  • Leg curls: The middle section of Romanian deadlifts (from below the knees to the mid-thigh) and then leg curls.
  • Latissimus: The second half of lat pulldowns (contracted position) and then pulldowns with arms extended.
  • Biceps: The first half of a pull-up or lat pull-down and then barbell curls.

Tip: Train intelligently to the point of muscle failure

There is a right way and a wrong way to train to muscle failure for muscle gains. This is the right way.

By Christian Thibaudeau


Mechanical descending sets for muscle growth

This technique is based on the same principle as regular descending sets: Once you reach the point of muscle failure on an exercise, you find a way to continue training. Normally, you reduce the weight so that you can perform more repetitions. With mechanical descending sets, you keep the same weight and change the exercise slightly so that you achieve a mechanical advantage and can continue training the same muscle group.

A mechanical descending set can include two or three variations. Regardless of whether you use two or three variations, the order is always the same: you start with the variation in which you are weakest and work your way up to the variation in which you are strongest. When you reach muscle failure in the first variation, you can perform a few more repetitions in the next variation. For a shoulder exercise, it looks like this:

Front raise: mechanical descending set

  • Choose a weight with which you can perform 6 to 8 repetitions in the first exercise.
  • For the first variation, take the barbell with a close grip and perform front raises until muscle failure.
  • You then switch to using a shoulder-width grip and perform as many repetitions again until you reach the point of technical failure.
  • Finally, train again with a wide grip until muscle failure.
  • Use the same weight for all three variations of this exercise.
  • Pause for 10 seconds when moving from one variation to the next. This will not affect the growth stimulus and will allow you to perform 1 to 2 additional repetitions per variation.

Tip: Build shoulder muscles with tempo contrast training

This insane-looking muscle building technique is simple but tough! And you've probably never tried it before.

By Christian Thibaudeau


This muscle building technique is simple. During the same set, you alternate between very slow and fast repetitions - the fastest you can perform with perfect form.

More specifically, you perform 2 repetitions with a 5-second concentric phase and a 5-second eccentric phase, followed by 2 fast repetitions. This is called a cycle. Each set consists of either 8 or 12 repetitions (two or three cycles of four repetitions) or between 8 and 12 repetitions if you reach muscle failure before completing 3 full cycles.

An example would be log presses with the tempo contrast method.

This method recruits more muscle fibers due to the different types of contractions. In addition to this, alternating between slow and fast repetitions allows a temporary "trapping" of waste products within the muscles, leading to a release of growth factors that stimulate protein synthesis and muscle growth. The accumulation of metabolic products and blood trapped within the muscles results in a killer pump.

Other muscle groups and exercises

This method is not just for overhead presses. This method works particularly well for biceps, quadriceps (leg extensions and leg presses), hamstrings (leg curls) and chest (crossover cable pulls, butterflies, flying movements), as well as pressing exercises such as bench presses.

Tip: Tackle heavy weights with this CNS trick.

If your mind doesn't believe you're going to move a new personal maximum weight, then you won't be able to do it. Here's an approach that will help you activate your nervous system so you're ready for the task

By Rob King


Mental confidence is crucial when it comes to moving heavy weights. If the weights feel like they're going to crush you, they probably will. You need to convince your mind that it's ready for the task.

Here's a prime example. I was training to break the Canadian IPF squat record, which at the time was 210 kilos. My goal was to reach 211 kilos. My first step was to get used to standing there with the weight. The first time I was at that weight, it felt like my spine was going to shoot out of my body. After doing this a few times, I started walking around with the weight. Again, it felt heavy. My knees felt weak and my ankles hurt just from walking.

Over the course of two weeks, I walked a few steps with this weight. I remember thinking "I'm not going to be able to do a squat with this weight." The following week I did. The next week I did 2 single reps and 4 weeks later I moved that weight in competition and broke the squat record.

The trick: A CNS overload

The method is called a CNS overload and it will help you move weights that are in the range of 10 to 20% above your 1RM weight. It will also give you superior confidence when moving heavy weights and stimulate your nervous system.

When it comes to strength, your nervous system is the gatekeeper. You can have strong muscles and tendons, but until your nervous system is ready to handle the weight, you'll leave a lot of unused kilos in the tank.


Before your first squat or before you aim for a new 1RM, add 10 to 20% more weight than your standard repetition on the bar and hold it in the highest position for 5 to 10 seconds. Let's say you're trying to reach a maximum weight of 200 kilos on squats. Perform your warm-up sets as normal, but before your 200 kilo attempt, take 210 or 220 kilos on your back and take a step out of the rack.

  1. Tense your muscles, stand up straight with the weight on your back and take a step out of the rack as if you were going to do a squat, but don't actually do it.
  2. Hold the weight for 5 to 10 seconds while tensing the muscles as hard as you can.
  3. Then put the weight back down and reduce the weight to 200 kilos.
  4. Pause for 1 to 2 minutes and then set your new best performance. The 200 kilo squat will not feel nearly as heavy.

Bench press

Are you about to try to bench press 150 kilos? If so, follow these steps:

  1. Warm up as normal. Before you attempt the 150 kilos, take 160 to 165 kilos from the rack and simply hold this weight with outstretched arms. If 160 kilos feels easy, move on to 165 kilos (the exact weight will vary from person to person, so you'll just have to see how it feels).
  2. Squeeze your muscles hard and hold the weight with your arms straight for 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Put the weight down and reduce the weight to 150 kilos.
  4. Pause for 1 to 2 minutes and then set your new 150 kilo best again.


By Martin Rooney | 07/02/16

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