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Increase Your Chest Growth Zone Training For Dumbell Bench Press

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You may or may not be familiar with a very cool training concept called "Zone Training". The concept was originated by Brian Johnston of IART and it's VERY effective for completely overloading the entire range of motion of an exercise.

At it's simplest, you basically break the range of motion of an exercise into two or three segments (i.e. zones) and work on those segments SEPARATELY, focusing on the first segment, then the second, then the third.

Brian has a book that describes Zone Training (also called JReps) in much greater detail. You can read more about Zone Training by clicking here.

I HIGHLY recommend grabbing this book if you're interested in the technique. Brian explains the hell out of it and it's excellent stuff :)

And since I'll be demonstrating this technique with bench press, we'll use bench press for the example!

It's a KILLER technique and, believe me, it will put TREMENDOUS overload on your muscles.

Basically, the problem with regular reps over a full range of motion is that your leverage changes of the range of motion. When doing a full-range bench press, you can only use as much as weight as you can get past the very WEAKEST point in the range of motion.

So THAT is the only point of the exercise that's getting fully loaded. When you're at the top, you could really use a LOT more weight because the leverage is better. That's what cam-based machines try and do - change the leverage of the exercise match the strength curve of the exercise (the strength curve is a chart of that change in leverage, if you're not familiar with the term).

It's also what partial training accomplishes. By focusing only on a specific range of motion, you can target your weights to that specific range of motion. It's how I can do 600 lbs on the top few inches of the bench press but have to use a whole lot less when doing full range reps.

What Brian has done with Zone Training is allow you to focus on those specific range of motion in the exercise but WITHOUT changing weights. He uses fatigue principles to change the resistance.

What THAT means in English is that you'll do partial reps in the weakest range first then in the middle range then, when you're most fatigued, you'll do partials reps in your STRONGEST range.

It may sound a bit confusing but once you see it in picture and video, you'll be able to get the meaning pretty quick. It's a great concept and VERY effective.

So the first Zone that you start with is the WEAKEST segment of the range of motion of an exercise. With the bench press, that's the bottom third of the range, from the chest to just a few inches above.

Use a moderate weight the first time you do this type of training. It's tough stuff and you'll burn out faster than you think.

You will be doing a total of 24 REPS of this Zone Training exercise - 8 reps in each segment of the range of motion.

So get the dumbells into position like you were doing a normal bench press. I prefer to do dumbell bench on the Swiss ball - it allows you to wrap your back around the ball and drop your hips to help open up the rib cage.

(Never mind the weight vest I'm wearing - that was just something I was experimenting with at the time I shot this)

ANYWAY, get into the bottom position of the dumbell press then press the dumbells up to JUST BELOW the sticking point.


Increase Your Chest Growth Zone Training For Dumbell Bench Press

Move your mouse on and off the picture to see the range.


Then bring them back down to the bottom again. Use a controlled movement - no bouncing. It's deliberate but short press with a hold of a second at the top and the bottom to help take any momentum out and keep tension on the target muscles.

Do your 8 reps in this bottom range of motion.

In NORMAL Zone Training, you actually move immediately to the next Zone (the middle) with no rest.

In the video, you'll see that I actually set the weight down and rest 20 seconds THEN go to the middle section. This is another way to perform Zone Training - this brief rest allows you to use somewhat heavier weights because you're able to clear out some of the waste products (Lactic Acid, etc.) that accumlate during the set.

So here's the middle section - start with the dumbell just above the sticking point then press them a few inches up, then lower back down. Do your 8 reps in this middle range of motion.


Increase Your Chest Growth Zone Training For Dumbell Bench Press

Move your mouse on and off the picture to see the range.


Again, with NORMAL Zone Training, you then go right into the TOP range of motion. In the video, I take another 20 second rest before going into that top range of motion.

Do your 8 reps in the top range of motion.


Increase Your Chest Growth Zone Training For Dumbell Bench Press

Move your mouse on and off the picture to see the range.


By the time you're done with all 24 reps, you will have maximally worked EVERY segmenet of the range of motion of the exercise. And believe me, your chest will be TRASHED!

You can apply this technique to pretty much any exercise (it's BRUTAL with squats and deadlifts, let me tell ya!).

WIth some exercises, like curls, you're actually better off doing 2 segments instead of three - basically doing the range below the sticking then the range above the sticking point for 12 reps each, to get that magic 24 reps.

I'll be adding some more Zone Training exercises to the site in the near future so you'll be able to see more of these in action soon.

 


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