Q&A Tuesday – Board Pressing, Improving the Squat & Post Workout Nutrition

by Chris on April 23, 2013

Lately I’ve been doing lots of Q&A sessions over on the TBF Facebook page - if you haven’t joined us over there you probably should. There’s an overabundance of awesomeness that happens there daily. The point is that I’ve been getting some cool questions over there and I thought I’d share some with you.

Board Pressing to help build the chest and bench press

I was asked the other day about using board presses to build a better chest and improve the bench press.

The short answer: They’re probably not going to do shit for your bench and they definitely won’t be building up your chest.

Board presses overload the top end of the bench press movement – where the triceps are most active. They actually DECREASE how much your chest has to contribute to the bench (which ironically is all that much anyway).

As far as improving the bench itself is concerned, board presses aren’t that great for raw benchers since the movement doesn’t have a very good carryover. Are they nice for some variety every now and then? Of course. A little supra-max overload can be extremely helpful. But I wouldn’t make them the cornerstone of your bench training.

Improving the Squat

One of the TBF Facebook members asked me the other day what she could do to improve her squat, since it hasn’t gone up in a while. Specifically she was interested in what assistance work to do that would help.

While assistance work is great, it’s important to remember that it is just that: assistance. It’s not the backbone of your program and chances are it’s not going to be what makes or breaks your results – unless you assistance work is absolutely crap.

A solid program is worth 100x any assistance template. Depending on what you’ve been doing this could mean any kind of program – not everybody responds the same to everything. Here’s a basic layout of a program I used extensively to improve my squat a few years ago:

Day 1 – Volume

Squat – 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps

Day 2 – Light/Speed

Squat – 5 sets of 5 reps at 90% of Day 1 weight

Day 3 – Heavy

Work up to a max set of 5-8, depending on reps done on Day 1

That’s it. I didn’t use ANY assistance work because the squat was the only lower body movement I did for the length of the program. And you know what? I got stronger. The increased frequency helped me master the squat. Will this work for you? Maybe. But only time will tell.

Post Workout Nutrition

I was also asked the other day what to eat after a workout in order to curb hunger. Nutrition is a touchy subject and it’s your responsibility to find out what works for you. If you’ve got allergies or other issues with certain foods that’s an important thing to get resolved.

With that necessary disclaimer out of the way I’ve always gotten the best results by drinking a protein shake, usually with some fruit and peanut butter in it, right after my workout followed by a meal about 45 minutes to an hour later. I used to do the whole foods thing post workout but I never saw the results I see from supplementing protein immediately post workout.

And the logic that not eating at all keeps your body in “fat burning mode” is the biggest crock of bullshit in history. The people who tote this are usually out of shape and have no fucking idea what they’re talking about and will also tell you that you shouldn’t lift weights because it’s dangerous. Not only is this illogical, it’s been disproved in the research countless times. Every time someone uses the term “fat burning zone” a puppy cries somewhere.

Did you see that I’ve got t-shirts available now? Yeah, t-shirts. Awesome.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

David April 24, 2013 at 10:02 am

Hi Chris,

I love your blog. It has such good information. The fact you work at Peak is also great. I interned out of there a couple years ago.

In regards, to the squat program, can you see this working long-term, especially if cycled? Also, how would specialized squat exercises be plugged into this template, say Anderson and pause squats?

Christopher Smith April 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm

David,

I used that squat template for about 2 months I think (can’t remember exactly) cycling the reps each week linearly – started at 8 then 6, 5, 4 and then restarted.

At that time I didn’t use any specialized assistance exercises. Just plain old fashioned back squats three times per week. I also did some form of upper body pressing and pulling with it. If you really wanted to include some assistance work I would cycle in some extra posterior work like RDLs or GMs on the volume and heavy days and something bodyweight like BSS or reverse lunges on the light day.

David April 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Sounds good. I really like the layout, reminds me of the Texas Method. Anything that has me squatting 2-3 times a week is a go-to in my book. Though I’m probably not considered strong enough to use this template, I’ll give it a go once I am.

In a future post, would you be able to divulge in your current training program?

Christopher Smith April 25, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I wouldn’t consider there to be a required strength level for this. It should work regardless.

If there’s interest I will write about the program I’ve been using. I will actually have an article coming out on Bodybuilding.com very soon that is pretty much the exact program I’ve been using for the past 6 weeks.

David April 25, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Please let us know when that drops.

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