Happy Independence Day!

I love this holiday so freaking much.

Not just because of the opportunities to blow stuff up, be with family, and eat some BBQ, but because to me it's a reminder that 240 years ago a group of men believed so much in the vision of a free, happy, prosperous, and self ruling people that they had the audacity to defy the most powerful empire in the world and the courage, tenacity, and determination to back that shit up.

It brings me an opportunity to get some perspective.

To remind me of the true exceptionalism of the USA and Americans.

It dares me to speak, act, and live as boldly and with as much resolve as my forefathers did.

Pretty fucking patriotic I know, but it's how I feel.

And trust me it's relevant to what I want to share with you.

One of the coolest things that has happened over the last five years in fitness is the home gym revolution and the fitness enthusiasts claim of independence from the traditional big box gyms.

The idea that you don't have to pay to rent equipment every month, share it with other people, or train in a sterile, ordinary commercial gym environment.

I credit most of this revolution to the popularity of Crossfit and equipment companies like Rogue Fitness making high end commercial equipment available to the every day fitness enthusiast.

And I have to be honest that I'm biased in that I am a big believer in the idea of having a home gym and moving away from supporting the commercial gym model.

Which is something I've done myself over the last two years and now I train almost exclusively in my garage gym.

While it's a huge time and money saver and allows me to create my kind of training atmosphere it does come with a one trade off - you have less variety available to you in terms of equipment.  

It's just a matter of fact.

It's not really a problem.

You really don't need much more than a barbell, some plate weights, and open space to get and stay in great shape.

However over the last two months the lack of variety in equipment, specifically not having access to cables or machines has been a bit of a pain.

I know what you are thinking and what you've been told.

Machines are useless. They aren't functional. Blah. Blah. Blah.

The truth is machines can actually be super functional and incredibly beneficial for the right goal.

In particular I love them when I am training for hypertrophy which has sort of been my goal for the last four months or so.

I find them to be a fantastic ally when chasing the pump and trying to maximize total time under tension.

This can be a tricky sort benefit to recreate with free weights and bands, but with enough creativity you can put together exercises and protocols that approximate it. 

Thus the last few months have been a great opportunity for me to exercise my creativity and come up with ways to overcome the lack of cables or machines.

And that is what I'd like to share with you guys today - a result from that experimentation.

When I did have access to cables and machines I loved employing them when training my chest especially later into a workout in accessory lifts.

I always felt like the constant and prolonged tension gave me a great pump and resistance throughout the muscles entire range of motion.

So it's been a priority for me to find a way to replicate this in some way in my home gym and thus far I've settled on this awesome tri-set.

I typically use this tri-set on the same day I bench, but closer to the middle or end of the training session.

I shoot for 12 - 15 reps on the first two exercises and technical failure on the final exercise.

I also try to maintain as much tension in the exercises by shortening the range of motion just slightly to minimize placing any tension on my connective tissues at the bottom or top of the exercise.

And when executed like this you get a bunch of volume, a lot of time under tension, and stress the muscle from a variety of angles.

The result is you get a tri-set designed to add size to your chest.

A1 -> DB Bench Press x 12 - 15 reps

Coaching Cues:

- Lower the weight under control taking about twice as long as you would to lift it.
- Get a good stretch in your chest at the bottom, but do not pause at the bottom.
- As you reach the top of the motion think about squeezing your chest.
- Do not lock out your elbows at the top of the motion.

A2-> DB Incline Fly x 12 - 15 reps

Coaching Cues:

- Keep a slight bend in your elbows.
- Lower the weight under control taking about twice as long as you would to lift it.
- Get a good stretch at bottom of the lift.
- As you bring the weight back to the top squeeze your chest.
- Stop with the weights about six inches apart and begin the next rep.

A3-> KB Squeeze Press x To Technical Failure

Coaching Cues:

- Think about crushing the bottom of the kettlebell with your hands during entire rep.
- Extend your arms until just short of lockout.
- Lower the weight under control being sure to continue to squeeze the kettlebell.

Give this tri-set a try and let me know what you think.

I guarantee you'll be feeling it a couple days after.

Happy moving and heavy lifting!

Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training