I was headed into town to help Steve with his seminar last Friday. I texted Dave and said I’d be benching on Friday and pulling Saturday. He replied, “that works, I’ll be doing my gay bodybuilding shit on Friday.” I said "hell yes, I’ll join you.” I got in around six and scarfed down some Wendy’s on my way to the compound to train with Dave at seven. 

I showed up bloated, and Dave showed up with his familiar bloat as well. I did a quick warm-up with the ShouldeRok then knocked out my speed bench while Dave applied his super strength Toast and Blue Heat and who knows what else. Speed bench consisted of 185x3x7 against double minis and three chains per side. 

I jumped in on Dave’s main movement: incline press with the shoulder saver bar. I was already loose, so I quickly worked up one plate, two plates, 275, 315, all for 10’s. I worked on the slow eccentric and controlled contraction as Dave had walked me through when I did a short five-week bodybuilding phase to get my shoulders healthy. I think we threw on 385 for a set of five on my last set where the whole slow eccentric/concentric went out the window.

WATCH: Leg Training with IFBB Pro Ken Jackson

Dave hit a bunch of sets, working up a little slower, then working some drop sets after his heaviest set.

We moved on to chain flies. They’re stupid, like the rest of this bodybuilding shit. We worked with only two chains per side, which is light, but the goal was to fail at 10 reps — contract as hard as possible at the top of the movement and stop all momentum in the bottom of the movement. It’s still such a foreign concept to me. When you train for years trying to move everything as fast as possible, bodybuilding movements and controlled contractions are a mind fuck. But they do teach you how to control your body. We did 3x10, then two forced negative sets of four with a partner providing resistance. Feel the burn.

Then we headed over to the decline machine. Did I say I was having fun yet? I did a few sets of 10, then a couple sets where I failed at six, then one set where I failed at six then repped out for 15 or 20. The goal was similar: take away all momentum, force your pecs to do all the work, and contract hard pulling the handles in toward each other.

Dave stopped me mid set…

“Holy shit, your pecs are fucking huge.”

At this point I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I finish my set and stand up.

“And your shoulders are big as fuck too.”

Wow. Thanks, Dave. You’re a real sweetheart. John Meadows, I’m coming for you.

“But your triceps are tiny.”

Kick to the sack.

I cried a little inside. But Dave’s point was this: to bench 540 with my arms being that small, my pecs and shoulders are over developed. So the good news is that I have a lot of room to grow into a bigger bench. The bad news: Dave thinks I have small arms.

We knocked out some machine flies to failure, then Dave showed me walking 1/4 dips. I’ll put up a video of these puppies if the name isn’t self explanatory enough, but I can tell you I did them with bodyweight and was toasted. Dave said Kenny Patterson and some other big raw benchers from Westside used to do these with 300 pounds strapped between their legs….GAME ON.

600 or bust.

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