Training for the IPA Buckeye Brawl on December 1st. Programming by Dave Tate in italics.


10/4 Speed bench

Before we get to the nitty gritty, an anecdote with pictures. After we received our training, I emailed Dave and asked why we were floor pressing for speed day since all my inside brain answers did not seem to be coming up with a good reason. And I needed to know for my own edification as well as that of my loyal readers (…. Right?)




Let me preface this by saying that last week, Dave got stuck on the floor of the power rack doing an exercise that rhymed with handed flute ridges. I almost feel bad typing out his sad secret but…


That’s right




This also happens to be the rack we use to get our briefs on so everyone was just walking over the beached whale stuck in a band doing fit chick exercises in the middle of the rack while we got ready for squats.


So it was speed MRSA presses for the rest of us.



  • Warm Ups
  • 2 sets each various shoulder raise and push downs. Again this is just warming up. I would also put it 1-2 sets of hanging leg raise and GHR’s Also include shoulder circuit for 1 rotation.
  • *Add in band pull aparts and band face pulls. 

My warm ups also include rolling planks, bird dogs, McGill curl ups, and dead bugs (all for my back) and RPR things if I remember.

  • Floor Press Speed Bench 
  • Pick a weight that is 55% of your best floor press.
  • 9 total sets of 3 reps using 3 different grips


I used 115. I would guess that my floor press would be around 215 (I am definitely wrong about that based off the triple I did after speed work). I do one grip about an extended thumb’s width away from the smooth part of the bar (close grip), one grip where my regular raw bench would be (ring finger on the… ring), and one grip where my shirted bench grip would be (index finger on the ring). Speed work is a time for speed, technique, and if you can, build up some weak points (ie use grips that you would not normally use for max or sub max benching).


  • Close Grip Floor Press with RED Shoulder Saver Pad 
  • work up to 1 heavy set of 3


The two sets in the video are 200x3 and 205x3. 200 beat my floor press from the week  before but didn’t seem like a heavy enough triple so I took another jump. Supplemental work should be HEAVY as in you would fail or be close to failing if you took another jump. So I try to do a set where I would not be able to grind out one or two more reps.


Also my long ass arms don’t need the shoulder saver since my elbows hit the pad before the shoulder saver would touch me so I ditched it.

My grip I used for these sets is narrower than my regular raw grip but it was not my regular close grip. My elbows get fucked up. They hurt the most when pressing off my chest or when I put a bench shirt on. Also once they get going, they stay on the pain train and it just gets worse. If I can, I try to find ways to work around it to save my pain for times I need to push through it. I had this conversation with Jess recently (who is dealing with some shoulder pain) about when to push through nagging pain/injuries (that get worse with use) and when to work around it. This is only applicable to those things that hurt on the reg and get worse with use (like elbows and shoulders) and not actual acute injuries.


I am of the opinion that you should save pushing through the pain for the times that are the most important and impactful in your training cycle. For me, that would be max effort benching off my chest and putting my shirt on. I know those will hurt but those are integral to my training cycle. If my elbows hurt on a close grip supplemental floor press but are a little less angry with a wider grip, then I will take my grip out and give my elbows a little wiggle room going into a weekend where I’m benching off my chest. Again, this is only for things that hurt and get worse with use. If they are the same amount of hurty all the time, then it really doesn’t matter. But to me there is no point in beating your shit down on supplemental movements or accessories to the point where your max effort work takes a hit or you have to modify what you are doing. Modify the things that can be modified and will have a smaller impact on your training. I’m working on making SMARTER choices and this is one of those things I have had to navigate after making a lot of dumb choices that negatively impacted my more important movements.


I also have been working on trying to engage my lats without necessarily torquing the shit out of my elbows. I usually have been doing more of a twisting from the hands and elbows and I'm working on trying to start the tightness with the lats instead of with my hands. You can see in the first floor press video that my lats are engaged when I take the bar out and the second one, less so. And of course the first set was way better.

Also, PSA, keep your legs flat when you floor press. No leg drive. No air humping. Stop it.

  •  Low Rows 
  • 3 sets of 6-8 reps (heavy)


HAHA please see the end of the video above. This was my one attempt at trying to do something cool for the gram where I rowed and my back look jacked but it didn’t really work so I gave up. But please note that I am close to rowing the whole stack in my flip flops.

Also the regular low row was being kinda sticky so I made one on the new stack machine and WOW this turned into a plug for that machine it is great so versatile you should get one for your gym.


  • Band Pull Aparts super set with 
  • Prone Rear Delt Raises (heavy)
  • 3 sets 8 reps


My shoulder was feeling fucked up so I actually went with the rear delt machine on this one. Usually I use 25 or 30 lb dumbbells for these though.

See above for making choices on accessory work to avoid unnecessary hurting. Let me clarify that this does not mean being a lil bitch and doing things because they don’t feel good. I know that I have shoulder issues and my arm will go numb and it will impact my bench. So if I can do a similar exercise and avoid messing up my bench but get similar back work in, then so be it.


  • Reverse Hypers Light 
  • 2 sets 10 reps

2 plates per side for some shorter range of motion reverse hypers featuring a lot of glute squeezing.

  • Free Time
  • 15 minutes - do whatever you want. Nothing under 10 reps and nothing over a level 4


So much room for activities!

I did some front raises, banded good mornings, lat pulls, and grip work. I am 99% trap, 1% shoulders. So I have been trying to do some lighter weight front and side raises where I actually utilize my delts (what are those?)

I always do grip work on my upper days. I rotate between hex dumbbell holds, the little finger clampy machine (I have no idea what this is called I will try and find a picture), and doing holds with some plates hanging from a grenade attachment. A few years ago I DROPPED 390 at a meet. WHAT SHAME. My left arm deals with some numbness and shitty grip from some shoulder problems so that baby just slipped out of my weak ass hand. Since then, I switched my over and under hands (left hand is now my over hand) and added in a lot of grip work and have not had any issues since (fingers crossed on my less weak hand).


If I ever drop a deadlift again, it will be because the weight is heavy. Not because I have fragile little sad hands.