X3 Chest Press
The X3 chest press is done during your push workout. It makes sense to do it first, though I suppose you could do your squats first if you want to. But I like doing the chest press first because it’s a multi-joint movement.
You always want to do the multi-joint movements before the single-joint movements. For example, you wouldn’t want to wear out your triceps before doing the chest press. You don’t want to pre-exhaust a smaller muscle which will compromise the performance of multi-joint exercises.
Now exercise order isn’t the biggest thing. I tell people not to mess with the program, but you know, if you want to do your rows and bicep curls on the same day, you do your chest press and your overhead press and your tricep press, like sort of an upper-lower split versus a push-pull split, it’s not the biggest problem, but on push day as we are prescribing it here, you want to start with chest press.
You’re going to be working with much more force than you have previously in a gym, or you’ve never done regular exercise, is going to be higher weight but also a higher level of safety because you deal with a heavier weight when you’re at extension, not lockout but in a more extended position because of variable resistance.
As you return, it’s less weight to protect joints. Now in the diminishing range, as you shorten your reps and get back to the weaker range of motion and a more stretched muscle, you’re still going to fatigue there. But you’re using less weight when you go into fatigue which ensures that you’re fatiguing the last little bit of muscle instead of overtaxing the joint, ultimately leading to cumulative injury. We’re not doing that.
Depending on your reach, you may want to shorten the band to extend the weak range of movement. To do so, wrap the band around the hook one or two times which takes up some slack.
We recommend choosing a band that allows you to perform anywhere between 15 to 40 repetitions at a slow pace with good form. First, hook the band on the bar and double it over. You want to start by grabbing the band, not the bar, keeping the band together, and making a triangle.
Bring the bands over your shoulder, like a messenger bag, and grab the bar with both hands and rotate until the bar is cross bodied. Drop the upper side down so the bands wrap underneath your deltoid. Drop the other arm through, and you’re ready to perform the movement.
To get maximum activation of the pectorals, you need to focus on bringing your upper arm toward the midline of your body from each side. So it is that action that is using the pectorals, and when you think about it, you will build that mind-muscle connection.
You also want to push slightly downward, mimicking a decline-type press which is much easier on the shoulder joint and will protect you from injury. If you’re feeling most of the exercise and the triceps, keep the elbows back and flared out or upward a little bit. You don’t want the elbows against the ribcage. You want them as far from the body as you can get them without making the band slide up your back.
One of the most important principles is constant tension. You’ll notice Kyle does not let any slack in the band at the bottom, and he also doesn’t lock out at the top, so there’s tension on the muscle at all times. One of the most common mistakes in performing this movement is people resting at the bottom, which allows for slack to go into the band.
Now, this keeps you from growing muscle but also lets the band slide around in your back, which ultimately leads to a failed experience in the exercise, so do not do that. As you see here, with Kyle pushing, he is going to the point where he’s going to be unable to get to full extension.
He then starts shortening the reps. We call this diminishing range. So as you cannot get to the strongest range of motion, you then cut the range so that you’re moving as much as you can, which gets shorter and shorter until you absolutely cannot move anymore. Do not stop the movement once you’ve hit fatigue. In the stronger range, you have to continue until you shorten the repetition so that the last repetition may only be one inch.
As with many other standard weight training type movements, a bench press, when you’re using free weights, has incredible limitations.
Also, remember that the shoulder joint has the most mobility of any joint in the body, which also means it’s the easiest joint to damage. Now just about anything you do with your life, whether it be driving a car or holding hands with your little kid, you need the function of your shoulder, and it’s better not to destroy that joint doing some heavy bench pressing for a couple of years and then not being able to use your arms anymore.
You made a great choice by using X3. You’re going to get an incredible benefit. Just make sure you use it correctly, and you’ll grow as much chest power as possible without the risks of injury.