Press for PTTP with limitations

BJJ Shawn

Level 5 Valued Member
Hello All,

In about 2 months, I am aiming to start the Russian bear workout from PTTP, as I have been in a calorie deficit for about 6 months, and I think I will both be done hitting timless simple and hitting my bodyfat goals by then. I'm looking to put on some body armor, and this plan seems to hit all the bills that I'm looking for with it being 3 days a week, building on the hip hinge with deadlifts, and can be completed in my garage without me needing any additional equipment. The problem I have is, my garage has a low ceiling, so side presses will be difficult to pull off.

The book says that the deadlifts are really the meat of the program, and any good press can be substituted if good form is used, but the side press was mainly chosen because it is safe and can be taught easily. If I'm going to substitute it, what would you sub it with? I have a flat bench and a rack with safety arms, so I can do bench press. I was also considering seated OHP, but not sure if it is safe to do sitting on a flat bench with no back. 2 hand presses would be preferred to save on time, but not required if you have other suggestions. I have TRX straps that I can try to do dips on, but I'm not sure how many I can even do and it might be easier to stick with the barbell but I'm open for almost anything.

Would you pick one press and stick with it the whole program? Switch between two presses every other workout (A, B, A so hit each one 3 times in 2 weeks), or switch every 2-4 weeks? I don't have any pressing goals necessarily, but I'd like to hit the most areas of muscle in this program as possible as I have never done a hypertrophy program and I don't know if I will do one again any time soon. After I add some bulk back, I plan to switch to Q&D and/or the BJJ program, which I will likely stick with for the remainder of the year or more as I have a lot of room to progress in those and they fit my goals.

Thanks for the help and ideas!
 

ShawnM

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello All,

In about 2 months, I am aiming to start the Russian bear workout from PTTP, as I have been in a calorie deficit for about 6 months, and I think I will both be done hitting timless simple and hitting my bodyfat goals by then. I'm looking to put on some body armor, and this plan seems to hit all the bills that I'm looking for with it being 3 days a week, building on the hip hinge with deadlifts, and can be completed in my garage without me needing any additional equipment. The problem I have is, my garage has a low ceiling, so side presses will be difficult to pull off.

The book says that the deadlifts are really the meat of the program, and any good press can be substituted if good form is used, but the side press was mainly chosen because it is safe and can be taught easily. If I'm going to substitute it, what would you sub it with? I have a flat bench and a rack with safety arms, so I can do bench press. I was also considering seated OHP, but not sure if it is safe to do sitting on a flat bench with no back. 2 hand presses would be preferred to save on time, but not required if you have other suggestions. I have TRX straps that I can try to do dips on, but I'm not sure how many I can even do and it might be easier to stick with the barbell but I'm open for almost anything.

Would you pick one press and stick with it the whole program? Switch between two presses every other workout (A, B, A so hit each one 3 times in 2 weeks), or switch every 2-4 weeks? I don't have any pressing goals necessarily, but I'd like to hit the most areas of muscle in this program as possible as I have never done a hypertrophy program and I don't know if I will do one again any time soon. After I add some bulk back, I plan to switch to Q&D and/or the BJJ program, which I will likely stick with for the remainder of the year or more as I have a lot of room to progress in those and they fit my goals.

Thanks for the help and ideas!
You could alawys do floor presses, flat or bridged, both work great. A friend of mine used my TRX for dips and broke it so not something I would recommend.
 

LukeV

Level 6 Valued Member
Floor press is great. Due to shoulder impingement, I recently discovered the landmine press and have become a fan - just put a towel or something soft in the corner to wedge the barbell against. When hypertrophy is the goal I l prefer to alternate horizontal with vertical presses (and pulls) as I believe that provides a better aesthetic look but given the limited timeframe you're envisaging I wouldn't worry so much, you probably won't notice any difference. For information, people who usually follow strength programs and want to develop some muscle, the easiest way to go (IMHO) is add a single high volume set close to failure, to whatever program you're doing
 
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apa

Level 6 Valued Member
The bench press would get my vote. Twice a week and deadlifts once a week.
 

BJJ Shawn

Level 5 Valued Member
Floor press is great. Due to shoulder impingement, I recently discovered the landmine press and have become a fan - just put a towel or something soft in the corner to wedge the barbell against. When hypertrophy is the goal I l prefer to alternate horizontal with vertical presses (and pulls) as I believe that provides a better aesthetic look but given the limited timeframe you're envisaging I wouldn't worry so much, you probably won't notice any difference. For information, people who usually follow strength programs and want to develop some muscle, the easiest way to go (IMHO) is add a single high volume set close to failure, to whatever program you're doing
Hmmm, the landmine press is very interesting. I have seen it done with both one hand and two hand (with an attachment), and it is kind of an in between horizontal/vertical pressing movement so it may hit all the muscles I'm looking for. One handed will hit more core I think, but 2 handed can be loaded more, opening up a lot of variability with little change to the movement, and it looks like it has a high learning curve.

Thanks for the idea, I need to see if I can make that work in my garage, but that one does seem like it will definitely be in the running for a good pressing movement to use.
 

BJJ Shawn

Level 5 Valued Member
A couple of you mentioned floor presses. If you have the equipment for bench press, what would the benefit be to floor presses instead of bench press? Seems like you lose the leg drive and have a smaller range of motion, but does that help target the muscles better since you're only using your upper body?
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
Landmines are awesome, but as the bar is semi-fixed, I wonder if you'd get the same stimulus as a non-fixed press, like a regular overhead press. Perhaps others will chime in on this...

Standing vs half-kneeling landmines also give a different stimulus, as the closer to the floor you get, the harder the shoulder girdle will have to work (same as in standing overhead press vs seated). If you want a more "systemic" stimulus (as the Bear is meant to be a minimalist hypertrophy program) I'd go primarily with a variation where the bar is not fixed at all. Bench, floor press, seated overhead presses on the bench or even Z-presses (brutal).

Depending on the frequency of your two main lifts (DL and a press) you may benefit from alternating which press you do each session.
 

Antti

Level 8 Valued Member
A couple of you mentioned floor presses. If you have the equipment for bench press, what would the benefit be to floor presses instead of bench press? Seems like you lose the leg drive and have a smaller range of motion, but does that help target the muscles better since you're only using your upper body?

There is typically less range of motion. This emphasizes the typical weak point of the bench press. It also spares some from the part that may hurt or demand too much mobility. For some it may also be good to avoid the bench arch and the like for a similar reason at times and do the floor press.

Along emphasizing the typical weak point the floor press is recommended to be done with a pause and a certain bit of relaxation followed by explosiveness. This makes the lift harder especially from the start of the lift and thus develops it.

In a sense you could well compare the floor press to the box squat.

At some points it can also be beneficial to work on a different variety of lifts and it's not really possible to pick a best lift per se.
 

LukeV

Level 6 Valued Member
A couple of you mentioned floor presses. If you have the equipment for bench press, what would the benefit be to floor presses instead of bench press? Seems like you lose the leg drive and have a smaller range of motion, but does that help target the muscles better since you're only using your upper body?
The floor press is a pure press because, as you identified, there is no lower body contribution. It's easier on the shoulder than benching because of the limited range of motion. That also means you don't benefit from the 'stretch flex' - there is no enabling bounce. There are different reports on the effect on the chest - I don't sense as much chest activation as benching but some people report more. (Maybe an arm length issue?) For me, it's safer than the bench press and greater intensity on the triceps.
 

LukeV

Level 6 Valued Member
Hmmm, the landmine press is very interesting. I have seen it done with both one hand and two hand (with an attachment), and it is kind of an in between horizontal/vertical pressing movement so it may hit all the muscles I'm looking for. One handed will hit more core I think, but 2 handed can be loaded more, opening up a lot of variability with little change to the movement, and it looks like it has a high learning curve.

Thanks for the idea, I need to see if I can make that work in my garage, but that one does seem like it will definitely be in the running for a good pressing movement to use.
I do it primarily two handed but do not use an attachment. I alternate the grip each set. It reminds me of the incline bench press and I like @bluejeff would describe the range of motion as semi-fixed, you do have to do some work to stabilise the bar. An added bonus is the clean motion at the beginning - an ungainly motion that provides a mini workout for forearms, shoulders and back - although this does limit the top weight. I've only been using the landmine since January and ~80% RM is about all I can get off the floor without making it about the clean rather than the press. I've been doing multiple 10+ rep sets so it hasn't bothered me. It's too early for me to comment on muscle development but after workouts I'm feeling it in all the right places
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
I havent done a bench press since Sept 2019, my last powerlifting meet (other than a few times with very light weight). That is when I started floor pressing. Love at 1st sight! A few comments:

- overloads triceps, lots of carryover to other pressing.
- Really teaches you to use your lats, and to actually push off them. Much more so than other presses. It is a back excersise in that way.
- It is more convenient. I don't have to put my shoes on or my belt or make sure my bench and rack is aligned. This is minor I guess.
- helps with the sticking point of the bench
- I find that it has improved my ability to ground myself and generate tension throughout my whole body. Stick with me here, I know this is odd.... When I 1st started I found it difficult to generate full body tension (not a full body lift). Not the case anymore! Learning to ground myself without my feet on the ground (gripping the floor with my toes like a monkey) has helped me be able to generate tension on other lifts. I've learned to grip the floor with my glutes, lats, head, calves... I know this is weird. But instead of grounding through my feet or hands, I've become better at doing it in odd positions. Being better at generating tension cant be a bad thing.
- Doing something that requires you to lie on the floor and get up is good for you - I think I got this from Dan John...
- It is easier on my lower back... a lil bit... Bench training never bothered me much unless I went real heavy and really arched.

It is a big experiment for me. One day I'll compete again and likely switch back to bench press before the meet. I'm expecting big carryover to my bench!

Regards,

Eric
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I would also add that landmines with two hands feel significantly different than the single-handed variation. Two handed = more chest (imo) while one-handed seems to really stress shoulder girdle (once again, just in my experience).
 
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