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  • Chest/Shoulders/Triceps

    I'm guessing 99.99% of people who follow a Push/Pull/Leg split always work chest, then shoulders, then triceps on their push day. Is there any specific reason lifters have always done chest first? Is it our ego's refusing to get out of the way wanting to be strongest on chest movements? Should we occasionally rotate the sequence to shoulders/chest/triceps or any different 3 way variation? I can't quite figure out why (myself included) have always placed a premium on chest vs. shoulders or triceps. Any insights guys?

  • #2
    Not a DCER, but to me it makes sense to do shoulders first for a couple of reasons.

    1) You are in a stronger position on a chest movement vs a shoulder movement, so IMO, it is easier to get through a set of chest when you are pre-fatigued then vice versa.

    2) If you are a "tricep/shoulder" type presser, doing chest second would better isolate your chest. Whereas, on a shoulder movement it is kind of hard not to press with your shoulders, so putting it first should hit it just as hard.

    To counterpoint my own argument, you could argue that chest movements are the heavier/more dangerous movement, thus you want to be 100% fresh before attempting them.

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    • #3
      intresting.....try it and let us know how it works.

      i would venture to say you have the most energy in the beginning of your training and use the most weight on chest movements

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      • #4
        I do follow DC, so I don't ask questions about order, I follow it, it works, I repeat. However, here is my logic, whether it is sound or not, that is debatable. Chest, in terms of pressing ability, is the strongest of the three groups. If I am able to use all of my stabilizers, shoulders and triceps included, to push heavier weight, then it makes sense to take advantage of these muscle while they are still fresh so you can simply move heavier poundages. Then by moving into shoulders next, you are still going to activate your triceps, but your triceps will not serve as prime movers thus enabling you to overload your shoulders. Finally, going to triceps, if doing presses, your chest should be fatigued therefore it is primarily the triceps doing most of the work. Rational? Maybe... But when it is working, why stop?
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        • #5
          There's definitely a few ways to tackle this debate. Without a doubt chest incorporates pecs, delts, triceps, whereas shoulders all but eliminate chest from the equation. Thus the more "compound" the muscle the higher priority it should be in the workout scheme. But then there's the school of thought of pre-exhaustion where you might consider doing delts and triceps first followed by chest.

          For instance on leg workouts I absolutely have to start with calves then hams then finish with quads, because my joints take too much of a beating starting with quads. Pre-exhaustion is a must in my case for legs.

          I suppose if everything is equal and all bodyparts are relatively healthy you would be foolish not to start with the largest compound of muscle groups.

          ...but then there's the question of bringing up lagging bodyparts where you might want to start with your worst and finish with your best.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rickross1 View Post

            I suppose if everything is equal and all bodyparts are relatively healthy you would be foolish not to start with the largest compound of muscle groups.

            ...but then there's the question of bringing up lagging bodyparts where you might want to start with your worst and finish with your best.
            Well in terms of DC'ing once you reach the point where you have amassed enough size that it makes sense to target laggin body parts, that is where you would then starting incorporating some advanced techniques and doing things like WM's for those lagging parts or as Dante says, "get freaky with it.." lol

            So in that sense, it is not necessarily the order, but providing a new and unique stimulus within your training to target a given body part that is going to elicit new growth to break the plateau.

            Like you said, there are many ways to tackle this question and it could be interesting to see what some of the other explanations are for exercise order as we think through the logic.
            Be true to yourself and fuel your body with nothing less the highest quality supplements. Only available at TrueNutrition.com Use discount code: KSP945 to save 5% on your order!

            Stickies...just read the damn stickies...

            2014 Xcalibur Cup Bantam Open - 1st
            2014 Tracey Greenwood Classic Bantam Open - 1st
            2015 Beat Cancer!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Rickross1 View Post
              There's definitely a few ways to tackle this debate. Without a doubt chest incorporates pecs, delts, triceps, whereas shoulders all but eliminate chest from the equation. Thus the more "compound" the muscle the higher priority it should be in the workout scheme. But then there's the school of thought of pre-exhaustion where you might consider doing delts and triceps first followed by chest.
              My understanding is the pre-exaustion means using an isolation movement to fatigue the muscle you are targeting during compound movement, e.g.,

              Knee extension are used to pre-fatigue the quads before doing squats.

              The purpose is to ensure that the quads are the muscle that fatigues, is targeted the most, and is the cause for failure if you take sets to failure.

              ------

              Delts and Tri's are assistive muscles for presses, the big lifts that empirically work best for most folks for putting on chest size. If you "pre-fatigue" them, then this would shift the stress on to these muscles and not the pecs. This would defeat the purpose of pec training.

              The same goes for triceps wrt delts - fatigue the triceps before doing OH presses and your sets of OH presses end b/c the triceps are fatigued, not the delts.

              For instance on leg workouts I absolutely have to start with calves then hams then finish with quads, because my joints take too much of a beating starting with quads. Pre-exhaustion is a must in my case for legs.

              The situation is different here in that calves will rarely limit squatting or leg pressing strength. Hamstrings might be a problem (but empirically this is not often the case) and this can easily be adjusted for by picking the right compound thigh movements or using a different foot placement or stance to make sure that the quad movements hit the quads and that the hams do not limit the set.


              ...but then there's the question of bringing up lagging bodyparts where you might want to start with your worst and finish with your best.
              Mentalflex addressed this pretty well.

              When it comes to DC, we're not talking about workouts that drag on for hours, so prioriizing exercises by putting them first in a given workout isn't a big deal. What Dante has found is mainly that the heavy ass-kicking movements for quads (squats, leg presses, etc) and back thickness (BO Rows, Deads) should be LAST b/c after that, you are spent.

              With the relatively low volume PER WORKOUT, you just have to man up and get it down for each and every working set. There aren't that many of them and if you save the heavy stuff for last, there's not a order problem: You can get after them all 100% if you're someone who really should be doing DC. (I write that last part for others who might be reading this, not you, Rick.)

              -S
              The Book Has Arrived!
              The Book Has Arrived!

              Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


              www.TrueNutrition.com

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              2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
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              • #8
                Good stuff homon...the pre-exhaustion point is a good one. I have always tended to use it it in a more broad sense and I definitely should think of it as a detail oriented tool ie: Extensions before squats, flies before incline bench, etc...I have been using it to describe any type of prefatigue on the intended muscle group prior to hitting "important" exercises.

                The way I've used it (albeit mistakenly) for example would be I prehausted my delts hitting chest prior to direct shoulder work. No direct delt work was done.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rickross1 View Post
                  Good stuff homon...the pre-exhaustion point is a good one. I have always tended to use it it in a more broad sense and I definitely should think of it as a detail oriented tool ie: Extensions before squats, flies before incline bench, etc...I have been using it to describe any type of prefatigue on the intended muscle group prior to hitting "important" exercises.

                  The way I've used it (albeit mistakenly) for example would be I prehausted my delts hitting chest prior to direct shoulder work. No direct delt work was done.
                  The only real reason perform shoulder work first ( and I assume you mean pressing) would be if it is a lagging bodypart.
                  Look at it this way,if you were to add up the total weight lifted on a push day, what would add up to more total weight... 1)Shoulders, chest, triceps 2) triceps, shoulders, chest or 3) chest, shoulders , triceps?
                  For almost everyone, it would be number 3. Lifting more weight on the same exercises over the same time period makes the most sense.
                  2008 WABDL World Bench Press Champioships, 2nd place 275lb submaster division state record bench press
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Rickross1 View Post
                    Good stuff homon...the pre-exhaustion point is a good one. I have always tended to use it it in a more broad sense and I definitely should think of it as a detail oriented tool ie: Extensions before squats, flies before incline bench, etc...I have been using it to describe any type of prefatigue on the intended muscle group prior to hitting "important" exercises.
                    Glad to help out!


                    The way I've used it (albeit mistakenly) for example would be I prehausted my delts hitting chest prior to direct shoulder work. No direct delt work was done.
                    I'm guessing you weren't making it a priority to hit the delts with chest work (or at least your number one priority)? We're talking semantics here but I might just that that the chest work warmed up the delts (although I would still do more delt work to warm-up).

                    Anyway, I hope the responses (thanks also to LearningDC) helped out.

                    -S
                    The Book Has Arrived!
                    The Book Has Arrived!

                    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


                    www.TrueNutrition.com

                    2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
                    2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
                    2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

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                    • #11
                      Yeah I have never intended to get direct delt work from chest (just indirect).

                      The big question I have is how much delt developement and strength is being sacrificed by always beginning a Chest/Shoulders/Triceps workout with chest first. Would it be worth alternating Chest and Shoulders every other workout? And does the drop off in strength hitting delts second make a considerable difference or do our muscles litterally 'not know the difference' as long as max effort is being applied?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Rickross1 View Post
                        Yeah I have never intended to get direct delt work from chest (just indirect).

                        The big question I have is how much delt developement and strength is being sacrificed by always beginning a Chest/Shoulders/Triceps workout with chest first. Would it be worth alternating Chest and Shoulders every other workout? And does the drop off in strength hitting delts second make a considerable difference or do our muscles litterally 'not know the difference' as long as max effort is being applied?
                        Some thoughts for you here:

                        http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthread.php?t=42657

                        http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthread.php?t=43763

                        http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthread.php?t=42884



                        -S
                        The Book Has Arrived!
                        The Book Has Arrived!

                        Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


                        www.TrueNutrition.com

                        2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
                        2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
                        2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, when I bench heavy or do heavy incline presses my delts get fried!
                          Esp with incline pressing.

                          Over the years, I have seen guys with bowling ball delts that dont do shoulder presses at all They trained trained chest-lots of benching and incline and then did dumbell raises for shoulders. these few I have come across used the chest-shoulder-tricep format.

                          My feeling thu if you want to do shoulders first and you are not worried about how strong your bench is. Do it, as long as your training hard, your going to be getting something out of it.
                          If your not ripping a tendon your not working the muscle to its fullest capacity!

                          I just kinda feel if the weight wasn't so heavy, I could lift it:
                          :bb::dancingna:bb::dancingna:bb::dancingna
                          Living for the INSULIN SPIKE!

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