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Progression with chest expander, motivation for strandpulling

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Mar 31 16 1:10 PM

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Guys (girls), who use mainly chest expander (or other stands with limited tubes/springs/other kind of resistance):

How do You progress in terms of added resistance?

I have one (crappy manufactured, but cheap and suitable for my needs) rubber chest expander.
I concider myself to working out mainly with it (with some support of bodyweight excercises) for few months, however I used expander (not so active as now) over a Year.
If I take time I put into expander training, I think I have good results in some areas in terms of muscle development (strandpulling in practically my only excercise), worse in others (but fact is that I don´t do many excercising for legs and abs as I do for other muscles, my diet is not great, etc...).

However - if I take time I work out I have very bad progression results. I use same expander resistance I had used year before (3 to 5 strands, due to excercise type and pretty same number of reps I did before).
I know good way would be adding resistance after I reach some number of reps I could to in sets:
Alfred Danks reccomend reccomend adding resistance if one reach 8 reps. I could do some excercise with 5 tubes with simply effort to for example 15 reps each set but don´t have other resistance to ad.

Would You ad another chest expander (and have two of them - so possibility of one to 10 tubes)? - I heard that spring expanders had greater resistance (but they are not "silent" and aren´t that portable). In classic rubber expanders it´s hard to find offered resistance information (even from manufacturer).
Or progress in different way (adding sets/reps)?

Last days I find hard to motivate myself to stick to expander (due to my progression with them and overal strength progress...I´m asking myself, If I could have better results with different tools.
I know strandpulling isn´t Bible and one could do what works for him but don´t get me wrong - I love strandpulling, I love chest expanders and I would like to continue workout mainly with it (even I have sometimes thoughts to switching to kettlebell, bodyweight fitness, etc). I like specialization too.

How do You motivate Yourself to stick with expanders?
Do You try different types of workout? Do You try different angles of excercises to make it fun? Do You have other types of motivation or tricks to stay with strandpulling as main form of excercise?
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#1 [url]

Apr 1 16 5:35 AM

Strands are a great tool. I used them more regularly in the past, but still use them when I travel and sometimes when I can't get to the gym.

You should try to find a set that allows you to increase resistance, though. I know those can be hard to find outside the US and the UK. It's difficult to motivate yourself without some way of measuring your strength gains.

I always prefer to add more resistance, if possible. But if you can't get a "stronger" expander, some options to increase the intensity would be:

  • Pre-exhaust your muscles, e.g. with bodyweight exercises. E.g. do close-grip pushups before expander tricep stretches. After the pushups, your triceps will be tired and will work harder to stretch the same no. of tubes as before.
  • Reduce time between sets - probably the most simple and effective muscle-gain technique around. E.g. if you usually do 3 sets of 8 reps with 3 expander tubes, time yourself and try to complete those same sets in a shorter time next time.
  • Drop sets - using the same example, do a set to failure with 3 tubes, immediately take off one tube and do a set of failure with 2, then 1.
  • Rest-pause sets - do a set to failure, rest 20 seconds, continue with the set, rest again, etc., until you can't do any more reps.

Could you have better results with different tools? Maybe. Combining expanders with weight training would be very effective, but I don't know if this is an option for you. Bodyweight exercises are great too.

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#2 [url]

Apr 2 16 12:07 AM

I use bands, but I'll also use any tool or mode that makes my muscles work, including calisthenics. The only thing I care about is that it's fun. Enjoying the feeling of exercise is what is most important to me and whatever tool I use or don't use is not something I consider very much. I've made most of my training equipment. I even have bands that are really bicycle inner tubes along with the commercial bands from Sierra and Lifeline.

 Anyway, I have no loyalty whatsoever to any particular tool for exercise. No one pays me to workout, so I do what I enjoy, whenever I feel like it.
I do enjoy drop sets, BTW, and believe they are very effective. 
I like to fully exhaust my muscles, but not to actual failure, which, for squats for example, would mean I would need a wheelchair after squats-to-failure because my legs wouldn't work for a while  Smile
 I believe there is a "sweet spot" that each person must discover by exploration and that changes as a person becomes stronger and more adapted. That "sweet spot" is somewhere between "not enough" and "too much" exercise where is will be most effective and least debilitating or catabolic. Real failure is too much, IMO.
 If you continue to push for progression and don't allow sufficient recovery time for the stressed muscles, it will be counterproductive to building strength or muscle and, ultimately, to your overall health.

Anyway, all of this is just my opinion and based on my own limited experience.   Smile

"Any problem in the World can be solved by dancing." James Brown 
"I don't even know if I'm doin' this right" John Mellencamp
Mastering principles, frees us from slavery to recipes.
Set a DIRECTION, not a goal.

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#3 [url]

Apr 2 16 6:10 AM

Mastery Theory- George Leonard

George Leonard wrote about the paths of The Dabbler, the Obsessive, The Hacker, and The Master.

The path of Mastery is one of persisting on long plateaus although we see no apparent progress, until suddenly we do.


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#4 [url]

Apr 3 16 2:06 AM

Thank You all for suggestions!
I will try to use it all in some ways in future.
Mastery Theory is interesting and truthfull stuff.

To be honest, I bought quality kettlebell (16 kg, I have experience with it from past) this week (to ad some different excercises, movements and routines and target legs, core and back muscles around spine more). And to find out, what I can achieve with it (maybe, it will be better main tool for my goals, maybe not - we will see). However, I plan stil use expanders (as "rest" workouts - to target different muscles when some will be exhausted more from kb movements and as stretching/shoulder and upper back rehabilitation).

As for my workout with expanders - after few months I have good development in arms, chest and upper back (but this could be possibly due to adding pull ups and chin ups too - changes in that areas are more visible as I start to do them), other parts are lacking (if I compare it to weighted workout results I had in past in same time). I have corrected little my desk job posture and my shoulder mobility have really great results. But my functional strength is unfortunately really, really lacking.

So I decide "I let go", don´t fix myself too one thing and not deal with training routines so much.
I will listen to my body and do what I feel that day (not written routine). I will use standard excercises and use stuff, that is not that common, if I feel for it that day.
However, I would be still concistent in my workouts.

5 days in kettlebell/stones/bodyweight workouts (2 kettlebells + bodyweight / 2 stones * + bodyweight / today´s rest).
I did few sets of ODP and Front chest pull as shoulder rehab.
Stones* = I could sometimes go to garden, which we have in lease. I have there some cement stone-shaped bricks (I call it simple stones, same effect), cutted heavy tree branches and DIY pull up bar on tree. 
I already feel better with everyday movements, conditioning and as far of strength with especially grip and lower body strength.

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#6 [url]

Apr 3 16 7:45 PM

Dave: Thanks for suggestion.
I know about hook from this forum for long time, I had read only positive comments about it (durability, resistance, quality of product) but thing is:
One tube of hook (without shipping) cost as whole chest expander I have now home (with shipping).
Two tubes of hook (without shipping) cost as 16 kg kettlebell (I have been able to bough it from our version of craiglist for cheap).

Buying another chest expander (from some internet auction) is better option for me (due to cost).

Last Edited By: Lemmy01 Apr 4 16 12:41 PM. Edited 2 times.

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