How did you balance your bending with your normal upper body training?
I think a lot of guys are in a similar boat as me trying to find that balance. I basically follow 5/3/1, so I have two upper body days per week...I standing press one day per week and close grip bench another day. Recovery is at a premium these days, so if I'm going to bend it should really be on one of those days....not on a separate third day. If I do my bending first...especially if I plan on one or more FBBC cert attempts...I'm pooped before I even start my regular training and the session takes forever. If I bend second, I'm not at full power and my upper body pump hinders my ability to get into proper position.
What I had been doing for a while was bending first on Wednesdays with higher intensity/cert attempts before my overhead pressing and then I would bend second on Saturdays after my close grip bench just to grease the groove a bit with lower intensity. That seemed to be the best compromise for me.
I'm just curious to hear how you approached your programming for bending and what the volume and intensity looked like.
John thanks for the question,
that's easy, Bending was my upper body training. Early on when I was starting to bend I realized it was counterproductive for me to try to continue to do regular upper body work while bending hard. A good indicator for me was that after a good bending session I would often be sore from my earlobes to belly button from the full body static contractions. Especially when I was bending hard and it would take a few seconds per hit at maximum tension to get the steel to move. That happening over a 5 minute bend or a few 5 minute bends was more than plenty upper body work for me. Also I found that I my biceps were just a bit too big to really get the long bars locked into a good starting position and that was a consistent fight as long as I was bending.
I don't really have any magical advice on this to make it work. To make decent progress you will likely have to pick one or the other to emphasize and then reduce volume and intensity on the other. You could cycle this from time to time as well. As to which one, only you can decide what is most important to you. In my opinion if one tries to Bend hard at a decent level as well as strength train with regular programming that is just a recipe for overtraining or worse.
My own bending programming progressed from 3-4 days a week in the beginning with maybe 2-3 tough pieces to eventually once every 10days or so at the end with maybe 5-7 total pieces of which possibly only 1 or 2 really tough ones.
If I was working kink work specifically I might do overlength work microloading by taping pieces together. ie 7.5" pieces to be stronger at 7" and gauging progress with poundage ratings and cross sectional area of all pieces taped together. If I was working crush downs specifically I might do prekinked unfinished bars for iso's, movement or occasionally chest crush reps with the Pro or WC. Mostly I just bent full bars, high intensity very low volume though.