Everyone wants more muscle: big, full pecs and massive totals on the squat and deadlift. Thankfully, Herculean Strength has an original answer for both demands.
In my lengthy lifting career thus far, I was never one to pay attention to mainstream advice. That said, I didn’t seek out obscure and cumbersome strength/muscle building methods.
I would often tweak pre-existing exercises and manipulate them to my advantage according to what my goals were at a particular time of my life.
The “Herc Squat” takes a supramaximal partial lift to the next level and develops lower body strength faster than any other exercise; the “Herculean Press” helps bring fullness to the upper chest by adding a zesty twist to the Squeeze Press.
Try adding both exercises to your repertoire, to help you build more muscle.
Let’s get started by introducing the “Herc Squat.”
The Herc Squat — More Muscle
The Discovery of The Herc Squat
I assure you, you’ll have never done this exercise. But this isn’t a gimmick–just a simple exercise familiar to most people who have been lifting for a while; but with my personal spin on it.
Accidents happen; but accidents can also lead to great innovations.
And this is what happened when I discovered this particular monster accessory movement.
I found this by accident because my gym only had dumbbells up to around 75lb and I couldn’t find the correct balance when using a barbell.
And I wanted to increase my deadlift and squat, but use real weight in the process to help build more muscle.
So I used the Smith Machine.
That’s right, I, a powerlifter at the time, used the Smith Machine.
But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Without much further teasing, here is the exercise: A Supramaximal Partial Bulgarian Split Squat.
It sounds rather unglamorous and a bit of a mouthful to say, but, believe me, it really works — and you’ll be well on your way to building a lot more muscle.
UPDATE: I will be calling this lift the “Herc Squat.”
You’ll be thanking me for the enormous gains you’ll make to your deadlift, squat, and glute development; but you’ll hate me when you use the can in the days after training.
Just think about how much more muscle you’ll be able to boast.
How to Do The Herc Squat
All you have to do is set safety pins on the Smith Machine, have a bench parallel to the Smith Machine, get under the bar, raise your inactive leg onto the bench–as if you were actually performing a Bulgarian Split Squat.
My twist here is the whopping overloading of the bar that you can get away with. The bar path is restricted by the Smith Machine itself, reducing the need to expend energy on stability.
The safety pins will stop the bar from descending too low to reduce the risk of injury.
Combined, you can really go to town in throwing the weight around — aside from the fact that you’ll have tons more muscle on your lower body.
Moreover, new accessory movements drilled into your program are easy to PR on.
When I first started these, I could do 3.5 plates a side. After a few months, this increased to nearly 5 plates a side.
My max squat at the time was in the mid-500s, and, within a year, I added over 60lb to my squat–mostly because of this exercise.
Now, let’s take a step back: 3.5 plates–or 160kg on the bar–per leg translates to the equivalent of a 320kg squat. I have never attempted to walk out more than 7 plates a side in my life–far less than what I began dealing with.
Then sooner, rather than later, I almost went up to 5 plates a side on my right leg–the equivalent load of a 420kg squat. And don’t forget, thus far, I’m a lifelong natural lifter.
I will never squat anything close to that.
Even if I gained 150lb, blasted tren, deca, anadrol, dbol, and any other compound I could get my hands on for a decade in an effort to build more muscle, I’d never be able to squat that.
I would usually do this exercise as my 1st or 2nd accessory movement on my squatting day, depending on how I’m feeling.
Working sets should never exceed six reps as they are very taxing on the joints and inner thighs at heavier weights.
Doing the equivalent of a half squat ONTO SAFETY PINS is more than enough range of motion for this particular movement, with supramaximal loads.
Your glutes, inner thighs, and quads–in that order–will be exceptionally sore for the days after training, so be warned. But this movement truly can put on significantly more muscle.
Do not program this exercise on a basis more frequent than one month on, one month off as it can be taxing on the body.
You will reap the greatest reward if it is NOT a mainstay, but rather an exercise to shock the lower body and core whenever you’ve begun to hit a rut.
And don’t say you weren’t warned when you make unthinkable gains.
Now, strength training may not be everyone’s first choice, but if intermediate and advanced lifters want to bring up their upper chest, maybe they could try the “Herculean Press.”
A New Way to Hit Your Upper Pecs
We are proud to announce the release of a brilliant new upper chest exercise pioneered by yours’ truly.
The Brief Backstory
I came up with the movement as I was suffering from a niggle in my elbow and was forced to switch from incline bench press to reverse-grip bench press in my quest to continually build more muscle.
This was something that interested me in my switch to bodybuilding as the inner chest is not a forte for a lot of people.
(Losing fat and overall pec develop will help contribute towards a better inner chest.)
Then I thought about how it could be manipulated to transfer activation over to the upper pecs to stimulate more muscle growth in that stubborn area.
Since I had been doing a lot of reverse-grip bench presses instead of incline bench, I considered whether it was feasible to do a reverse-grip squeeze press to get the best of both worlds — and, ultimately, build more muscle.
And since I couldn’t do these exercises at home I thought to trial them when I finally had access to gym-standard dumbbells.
Lo and behold! It was a stellar success.
Why You Should Try It
In the upcoming months, we will be coming out with an eBook and program on how to become more “handsome” and one of the key points was making the upper pec cleavage pop with more muscle than you ever dreamed.
Traditionally, apart from general upper chest mass building exercises, the best way to develop this stubborn area — apart from favorable genetics — is the low-to-high cable crossover, focusing on squeezing at peak contraction.
However, it’s often relegated to the end of a workout and abandoned as a mere afterthought at times.
My friend and I can comfortably rep out 3 plates on the bench, but we struggled to hit 30lb DBs on this for ten reps.
This exercise DOES NOT require an awful lot of weight to put on more muscle.
Using a combined dumbbell total of around 25% of your bench press one rep max is a good place to start before adding more weight.
And apart from tearing up the upper pecs, it will give your anterior deltoids and triceps some stimulation — like, practically all pressing exercises.
If you watch Julian, you’ll see that his upper inner pecs are significantly activated throughout most of the movement. And, unlike the traditional DB press, the Herculean Press starts significantly lower down, closer to the belly — which is something that might take some getting used to.
How To Do It
Closely watch the video above.
Turn your thumbs outwards, using a supinated grip, instead of inwards and slightly pronated grip. In other words, your grip is adopting a full 180 degree turn to a traditional dumbbell press.
Then push your arms inwards and imagine that you are trying to hold an imagined object between the dumbbells. You can practice by trying to hold a sheet of paper between the dumbbells.
Bring the dumbbells down to just below your ribcage (a few inches lower than were you’d normally go with a conventional dumbbell bench press) and press up over your sternum, focusing on contracting your inner upper pecs.
You should strive to hit 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps at the end of your session with this exercise to help you develop the stubborn part of your upper chest.
The first set is going to feel weird and uncomfortable — as it certainly with me!
I recommend picking a low weight and working up. In fact, the very first time you try it, there’s no need to go all the way to a full working set. It is such a novel movement to your body that practicing will be enough of a working set in itself.
Once you’re comfortable with the movement, you can program it into your workout accordingly.
Another buddy struggled (filmed above) to hit sets of 12 with 22lb dumbbells at the end of his chest session.
While the puny weights may seem laughable, I guarantee that they’re more than enough to stimulate the area effectively.
We supersetted the Herculean Press with low-to-high cable crossovers to fully burn out that inner-upper pec portion at the end of the session.
You can thank me later.
Putting It Into Practice
How to program it into a workout:
As we’ve previously mentioned, this exercise doesn’t need a lot of weight and would be most useful when some fatigue has set in.
Incline Bench Press 4×8
Flat Dumbbell Press 3×10
Weighted Dips 3xAMRAP
Floor Flyes 3×12
Herculean Press 4×10
If you liked our signature chest exercise, be sure to check out our lower body strength developer, too:
Don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com for personalized coaching and a client questionnaire if you’d like DEDICATED tailor-made personal training on strength training, building muscle, losing fat, developing athleticism, and more — all to your liking, lifestyle, habits, and taste!