After we posted Volume 1 of this series of articles just a couple of weeks ago, we got a significant number of e-mails from grateful trainees.
It seems that a lot of you out there were a little bored with the exercises you've been doing. Some of the excitement had gone out of your workouts and you were even considering asking your workout partner to put on a cute little negligee and maybe some high-heeled squat shoes.
Thankfully for you and your partner, we scoured our archives to find some unusual movements to keep you from resorting to such drastic measures. We even managed to throw in a few new exercises that hadn't appeared on the site before.
However, even those new movements can quickly become mundane and everyday, so we decided to jump the gun and run Volume 2 ahead of schedule.
Give 'em a try and count how many weird looks you get from the Muscle and Fitness readers in the gym.
The Texas Arm Wrestler Curl
This one is apparently a favorite of competitive arm wrestlers. Here's how it's done:
Straddle a flat bench with your feet on the floor. Place your forearms and hands along your quads while holding a loaded barbell. The back of your hands should be near your knees. Sit up straight and concentrate on keeping the whole body tight and rigid by contracting your abs. Take a deep breath and hold it, then explode the heavy weight off your thighs into the finished curl position. Lower the bar back to your legs under control and repeat.
Try not to bounce the weight off your thighs, though. Rest the bar across your legs between reps for a full 4 seconds. (This is to keep you from cheating and using momentum, you sneaky bastard, you.)
Remember, too, that this exercise is meant to be done heavy. It's only a partial curl, so you've got no excuse to use one of those pre-set barbells that only go up to 85 pounds. Shoot for 4 to 6 maximal reps.
And, like always, don't cheat by lurching and gasping and drooling like the town drunk.
I had me some Zercher's once. Caught 'em from the girl who lives on the farm down the road after we was rolling around in the hay all nekkid. My Pa just had me rub some sheep salve on it and it cleared right up.
No, no. Zerchers are in fact sort of a hybrid good morning where instead of putting the bar on your back, you cradle it in the crooks of your arms.
Here's how you do this favorite of Coach Davies: Arrange the hooks on a power rack about chest high. Rack an Olympic bar on the hooks. Approach the bar and pick it up by cradling it in your arms. Hold the bar tight against your body by placing one hand against your upper chest and then grabbing onto that hand with the other.
Assume a wide stance and with the knees slightly bent, bend forward at the waist until your elbows scrape your inner thighs (remember to hold the bar against your chest tightly!). Coming out of the movement is basically a hip thrust, i.e., you explode your hips forward. This movement will bring you back to the start position.
While a standard Good Morning emphasizes the hamstrings a bit more, the Zerchers are primarily for strengthening hip flexors. However, they do also work the hamstrings, along with the spinal erectors.
If you like, you can start doing this movement with a 25 or 45-pound plate cradled against your chest instead of the barbell, which requires more concentration and is a little bit more brutal on the skin on the inner elbows.
The Farmer's Walk
Pick up a pair of heavy, really heavy, dumbbells and take a walk around the gym. That's the essence of the farmer's walk. This killer old school exercise will set your lungs on fire, annihilate your grip, forearms and traps, and build a ton of mental and physical toughness.
Here's Strongman Competitor Chad Coy doing the Farmer's Walk with 330 pounds in each hand.
You can perform a designated number of "sets" for a certain distance or just see how far you can go with a certain weight. Each week, try to increase your distance or use heavier weights. Most men can easily start out with 100-pound dumbbells.
Jerry Telle Chest Routine
This is a series of dumbbell flyes that transition into a modified dumbbell bench press. Telle's idea of an effective workout involves two important factors: high-fiber tension and fatigue. This chest routine will provide both in spades.
Start with a 135-degree wide-angle fly; in other words, with very little bend in the elbows. Lower the dumbbells to a count of three seconds, take a one-second pause then raise them back up. Continue until failure. Rest for only ten seconds and lie back for another set.
In this second set, you'll do flyes again, but this time bend your elbows more until you're doing about a 90-degree fly. Again train to failure, rest for ten seconds, and lie back for a third and final set.
On this last set, you'll perform standard dumbbell bench presses on the concentric portion, or lifting part of the lift, and then "fly out" on the eccentric portion, or lowering part of the lift, until failure. In other words, press the dumbbells up as if you were doing a standard dumbbell bench press. Then, with your elbows locked and while keeping your arms at a 135-degrees wide angle, lower the dumbbells all the way. To initiate the next rep, bring the weights to your side by bending the elbows (i.e., bring them into the start position for a dumbbell bench press). Ouch!
One final note: Use the same weight for all three sets.
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Single Leg Standing Deadlifts and Good Mornings
Just when we think we've heard of every exercise in existence, Ian King hits us with these two one-legged versions of popular lifts.
Let's start with the single leg standing deadlift. Stand on one foot with the other foot slightly off the ground. Bend the knee of the supporting leg a little but don't change the knee angle during the exercise.
Bend at the waist while allowing the back to round (yes, round!) and reach towards the floor. Touch the floor with the hands or the dumbbells if you're using them and go back up to the starting position. Use a speed of three seconds down, pause for one second at the top and bottom, and three seconds up.
Start with bodyweight only and when you can do ten reps at the correct tempo and without losing your balance, use light dumbbells.
Now for the one-legged good morning. It's basically the same as above only you'll be holding a light barbell (or even a broomstick until you get used to it) across your back. The shift in external resistance will make it feel a bit different than the single leg deadlift. Follow the same rules as above.
The Ham Pull-Through
This is a favorite of guys like Dave Tate and Coach Davies. Attach a rope like you'd use for triceps pushdowns to a low pulley cable. Face away from the weight stack, straddle the cable and hold the rope at crotch level. (Yes, you'll find the rope in a peculiar position!)
Spread your feet to wider-than-shoulder-width, with a slight bend at the waist. Now walk out a little so you'll be able to keep constant tension. Start the eccentric (lowering) part of the movement by pushing the butt back and reaching your hands through your legs. Full extension of the movement comes as your forearms/elbows touch the sides of your knees. The concentric or lifting part of the movement is a forward, upward explosion to a standing position, where your hands return to the crotch position.
These ought to hold you over until our next installment. If, in the meantime, you've got some fancy-schmancy exercises that are either new or were somehow left behind in the old days of weight training, let us know and we'll think about using them in the column?as long as you don't want any free stuff as a reward or anything.