Lifting weights is like sex. Parts of your body get hard and veiny. You make noises and dumb looking faces. You sweat. You shower afterwards. Mirrors and funny costumes may be involved. But like good nookie, training can get boring if you always do it the same way. Hence this article series. With these articles, you never have to be bored in the gym again. The bedroom, well, that's your business.
Side to Side Pull-up
Here's a pull-up variation you don't see much, probably because it's damn tough! Get into a wide-grip pull-up position. The hands should be placed a little wider than the shoulders. Instead of pulling yourself straight up, pull toward one hand at a time and "kiss" your wrist. Charles Poliquin tells us this is a favorite among judokas and wrestlers.
Prone Pulldown Curl
Here's a biceps exercise we got from Ian King. It was designed to reduce the involvement of the anterior delt while hitting the bi's hard.
Place a prone bench in line with the seat on the lat pulldown. Lie under the lat pulldown so your head is looking up directly under the pulley. Grab the lat pulldown bar and flex the elbows. Ideally the arms start in a position that's 90 degrees to the trunk. The elbows don't move during the exercise. The movement finishes with the lat pulldown bar on the forehead.
Seated Good Morning
Yes, you can sit on your duff and still build that posterior chain! There are two versions of the seated good morning. Coach Davies taught us the first version which involves sitting on the floor with the bar across your upper back. Don't perform without a sufficiently strong back or good range of motion. Rotate from the hips and don't roll the back; dig the heels in to drive the weight back up.
The second version of the seated good morning is performed while parked on a bench.
Sit down on the bench with your feet in a wide stance. Arch your lower back and bend over until your chest touches the bench, then come back up.
We picked this gem up from Don Alessi. The anconeus is the often forgotten fourth elbow extensor. When this muscle is tapped, it can boost triceps strength 10 to 30% in no time flat! Do a set of these sidekicks, then do your traditional triceps exercise and you'll be stronger – instantly.
Kneel on the floor, adjacent to a flat bench. Using an unbalanced grip, grasp the medial end of the dumbbell with a pronated grip (thumbs down). Horizontally abduct the humerus so that it lies supported on the bench (the elbow is free to move). Slowly, without swinging, extend the elbow to completion. Pause and then lower slowly.
Overhead Figure 8
Big Chad Waterbury taught us this killer exercise for the rotator cuffs and core torso muscles.
Hold two dumbbells overhead with the elbows locked and walk in a figure eight pattern. The length of the pattern should be about four meters each way. The elbows stay locked and the arms remain overhead throughout (keep the palms facing forward).
The figure eight pattern increases the instability of this exercise. Just holding two dumbbells up overhead isn't very challenging, but if you walk in this pattern, all of the rotator cuff muscles have to fire to stabilize the load. Therefore, it becomes a rotator cuff exercise that challenges the muscles in more than one plane.
Preacher Wrist Curl
You've done preacher curls. You've done wrist curls. But have you ever tried preacher wrist curls? If not, give them a shot!
Grab an EZ-curl bar, palms supinated in traditional biceps curl position. Next, flex/curl the wrists, then extend them to return to start position. Experiment with different grip widths for variety.
Here's an intense ab exercise you can do without any equipment. Assume a position where your feet are on the floor (shoulder width) while your hands are flat on the ground in front of you (also shoulder width). At the starting position your butt should be high in the air; imagine you're are making an inverted "V" with your body.
Walk your hands out as far as possible, then walk your hands back to the starting position. Preferably, at the end position, your abs should be two to three inches off the ground and you'll look like a flying superman. You won't feel like superman, though. This one really hurts!
Push-ups are for skinny mamas' boys who read Men's Fitness. T-men do iso-ballistic push-ups. Christian Thibaudeau says this drill is the upper body equivalent of a depth jump. The goal is to drop down into a push-up, project yourself in the air, land with the arms slightly bent and hold the position for fifteen seconds. This constitutes one rep. Ideally you want to do 3-6 reps per set for 3-4 sets.
We tried to write an article called "Sex Positions You've Never Tried" but Tim wouldn't let us. We think he's just jealous because he can only name six positions while we can name over seventy (fifty-two of which involve a real live partner!) Maybe we can sneak that article in next time.