Think of bodybuilding as a language, and think of the exercises we do in the gym as words in that language. Trouble is, most of us have "vocabularies" smaller than that of Koko the gorilla, who recently was featured on a very popular AOL chat. (Koko was asked if he liked to talk to people, to which thousands and thousands of web surfers the world over heard the answer, "Fine nipple." Huh? Koko need go back to skool.)
Anyhow, most of us learn a very basic repertoire of exercises, and we stick with them until they pry our cold, dead, callused hands off of the Olympic bar. It's understandable, though, since very few of us have the spare time to experiment with new exercises. The traditional bodybuilding mags don't help much, either, as most of the descriptions that they give of different exercises are damn near incomprehensible. We once followed the instructions in a Muscle and Fitness for doing Bulgarian deadlifts and ended up making beef stroganoff for six.
With that in mind, we've taken it upon ourselves to build your "vocabulary." Each month (or whenever we get our lazy butts around to it), we'll feature a new exercise either invented by one of us or by one of our colleagues. Try 'em out and let us know if you like them. And, if you have an exercise that you invented, email us a description of the exercise, and we'll name it after you. Just think of the thrill that you'll feel when you see Jablonski rhomboid squeezes mentioned in the same breath as Scott curls!
I strongly suspect that someone's already invented this movement and that it probably already has a name — a normal name. The thing is, I don't know who first came up with it. Maybe it was that wild wag of an exercise theorist, Jerry Telle, or maybe it was our own coach Poliquin. It doesn't matter, though. It's not like you can patent an exercise and claim a royalty every time some stiff decides to do it.
With that said, let me introduce you to the funky chicken. The exercise is a rather strange one in that it works both the biceps and the medial delts. Okay, as far as a biceps movement, it's no great shakes, but it's a helluva' delt movement, and that's why I've deemed it worthy of Testosterone readers. The beauty of the movement is that it allows you to do a type of lateral raise, only using a much greater weight than might otherwise be possible.
If you're a big fan of lateral raises you've, no doubt, noticed that the concentric part of the movement (the actual lifting part) is a lot harder than the eccentric, or lowering part of the movement. Too bad it's the eccentric part of the movement that's most directly responsible for muscle growth! Well, funky chickens provide a solution to that problem.
Here's how you do them:
1) Grab a pair of dumbbells (you'll have to experiment with the weight) using a semi-supinated grip (with the palms facing your thighs).
2) Curl the weights up as if you were doing a traditional hammer curl.
3) Once you curl the weight to the top, flair out your elbows so that they're parallel to the ground.
4) Now, extend the weights out until your arms are completely outstretched.
5) Lower the weights to the starting position and repeat steps 1-4.
Most people I know don't get all that much out of conventional lateral raises, but funky chickens will make you feel like you've been plucked, gutted, and fried up for Sunday dinner. Try them out and let us know how they work.