A lot of people in the gym all do the same exercises. Machines have evolved and become more commonplace and as they developed some exercises that are still very useful have become less used because people just don’t know about them. It was like the time I started doing an Arnold Press and soon I had 6 or 8 people watching me intently because they had never seen it before.
As good as the basic exercises most people do are, having additional options in your toolbox helps immensely. For starters, it helps break up the monotony of your workout. But more importantly is that new exercises attack the muscles in different ways which helps spur growth.
Little Used Exercises
- Half Deadlifts – On back day it can be rough to do regular deadlifts if your legs are still recovering from a workout. With the glutes and hamstrings still being sore from squats sometimes it feels like overtraining to deadlift. But nothing beats doing deadlifts for building a strong back and powerful forearms. Try doing half lifts instead inside a power cage with the pins set at about knee height. You should be able to use more weight and might actually get a better workout.
- Shoulder Squeezes – This is an odd exercise for back day. Life face down on an incline bench at about 30 or 45 degrees with a pair of medium weight dumbbells (half of what you would row). Let your arms hang straight down. Now pull your shoulder blades together and hold the squeeze for a two count then release. It feels a bit weird at first but this really nails your inner back.
- Single Arm Pulldowns – Attach a single arm handle to the pulldown station. Then simply work one arm at a time doing pulldowns. This actually gets a better contraction of the lat because it allows your hand some leeway on motion.
- Straight Arm Pulldowns – This exercise is hardly used but fully endorsed by Mr. Back, Dorian Yates. Stand at a pulldown station with a wide bar attached. Use about 1/3 to 1/4 what you do pulldowns with. Place your hands about shoulder width apart on the top of the bar. While keeping your arms straight, lower the bar towards your waist. This will make your lats sore.
- Incline Cable Flyes – Just like regular flyes but you place an incline bench in the middle of a cable-crossover station and set the pulleys down low. This allows for a better contraction at the top range of motion compared to dumbbells.
- Low Cable Crossovers – This is doing cable crossovers but with the pulleys set low instead of high. Your hands travel up and together at about shoulder height. It is like doing decline flyes but again with a better contraction for the middle of your chest.
- Incline EX Curl Triceps Extension – This is just like doing triceps extensions on a flat bench where you lower the weight to your forehead. But when you use an incline bench, if you keep your upper arms vertical and elbows tight you will feel an incredible stretch compared to using a flat bench.
- Low Cable Triceps Kickbacks – Instead of a dumbbell use a low cable pulley for kickbacks. It works the full range of motion better with more resistance than just a dumbbell.
- Spider Curls – Take a standing preacher curl bench and simply do curls on the opposite side. Your upper arms will be vertical instead of angled like a normal preacher curl. Use lighter weight and expect one hell of a workout. This gets a similar effect as preacher curls but with much less pressure on the elbow.
- Zottman Curls – This is a great biceps/forearm blaster. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and with palms facing up curl them to your shoulder. At the top, rotate your wrists so palms are facing down and slowly lower the weight like a reverse curl.
You should try each one of these bad-boys in your next workout and see what they do for you. More than likely you will get some people checking you out and possibly copying them.