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So often we get caught up in our same old gym routine without really changing things up in terms of exercises. So if you are looking for great alternative exercises to really challenge your muscles in a new way, then why not try out some of these killer moves.
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Why it is a great exercise – While front squats can be an uncomfortable exercise to perform, they are a great alternative to the traditional back squat which can help to build a monstrous set of quads.
How to perform the exercise – Place the bar across the front of your shoulders with your forearms crossed and pointed straight ahead, and hands holding the bar. Unrack the bar and step back. Stand with your feet in a typical squat position (about shoulder-width apart). As you start to bend your legs and perform the squat, make sure you keep a slight arch in your lower back. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Once you have reached the bottom position, drive upward through your heels until your knees are almost completely extended but not locked out.
Why it is a great exercise – The great thing about this exercise is that is involves both a vertical and horizontal pull from the upper body which helps to maximize core recruitment and targets most muscle throughout the back.
How to perform the exercise – If your gym doesn’t have a narrow, neutral-grip pull up bar, then hang a neutral-grip cable rowing handle over a pull bar and grasp the handle with both hands. Hang from the bar with arms fully extended. Pull yourself up so that your chest comes toward the handle and simultaneously raising your hips and allowing your head to travel back.
At the top position of the lift, your torso should be almost parallel with the floor.
Why it is a great exercise – Because this exercise is performed with a slow tempo, it increases the time under tension of the working muscles which helps to elicit muscle growth and natural anabolic hormones. By “crushing” the dumbbells together, you will be placing the tension across the chest, triceps and upper back.
How to perform the exercise – Grab a set of dumbbells and lie back as you would to do a traditional dumbbell press. With your arms extended, hold the dumbbells with the insides touching. Press the weights together as you lower them towards your chest. Continue to press them together as you lift the weights back up. Keep a 3-1-3-1 tempo.
Why it is a great exercise – If done correctly, the wide-grip upright row is a great exercise for shoulder development.
How to perform the exercise – Grab a barbell with a grip which is slightly wider than shoulder-width and stand with it in front of you with arms fully extended. Keep your knees slightly bent as you pull the bar straight up until it reaches chest height. Keep your shoulders depressed so that there is constant tension on the shoulder muscles. Hole the contraction at the top for a count of 1 and then slowly lower the bar back to the start position.
Why it is a great exercise – A number of people tend to neglect doing overhead lifts for triceps. The problem with this is that in doing so they tend to not work the long head of the tricep effectively. This move allows you to target the long head of the tricep to elicit growth.
How to perform the exercise – Sit on a low-back seat with an EZ bar overhead and with your hands in an underhand grip and within shoulder width (narrow grip). Bend your elbows and lower the weight backwards while keeping your upper arms pointed upwards. When you elbos are at roughly 90 degrees of flexion or just beyond, drive the weight back up to extend your elbows. Make sure not to lock them out completely at the top.
Why it is a great exercise – The great thing about this uncommon exercise is that it works the entire posterior chain which can help you to improve other big lifts like squats and deadlifts.
How to perform the exercise – Grab a light barbell and place it across the back of your shoulders as you would with a squat. Stand with your feet roughly shoulder width apart. Bend your hips so that your torso lowers forward toward the floor. Make sure to keep your knees slightly bent and your back flat. When your chest is parallel with the floor, reverse the movement and return to the start position.