Moves you must do

There’s more to life than bench­ing, bro. If your lift­ing’s hit a plateau, use these un­der­rated moves for new­found great­ness

Men's Fitness - - Contents -

Give these crim­i­nally un­der­rated lifts a sec­ond look and start to pack on lean mus­cle mass faster

1. ZERCHER SQUAT BET­TER SQUAT­TING WITH A BI­CEPS BONUS

In this squat vari­a­tion, you hold the bar­bell in the crook of your arms, adding core sta­bil­ity and bi­ceps work to the mix. “It en­cour­aged bet­ter tech­nique on the squat, and can be loaded with more than a gob­let squat,” says strength coach Joseph Light­foot. You’ll also get big­ger guns be­cause you hold the bar steady with your bi­ceps in an iso­met­ric con­trac­tion. Do three sets of six af­ter your heavy squats.

PER­FECT FORM Stand hold­ing a bar­bell in the crook of your arm. Keep­ing your weight on your heels and your torso up­right, bend at the hips and knees si­mul­ta­ne­ously to lower to­wards the floor un­til your thighs are par­al­lel to the ground. Then stand back up.

2. TURK­ISH GET-UP IM­PROVE FULL-BODY CO-ORDINATION

“These don’t get enough credit,” says per­sonal trainer Olli Fox­ley. “I’ve heard them called ‘loaded yoga’, which makes sense. When done well they de­velop mo­bil­ity, sta­bil­ity and strength through your hips and shoul­ders. They are also multi-di­rec­tional and teach a lot of body aware­ness.” Do two sets of five on each side as part of your warm-up.

PER­FECT FORM Lie flat on your back and hold a ket­tle­bell in one hand with your arm point­ing straight up. Bend the knee on the same side as the ket­tle­bell and plant your other arm flat on the floor by your side. Use your abs to lift your shoul­der on the ket­tle­bell side off the ground so that you move onto your el­bow on your free arm. Straighten your sup­port­ing arm, then bring your straight leg back and rest on your knee be­fore stand­ing up. Look at the weight through­out the move. Re­verse back to the start.

3. BAND PULL-APART MAKE YOUR SHOUL­DERS IN­JURY-PROOF

“A re­sis­tance band is the best in­vest­ment you can make in your shoul­der health,” says trainer Adam Wake­field. “It’s a life­saver for any­one who spends a lot of time at a desk so their shoul­ders slump for­wards. They don’t put a huge de­mand on the body so I rec­om­mend do­ing three sets of ten to 20 reps ev­ery morn­ing and evening.”

4. CHEST-SUP­PORTED ROW DE­VELOP A THICK, BROAD BACK

“One of the few gym ma­chine moves I like,” says Light­foot. “It en­cour­ages great form and move­ment.” If your gym doesn’t have one, the bar­bell (or dumb­bell) op­tion is still a solid bet. Lie face-down on a bench in­clined at roughly 45˚, and row by pulling your el­bows be­hind you and your shoul­der blades to­gether.

5. WEIGHTED CARRY BUILD LEAN FULL-BODY MUS­CLE

The farmer’s walk is the clas­sic, but al­most ev­ery type of carry works. “Pick­ing up some­thing heavy and car­ry­ing it will im­prove your grip, shoul­der health and up­per body pos­ture… and it has a huge meta­bolic ef­fect, so it’ll burn fat too,” says Fox­ley. Use a carry as a fin­isher: just pick a dis­tance and a weight, and don’t stop un­til you’re over the line.

PER­FECT FORM Hold a weight in each hand and pull your shoul­der blades back. En­gage your core and start walk­ing.

6. BUL­GAR­IAN SPLIT SQUAT GROW BIG­GER LEGS, BAR­BELL-FREE

“Most peo­ple who’ve done these prop­erly hate them,” says Wake­field. “They cause such a huge burn in your quads, ham­strings and glutes that just three sets of ten reps, even with only your body­weight, can be too much for some peo­ple. But they’re worth do­ing: as well as work­ing the ma­jor mus­cles of the lower body they also train your core, bal­ance and co-ordination. I put these at the fore­front of most clients’ leg train­ing be­cause they pro­vide a large stim­u­lus for in­creas­ing mus­cle strength and size.”

7. DUMB­BELL SNATCH HAR­NESS HAS­SLE-FREE POWER

“These have gone out of fash­ion, but they’re safer than try­ing to per­form the bar­bell snatch and still pro­vide a lot of the ben­e­fits,” says Wake­field. “The ini­tial drive to move the weight from the floor is ac­tu­ally done by ‘push­ing’ your feet into the floor while at the same time pulling with your arm and shoul­der mus­cles. As the weight moves over­head, you need to keep your core braced to ‘catch’ it. There isn’t a sin­gle mus­cle group that doesn’t get worked dur­ing a dumb­bell snatch.”

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