Sometimes the best exercise is the one you’re not doing. And why, exactly, is such a great move not part of your training? Probably one of two reasons: you don’t know it exists, or it’s so challenging that you’d rather skip it and do something easier.
The following nine exercises are ones we feel every physique-conscious guy should practice. Some you’ve heard of but are ignoring, and others are so unique we bet they’ve never crossed your mind. Either way, it’s time to add these moves to your repertoire.
1) Front Squat
Front squats have really helped my quad development, especially when I was preparing for the Ironman. Most people don’t do front squats, because they’re uncomfortable and there are easier alternatives, but to really add size to the quads, they’re a must.
In a power rack, place the bar across your front deltoids with your forearms crossed in front of you and hands gripping the bar. unrack the bar, step back, and begin the set standing straight up with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your elbows pointed straight ahead, not downward.
Keeping a slight arch in your lower back, squat down over your heels, keeping your elbows up, until your thighs reach parallel with the floor. Press up through your heels until your knees are extended but not locked out.
2) Arched-Back Pullup
This exercise involves both a vertical and horizontal pull from the upper body—most pulling moves involve only one or the other. It maximizes core and abdominal recruitment. So, the arched-back pullup hits about as much total muscle as any lift.
Drape a neutral-grip cable rowing handle over a pullup bar. Grasp the handle with both hands and start from a hanging position, arms fully extended. Pull your chest toward the handle while also lifting your hips up and letting your head travel back so that at the top of the rep, your chest touches your hands and your torso is roughly parallel with the floor.
3) Crush-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press
Crushing the dumbbells together while slowing the tempo increases the tension across the chest, shoulders, triceps, and upper back. More time under tension will immediately increase the muscle-building and natural hormone-release effect.
Sit on the end of a flat bench holding a pair of dumbbells. Lie back and hold the dumbbells over your chest, arms extended, with the insides of the dumbbells touching. as you lower the weights toward your chest, press them together as hard as possible. When they reach your chest, lift the weights back up, still pressing them together. Keep the rep speed slow.