There is no doubt that the basics of bodybuilding work despite what you may see from time to time on the internet. The barbell is the ultimate strength and muscle tool and will continue to work for anyone who takes it seriously. Integrating the Big 3 exercises — the barbell squat, bench, and deadlift — with the Olympic lifts should form the backbone of most conditioning and strength training. But in these variations of squats, hinges, and presses, we forget about the strength exercises and variations done by old-school strongmen to get even stronger.
Saying you have no interest in weightlifting or improving your strength numbers? If you’re looking to add muscle or simply get stronger than you were yesterday, these five forgotten bodybuilding exercises will always benefit your training by helping you lay a stronger foundation for your daily life in and out. the weight room.
These moves might seem a little unusual at first and may attract some strange looks, but if you’re looking for some accessory exercises to get through the lifting plateaus, try these five exercises. You might be pleasantly surprised.
5 FORGOTTEN STRENGTH EXERCISES
When looking to strengthen weakness in your core movements or diversify your accessory training, try one of these five forgotten strength exercises.
The bent press is a variation of one-sided pressing made famous by strength pioneers Eugen Sandow, Arthur Saxon and Louis Cyr in the 19th century. This exercise trains your body to support heavy weights above your head. Think of it as a standing Turkish outfit on steroids.
How to do
- Clean the kettlebell in the rack position and rotate the foot opposite the kettlebell about 45 degrees.
- Press your upper arm into your lat, swing the arm away from your chest, and rotate your torso with your arm. Remember to rest the working elbow on your hip.
- Then twist your torso forward as the kettlebell moves behind you. Feel the weight shift to your legs. Rest the opposite arm on your thigh.
- While looking towards the kettlebell, lock your elbow and get under it.
- Once your arm is extended, stand up.
- Carefully reverse the movement and reset and repeat
*Note: This can be done with a variety of equipment, including dumbbells and kettlebells (pictured here).
How it helps: The bent press improves chest mobility and shoulder strength, which directly impacts air strength and any sport or activity that requires torso rotation.
Sets and reps: Three to five sets of 3 to 5 reps on each side at the start of your workout.
This exercise is named after the weightlifter who first used them, powerlifting champion Kirk Karwoski. He and his trainer Marty Gallagher developed it to improve Kirk’s grip strength, but both soon realized it put blocks of muscle on the upper traps. As a side benefit, it helped crush his deadlift strength numbers.
How to do:
- Place the barbell at thigh level in a squat rack.
- Grip using a thumbless overhand grip.
- Raise the weight using only your traps and lats and pause for a second when you get to your navel
- Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position, reset and repeat.
How it helps: If you want to develop a big yoke, this exercise is for you. Additionally, the increased strength and muscle in your upper back helps keep the bar close to you during your deadlift and provides a “shelf” for barbell squats.
Sets and reps: Do three to four sets of 8 to 12 reps and end with an upper body workout, or pick a weight around 30-40% of your 1RM deadlift and do AMRAP.
The Pendlay line is named after the former coach Glenn Pendley, who lost his battle with cancer a few years ago. Pendlay saw a flaw in the bent row, and this was his way of fixing it. He came up with this row variation that starts each rep from a dead stop to increase maximum back strength and explosiveness in your deadlift..
How to do:
- Sit as you would for a conventional deadlift.
- Hinge and grab the bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip.
- Squeeze your armpits together and pull your chest in so your back is neutral.
- Next, explosively pull the bar towards your sternum.
- Return the bar to the floor, reset and repeat.
How it helps: Spending time in the hinge position does wonders for your lower back strength and endurance. If deadlifting slowly from the ground is your weakness, the explosive nature of the Pendlay row will help.
Sets and reps: This row variation is best performed for strength and power, so performing three to five sets of 4 to 8 reps works well.
When JM Blakey was training at Westside Barbell and breaking ALL bench press records in sight, those who trained with him noticed he was performing a lift they had never seen before. It was a hybrid move, part tight-grip bench press, part skull crusher, and part total triceps builder. And when they did, they loved it, and the JM press was born.
How to do
- Begin the exercise the same way as the close-grip bench press, except the barbell is directly above your upper chest. Imagine running a line from the barbell to the upper pecs.
- Use a narrow grip about 16 inches apart.
- The elbows are 45 degrees from the body and are held in place the entire time.
- As you bring the bar towards you, cock the wrist to hold the bar in place.
- Lower the bar until your forearm touches your bicep. Let the bar back about an inch to keep your elbows pointing forward and up. Then press the bar up.
how it helps: JM presses focus on locking triceps strength that transfers directly to your bench and overhead press. Due to the shorter ROM, you will also go heavier than your usual triceps extension variation.
Sets and reps: Three to five sets of 4 to 6 reps for strength or two to three sets of 8 to 12 for muscles.
Deadlift with grip
The snatch grip deadlift gets its name from the Olympic lift because it resembles the first part of the snatch lift. The wider grip puts a lot of strain on the upper back muscles, as they work harder to keep the spine neutral. Plus, it helps improve your grip strength because your hands are shoulder-width apart.
How to do:
- Put your feet under the bar with a wider than conventional stance and angle your feet slightly.
- Bend down, assume a short grip, and ensure hands are in full contact with the bar. You may need to bend your knees a little to lower your hips.
- Squeeze your armpits, lift your chest, and press your feet into the floor.
- Finish with your glutes at lockout, lower to the floor, reset and repeat.
how it helps: IMO, you can’t get enough upper back strength for the deadlift or any other exercise, and this deadlift variation tests it to the max. This variation puts the hips in a lower position, and more punch is needed for the initial pull, making it a safer option than deficit deadlifts for some lifters.
Sets and reps: Do these if you’re slow on the ground, need to improve your grip strength, or are looking for a bit of variety. Three to five sets of 3 to 6 reps work well.