necessity is the mother of invention, then creativity
must be the father. You're now going to learn
5 exercises that are done on several ordinary
pieces of training equipment. Here's the kicker:
they have nothing to do with the original purpose
of the machine they're done on!
aware, if you try these, you will probably get
some strange looks at the gym. They're extremely
effective but definitely unconventional! My philosophy
has always been to let results speak for themselves.
You'll soon notice the very same people trying
the very same exercises they were wondering about!
There will be pictures of several of these exercises
available through a link at the end of the article.
1. Preacher Bench Seated Dumbell
you've never used the Preacher Bench for Shoulder
Presses, you're missing out on one of the most
effective Shoulder Press variations you can do.
Start by setting
the arm pad of the Preacher Bench low. Now
sit backwards on the seat (compared to the
regular forward Preacher Curl position)
with your back pressed against the pad.
The top edge of the arm pad should be pressed
against the upper section of your lower
you need to do is add a pair of dumbells and you've
got a Shoulder Press station that is, in my opinion,
better than any single dedicated Shoulder Press
station that I've ever used. Here's why:
a regular Shoulder Press station, the back pad
is flat and your upper back is pressed against
it. Even if the pad is tilted slightly back at
an angle, this leaves the lower back completely
unsupported during the movement. This is the biggest
downfall of every Shoulder Press station I've
tried. The lower back support is sorely lacking,
which is not good on an exercise that puts so
much pressure on the lower back.
you use the Preacher Bench, the top of the arm
pad pushes directly into the lower back area and
the upper back area is completely free. This unique
position not only supports the lower back, but
allows you to maintain an arch in the lower back
as you're doing the exercise. This dramatically
decreases the stress on the lower back during
the exercise and this, in my experience, can lead
to immediate increases in the amount of weight
a person can use for the movement!
bad...you get a safer movement and the ability
to use more weight immediately!
2. Calf Raise Machine Shrugs
standing calf raise machine can take the limitation
of your grip strength out of the shrug movement
instantly. It's easy...set up the machine as usual,
step under the pads and stand up. Now, instead
of doing calf raises, simply shrug!
can not only use more weight when you remove your
grip as a limiting factor, you can also do many
more reps, giving your traps an incredible workout!
how you do you adapt the standing calf raise machine
to do squats? That's easy too...set a bench under
the shoulder pads and stand on the bench instead
of on the regular foot plates. The only limitation
you may face here is range of motion - not all
calf raise machines will go that high when you're
standing on a bench under them.
can now do squats without a squat machine and
push yourself to the point where you truly can't
do another rep. All you have to do is set down
the weight when you're done, which is so much
easier than re-racking a barbell!
you're really ambitious, you can use this set-up
to do two-leg-up, one-leg-down squat negatives.
Push up to the top with two legs then lift one
leg off the bench and do a negative rep down on
only one leg. This is an excellent way to build
strength in the thighs.
3. Seated Bench Press Machine
one will get you some strange looks in the gym
- you may have to explain what you're doing to
almost everyone who walks by!
getting into position with lighter weight. First,
sit in the seat and press the weight to full lockout
in the regular bench press. Now, skootch (that's
the technical term) your butt up the back pad
as you push forward on the handles forcefully.
This takes a little practice to get used to so
try it a few times with lighter weight, as I mentioned
above. Your upper body should be horizontal at
this point and your arms extended at the top of
a shoulder press position.
do shoulder presses in this position. I've found
this unique exercise to be more effective for
shoulder presses than most shoulder press machines.
When you've finished your set, simply slide your
butt back down the back pad and lower the weight.
demonstrates the position on the vertical
bench press machine that you'll be in to perform
shoulder presses on it. Your upper body should
be horizontal at the start of the movement.
You can adjust your body position according
to the motion of the bench press as you do
the movement so that you get maximum tension
on the shoulders and keep the movement comfortable.
4. Flye Machine or Pec Deck
One Arm Rows
Pec Deck is not just for the chest anymore...you
can do an amazing One Arm Row with the Flye or
Pec Deck machine that rivals and even beats the
dumbell version in many ways.
in front of the Pec Deck or Flye Machine, facing
the seat. Take your left hand and grip the outside
of the left arm pad/handle. Brace your right hand
on the machine frame and brace your right foot
on the seat (necessary with heavier weights).
position mirrors the bottom position of the One
Arm Row. Start pulling the left arm pad/handle
around slowly, feeling the tension in the back.
Pull the arm pad/handle around and back as far
as you can, squeeze your back hard for a few seconds
then lower the pad/handle slowly.
allow the weights to touch at the bottom, which
will release the tension - use this opportunity
to get a HUGE stretch on the lats. This bottom
position is one of the best Lat stretches I've
ever found AND it's done against resistance, making
it even more effective for building the lats.
Finish the set then repeat with the other arm.
movement is useful because, in addition to the
great stretch, it also completely eliminates lower
back stress on the One Arm Row movement. All the
tension of the exercise is placed on the upper
back. You can also change where on your back the
exercise hits by changing where you grip the pad.
Grip high on the pad to hit the upper back (teres
major and rhomboids) area. Grip lower on the pad
to hit the lower lat area.
This is the
start position for the exercise. Note how
the hand is braced against the top frame
and the foot is braced on the seat.
you to reach forward and get an excellent
stretch on the lats at the start of the
is the contracted position of the movement.
Get a strong squeeze at this point and hold
it for a few seconds.
5. Resisted Crunches on the
Lying Leg Curl Machine
exercise is a killer! Not only is it very effective
for the abs when done using regular technique,
you can also use it for self-spotted negative
training to work the abs extremely hard!
will be using the Lying Leg Curl Machine for this
exercise (it won't work on a Seated or Standing
Leg Curl Machine). It will take a little experimentation
to get your body position and the pad position
comfortable so set it at a very light weight to
start with. Set the ankle pads on the shortest
notch available. You can move the pads up from
there if you need to after you've tried the exercise.
down on your back on the leg curl bench with your
head down by the ankle pads. Your head should
be at the end of the bench.
reach your arms back over your head and place
your forearms underneath the ankle pads where
you would normally place your feet. From that
position, do a crunch, lifting the ankle pads
with your arms and keeping your shoulders and
elbows locked into position.
exercise adds resistance to the crunch in an arc
over the entire movement from start to finish,
unlike when you just hold weight on your chest.
It results in an extremely strong contraction
in the abs.
mentioned that a person could do self-spotted
negatives with this exercise. I won't disappoint
the gluttons for punishment in the group!
This variation should only be attempted by advanced
trainers. It puts tremendous tension on the abdominal
muscles, which could result in injury to a less-experienced
trainer. Even advanced trainers should work up
to this exercise slowly.
how to do it:
the weight heavier. Instead of crunching with
your arms locked, first do a quick pullover-type
movement to get the ankle pads to the top of the
crunch position then quickly crunch your torso
up to the top position and clench your abs for
dear life. It takes an explosive movement to get
the weight and then your body into the starting
position so don't try and do this part slowly.
weight will immediately start pulling your torso
back down. Fight this as hard as you can by actively
trying to crunch up as it pulls you down. The
tension on the abs is incredible!
can also execute this by having a partner move
the weight up into position and hold it there
until you give the word to take the weight yourself.
these exercises a try the next time you're in
the gym. You may get some strange looks but you'll
have the last laugh!
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