Let’s be honest with one another. The title of this article isn’t all that original. Yep, I said it. Me being honest about the fact that the title of this article isn’t very original goes against what a writer is “supposed” to say. However, based on the high-quality information here on Menprovement, I am going to assume that you will appreciate my honesty.
So, if the title isn’t original in any way, shape or form, how is this article different from others of its’ kind?
The difference is that the merits of the exercises that I discuss below have been assessed using biomechanics, anatomy, and practicality. This article is not a bunch of exercises that I thought sounded cool (even though some of them do sound cool). I will tell you about the movement and then affirm its’ usefulness with science.
Some of these exercises are not commonly used, and they may look odd at first, but I assure you that if you take the time to understand the logic and reasoning behind them, your training will be taken to another level.
Let’s dive into the exercises:
1) The Preacher Row (Back)
I affectionately named this exercise the preacher row because as you are performing the movement, it looks as though you are bowing before a higher power.
Well-developed lats make your back appear wider, which will make your waist seem smaller. A large shoulder to waist ratio (broad shoulders and small waist) has been found by research to be very attractive to women. So, yeah, the lats are important.
The lats are a shoulder extensor, which means that they draw the upper arm backward. Most standard pulling exercises (the barbell row, the dumbbell row, etc.) only put the top of the arm through about a 90-degree range of motion.
Because of the changing of the orientation of your torso, the Preacher Row puts the upper arm through a 180-degree range of motion. An exercise that puts a muscle through a longer range of movement is always better than a shorter one.
2) The Guillotine Press (Chest)
The Guillotine Press is one of the most appropriately named exercises in history. You must be in complete and total control during the execution of this exercise, or else you will be headless.
Seriously, be careful.
The clavicular (upper) and sternocostal (lower) heads are the two parts that make up the pecs. During the Guillotine Press, the uppermost portion of the pecs will receive the majority of the stress from the barbell
To explain why the upper part of the chest receives the majority of the work during this movement I must first quickly explain the concept of line of resistance. The line of resistance refers to the direction from which the resistance is coming. On any barbell or dumbbell exercise, the line of resistance is gravity, or straight down.
If you’re interested in learning more about line of resistance and how it can dramatically improve your training you can do so here.
The Guillotine Press places the sternocostal head of the chest directly opposite the line of resistance, which means that this exercise is perfect for working the top of your pecs making for a fuller, more defined chest.
Here is a cool video about how to do the Guillotine Press:
3) The Suitcase Deadlift (Forearms, Obliques, and Lower Back)
This deadlift variation is awesome for numerous reasons. First, with regular use of the Suitcase Deadlift your forearms will blow up, which is imperative if you want that rugged lumberjack look. Also, this exercise will cause the significant development of your obliques, and, if having a stunning core is one of your goals, the obliques deserve your attention.
Hand strength is an often overlooked part of physical fitness. Everyone wants a big bench press, which is fine. However, having strong hands has far more applications to life outside the gym. You’ll give firmer handshakes (every man should have a firm handshake), and you’ll never suffer the embarrassment of not being able to open a jar for your girlfriend.
Also, throughout every repetition of the Suitcase Deadlift, your forearms are contracted. A constant contraction throughout a movement is called an isometric contraction. Strategic use of isometrics have great merits and deserve a place in your strength training program.
The obliques are responsible for anti-lateral flexion and anti-rotation of the spine, which is just a fancy way of saying the obliques keep you from spinning your torso or leaning sideways to the extent that the spine snaps. The function of a muscle dictates how it should be trained.
Picking up a 100 lb bar off the ground while maintaining an upright posture and neutral spine is as anti-lateral flexion as it gets.
You can check how to the suitcase deadlift here:
4) Silverback Shrug (Traps)
Have you ever seen a guy with massive traps? They look intimidating, almost beastly. So, from the perspective of standing out in a crowd, big traps are a must. The Silverback Shrug is as close as it gets to a complete trap exercise.
The anatomy of the traps is interesting. Most people only think of the traps as the muscle that sits atop your shoulders, but it covers the spine from your neck all the way down to your mid-back. The traps are responsible for the movement of your shoulder blade in nearly every direction.
Remember how we discussed the line of resistance? Well, the Silverback Shrug puts that concept to real use. The Silverback Shrug, because of the slight lean forward, places a greater portion of the traps opposite the line of resistance than the standard shrugging movement.
In short, the Silverback Shrug will work more of the traps than the average shrugging exercise.
5) Offset Grip Cable Curl (Biceps)
Step into a gym on any given day of the week and you’ll find men doing endless amounts of curls, and I don’t blame them. We all want big biceps. While there are a lot of bicep movements that work well, the Offset Grip Cable Curl stands above the rest.
The biceps flex your elbow, and your elbow is a hinge joint, which seems pretty straightforward. Most bicep exercises accomplish that. So what is so good about the Offset Grip Cable Curl?
First, the line of resistance is coming from down and backward as opposed to just downward like most standard curling motions. The changed line of resistance will apply constant tension throughout the exercise, which is something dumbbell and barbell curls don’t do.
Also, the biceps are a forearm supinator, which means the muscle twists your forearm until it is facing the ceiling. The offset grip that you will be using on this exercise adds extra resistance to the twisting portion of the movement, which forces your arms to work even harder.
Here’s a quick summary of each exercise we discussed.
The Preacher Row is one of the few exercises that applies resistance to the entire functioning range of motion of the lats.
The Silverback Shrug places a larger amount of the traps opposite the line of resistance, which makes it superior to the standard shrugging exercise.
The Guillotine Press puts the uppermost part of the pecs opposite the line of resistance. If you are looking to build your upper chest, then this one is for you.
The Suitcase Deadlift has multiple functions; Strengthening your hands, building your forearms, and developing your obliques.
The Offset Grip Cable Curl trains both functions of the bicep and has a more beneficial line of resistance.
I hope you enjoyed the article, and, more importantly, I hope you learned something. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Thanks for reading!
Bryan, A. (2006). Female waist-to-hip and male waist-to-shoulder ratios as determinants of romantic partner desirability. Journal Of Social & Personal Relationships. 23(5), 805-819 15p.
McGinnis, Peter Merton. Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2013. Print.