Q: For each of the major bodyparts what exercises do you feel are most underused by bodybuilders today? Also, why do you feel those exercises are so valuable? Thanks.
Let’s begin this time with shoulders.
Shoulders: When it comes to destroying delts, I see no shortage of presses—barbell, dumbbell, machine—and laterals being performed in gyms across America. Those are definitely some of the most effective shoulder-building movements available. The one exercise I do not see very often, however, at least when it comes to shoulder training, is upright rows. Yes, I do see my fellow lifters doing the movement with a close grip, pulling their elbows up higher than the delts, with the bar reaching a point of about chin level—but that variation makes it a far more effective midtrap builder than shoulder scorcher. To hit the delts more effectively, you need a few small adjustments, and you’ll get specific emphasis on the all-important lateral deltoid head. I recommend using a straight-bar barbell to accomplish that. You could, of course, use a cable by attaching a wide-grip-pulldown bar to a lower pulley. Grab the bar with an overhand grip that is just a little wider than your shoulders. Standing straight and using only deltoid power, bring your elbows up to the point where the bar reaches lower- to midchest level. That will eliminate the traps’ involvement to a very large degree while simultaneously activating the anterior—and especially the lateral—deltoid heads quite strongly. It’s an excellent movement for using heavier weights than laterals will allow for, thus making it a very efficient shoulder “capping” exercise.
Biceps: Most trainees do a pretty solid job of building their biceps with basic exercises like barbell curls, preacher curls and alternate dumbbell curls. Some more adventurous lifters might also include exercises like concentration curls, front-double-biceps-pose cable curls and spider curls. One very basic biceps exercise that is overlooked by about 99 percent of bodybuilders, however, is not even a “curl” at all. I’m referring to the close-underhand-grip pullup.
When bodybuilders think of -pullups, they’re usually formulating their back-day strategy, but when performed during a biceps workout, after all the curls are done—or as part of a superset with a curl—close-underhand-grip pullups will ignite a fire in your bi’s like nothing you have ever experienced. The keys to making the exercise really effective for biceps are to grip the bar with your hands just a few inches apart, to relax the lats consciously so they cannot do the majority of the pulling, to make sure that there is a slight bend at the elbow at the beginning of the range of motion and to pull all the way to the point where the biceps are fully flexed and contracted hard. The movement is a true compound biceps exercise and will smash your guns in a way that no curl can. As I’ve mentioned before, any movement that has you pulling your own weight through space forces your muscles and nervous system to work in a unique way—one that greatly stimulates the anabolic process.
Editor’s note: Eric Broser’s new DVD, “Power/Rep Range/Shock Max-Mass Training System,” is available at Home-Gym.com. His e-books, Power/Rep Range/Shock Workout and The FD/FS Mass-Shock Workout, which include complete printable workout templates and Q&A sections, are available at X-Workouts.com.