This month I conclude my diatribe on bodybuilding’s most underused exercises.
Triceps: When it comes to building the tri’s, pushdowns and kickbacks have their place in a solid routine. If you really want to pack on the mass, however, you want to hit them first with a heavy, compound exercise or two that will force them to expand in size. I admit that I do witness a fair amount of hardcore lifters perform their share of lying skull crushers and seated French presses, but I see fewer and fewer guys pounding away on what I believe is the best triceps builder of them all: close-grip bench presses.
Performed correctly, which means proper hand spacing (just inside shoulder width), full range of motion (an inch from the chest to full lockout) and intense focus on pushing with the triceps rather than the pecs, the close-grip bench press is your best bet for developing big, thick, hanging triceps. Another trick I’ve learned that makes it even more effective is to bring the bar to the lower chest and to think about pushing the bar both up and away from you. Since that can be dangerous with a free bar, I suggest doing it on a Smith machine. Get serious with close-grip bench presses, continually getting stronger at them, and I promise you will stretch your shirtsleeves to the max.
Forearms: For the first 10 years of my lifting career I felt that heavy deadlifts and rowing movements were enough to beef up the area from the elbows to the wrists—and for a long time it worked. There came a time, however, when I took a good look at my forearms and realized that they had not only fallen behind my upper arms but were actually throwing off the overall proportions of my physique. That was unacceptable, so I immediately embarked on an intense forearm-forging routine.
Of all the exercises I tried, the one that delivered the most was—and still is—hammer curls. While the movement isn’t totally rare in gyms, it’s underrated and underused, in my opinion. Hammer curls not only add a ton of beef to the forearm, but they also treat the brachialis to a serious onslaught of pain and growth. There are many variations you can use, all of which hit slightly different motor unit pools. Try them alternate-style and seated, standing or on an incline, with a rope attached to a low pulley, seated concentration-curl style, off the 90 degree side of a preacher bench, straight up and down or across your torso. It’s hammer time!
Abdominals: Okay, when it comes to abs, the most neglected “exercise” is really a two-part conversation. The reason most people are dissatisfied with their six-pack—or should I say lack thereof—is not that their actual abdominal muscles are underdeveloped but rather that too much fat is obscuring them. Sorry, that’s tough love, but I gotta give it.
So what two “exercises” am I referring to? First there is cardiovascular. Make sure to get in some type of cardio exercise at least three to five times per week for 30 to 45 minutes at a shot—all depending on how much fat you have to lose. Do it either right after you get up in the morning or right after the weights. The second exercise is one of restraint. You must restrain yourself at the table, my friends. Yes, fast and junk foods taste wonderful, but they’re not going to let you see a clear six-pack if you indulge too often.
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.