The 9 best exercises you’re not doing

THESE muscle-building moves have been absent from your workouts for too long-maybe forever. It’s time for a proper introduction.

THESE muscle-building moves have been absent from your workouts for too long-maybe forever. It’s time for a proper introduction.

Sometimes the best exercise is the one you’re not doing. And why, exactly, is such a great move not part of your training? Probably one of two reasons: a) you don’t know it exists, or b) it’s so challenging that you’d rather skip it and do something easier. The following nine exercises are ones we feel every physique-conscious guy should practice. Some you’ve heard of but are ignoring, and others are so unique we bet they’ve never crossed your mind. Either way, it’s time to add these moves to your repertoire.

Front Squat (lower body, core)

Why You Should Be Doing It

“Front squats have really helped my quad development, especially when I was preparing for the Ironman,” says Phil Heath. “Most people don’t do front squats, because they’re uncomfortable and there are easier alternatives, but to really add size to the quads, they’re a must.”

Crush-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press (upper body)

Why You Should Be Doing It

“’Crushing’ the dumbbells together while slowing the tempo increases the tension across the chest, shoulders, triceps, and upper back,” says Jim Smith, C.S.C.S. strength & Conditioning (dieselsc.com), member of the livestrong.com advisory board) “More time under tension will immediately increase the muscle-building and natural hormone-release effect.”

How To Do It

Sit on the end of a flat bench holding a pair of dumbbells. Lie back and hold the dumbbells over your chest, arms extended, with the insides of the dumbbells touching. As you lower the weights toward your chest, press them together as hard as possible. When they reach your chest, lift the weights back up, still pressing them together. Keep the rep speed slow.

Arched Back Pull-Up (upper body)

Why You Should Be Doing It

“This exercise involves both a vertical and horizontal pull from the upper body—most pulling moves involve only one or the other,” Martin Rooney (CEO of trainingforwarriors.com and author of Warrior Cardio: The Revolutionary Metabolic Training System for Burning Fat, Building Muscle, and Getting Fit) says. “It maximizes core and abdominal recruitment. So, the arched-back pull-up hits about as much total muscle as any lift.”

Wide-Grip Upright Row (upper body)

Why You Should Be Doing It

“Wide-grip upright rows can be a great deltoid builder if used correctly,” Justin Grinnell, C.S.C.S. (powerlifter and co-owner of State of Fitness in East Lansing, MI (mystateoffitness.com)) says. “Doing them with the wider grip will take the traps out of the movement,” he says, “and you’ll hit the delts better than you would if you were using a narrow grip.” But if you have shoulder impingement issues, proceed with caution.

How To Do It

Stand holding a barbell in front of your thighs with your arms fully extended and your hands outside shoulder width. With your knees slightly bent, pull the bar straight up your body, bending your elbows, until it reaches chest height. As you lift the bar, don’t let your shoulders shrug up; keep them depressed to maintain tension in the delts. Hold the contraction at the top for a count, then lower back down.

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