4 Exercises You Aren’t Doing But Should (Part 1 of 4)
We have all trained in commercial gyms, and I’m sure we have all probably either done or seen the same exercises done over and over again. While it is important to follow a regimen or program to maximize your progress, it is also important to continue to find ways to change it up as well. Doing different exercises creates new stimulation necessary for your muscles to grow. No matter your goals, exposing your body to these new stimuli creates change that will benefit you as you continue to workout. Many people realize this fact but often have difficulty implementing different exercises into their routines. For one reason or another, some exercises are more popular than others. In this four part series, I will discuss four exercises that I rarely see performed in commercial gyms, but that I feel everyone can benefit from doing. These exercises may be used as an occasional alternative to the more popular lifts or can be done alongside the main barbell lifts in order to supplement them. These exercises all involve the barbell and all four will help build strength, power, and stability that everyone can benefit from, no matter their goals. After reading this series and trying these exercises out for yourself, I believe you will agree that the main reason these exercises are not often done is that they are difficult and challenging. But I promise, if you try them, you will understand why they made this list.
The goodmorning is a personal favorite of mine. It is a great way to train the thoracic area to stay tight and strong under tension. Training the thoracic area can lead to benefits on numerous other lifts including squat and deadlift. I have found it most effective to perform it with higher repetitions, usually between six and ten with eight being the goal number. I perform it in this rep range because I am usually doing heavier weight with less than five repetitions on my deadlifts and squats. The higher rep range also allows me to train my body to stay tight and structured under tension for a longer period.
The higher rep range is what I found to be best for my personal goals. Depending on your own individual goals and the reason for trying this exercise, the desired rep range can vary greatly. If you haven’t done this exercise in the past, start by practicing with an unloaded bar and then proceed with extremely light weight. While performing this exercise, the bar path does not remain centered and travels from the midfoot to the front of the foot. This is rarely an intended movement while performing a barbell lift. The path of the barbell is what makes this such a beneficial exercise, since it exposes your body to the new stimulation discussed previously. Remember, it is crucial to do the exercise with proper form and weight due to the fact the unfamiliar motion can cause problems in your back if done incorrectly. However, do not let that risk scare you away, because once you have the proper form down, the benefits the goodmorning provides significantly outweigh any risks.
- Rack the bar on your back as if you were performing a back squat.
- While standing with the bar on your back, breath in while thinking about creating a “big” chest. You should feel your upper back tighten.
- Begin descent by pushing your hips back behind you.
- Avoid locking your knees but pay attention not to bend your knees as you would during a squat.
- Continue descent until structure begins to weaken.
- Return along same path to starting position.
Really focus on holding the big chest and tight upper back as that is going to be the key to performing this exercise efficiently and safely. When beginning the descent, picture a rope tied to the back of your belt and someone standing directly behind you, pulling your hips back as your chest descends. You will begin to feel a nice stretch on your hamstrings. If standing in front of a mirror, avoid trying to watch yourself and focus your eyes outwards and slightly down in front of you. This eye position keeps your head in a neutral position. The range of motion will differ from person to person but I usually go until I feel I’m about to lose structure and then I return to the starting position. When returning to the starting position squeeze your glutes and try desperately to hold your breath until you complete the rep. Breathing while performing a rep can cause your muscles to relax possibly putting you into a compromising situation.
Be sure to check out the video below for a visual instruction.