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Category Archive Bodybuilding

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

            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.

 

Instructions  

  1. Rack the bar on your back as if you were performing a back squat.
  2. While standing with the bar on your back, breath in while thinking about creating a “big” chest. You should feel your upper back tighten.
  3. Begin descent by pushing your hips back behind you.
  4. Avoid locking your knees but pay attention not to bend your knees as you would during a squat.
  5. Continue descent until structure begins to weaken.
  6. 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.

New Article on the blog. 4 Exercises You Aren't Doing But Should Part 1 of 4 Billmarnich.com #trainingwithawhy

A video posted by Bill Marnich (@billmarnich) on

A Bodybuilder’s Worst Enemy

A bodybuilder’s worst enemy isn’t anything tangible. It’s not genetics or even a bad diet. No, a bodybuilder’s worst enemy is having an inflated ego. Sometimes, having an ego is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem with having an ego starts when it gets in the way of smart, efficient, goal-orientated training. Bodybuilding is a very specific style of training with a very specific goal in mind. The goal of bodybuilding is to build the best possible physique. When bodybuilding, the goal cannot be to lift as much weight as possible, to set new personal records, or to perform mind-blowing athletic feats in the gym. The goal must always be to achieve the best physique that you can. The weights being lifted are just a means to an end, the tool used to achieve the ultimate goal. An ego can cause the amount of weight being lifted to become the priority and make it the final goal instead image1of just a tool.  It’s common for the final goal to become blurred if a person loses focus of their why. I have discussed the importance of keeping your why focused and clear in my other posts on this blog.  You must know why you are training in the first place. If the answer is anything other than to attain the best possible physique that you can, then bodybuilding may not be what is best for achieving your goals. However, if your answer does lead you to bodybuilding, then you have to train like a bodybuilder, always keeping your focus clear and your ego under control.  This may sound simple, but you would be surprised how many people lose this focus and let their ego get the best of them.

Again, I cannot stress enough how important it is to fully understand that training like a bodybuilder means that the weight being used is just a means to an end.  This means that you cannot be overly worried with the amount of weight being lifted because your goal needs to be the appearance of your physique.  Instead, you need to be focused on the quality of the reps of your lifts. We have all seen people in the gym obviously using too much weight, doing fast, uncontrolled, or not full reps and therefore, not achieving much of anything. When you use a weight that is too heavy, you are forced to use either momentum, muscles not intended to be used, or both. With a few exceptions, bodybuilding is about isolating a single muscle or muscle group. Using controlled and slow movements allow for this isolation to happen without the use of momentum or other bigger muscles in the lift. It may sound a little far-fetched at first, but the mind-body connection is real. The mind body connection is the ability to know what muscle should be working and being able to feel that targeted muscle work throughout the range of motion. If you can’t feel this, chances are you’re going too heavy and a more dominant muscle is taking over. The tough part of fixing this problem is to leave your ego outside of the gym and avoid going too heavy. Now, of course you have to challenge yourself because that’s how muscles grow. The trick is to find the balance of going as heavy as you can while keeping quality reps. Quality should always be the top priority with weight being a close second. It may help to realize that any bodybuilder who actually knows what they are talking about will never notice how much weight you use on the lat pull-down, but they will notice your wide back created from doing the reps properly with as heavy a weight as you can handle.

Another major problem with having an enlarged ego is that it can stop us from asking for help. It is important to be open to learning from others. When I was first starting out with my training, my eyes were always wide open in the gym. I was always watching other people, trying to learn as much as I could from them. A lot of people demonstrated the wrong way to do lifts and reps, but I also learned from a ton from people who had good form and knew what they were doing. Learning from watching both the wrong way and the correct way really helped me when I was starting out. I understood early on that if I was too proud to ask for help from others that I would be missing out on a lot of great advice. The bigger guys are big for a reason. They may not know everything there is to know, but chances are they know at least something that could help you out. So forget about your pride and don’t be afraid to find someone bigger than you and pick their brain a little bit.

Remember, if the reason you are in the weight room is bodybuilding, it is crucial that you keep your ego under control.  Forget about going for the maximum amount of weight you can lift and focus on controlled reps using weight that you can control but still challenges you.  If you remember this as well as not to be too proud to learn from others, you will be on the way to achieving your ultimate goal of the perfect physique.