Useful Assistant Exercise Combinations (Exercise Series Part 1)
There’s been some interesting talks with FitBuzzers this past week. From how to approach training once injury occurred to the effectiveness of weight training when the goal is to lose fat. Well, in regards to the later, just remember that you don’t always need to lift weights to get ‘hard bodied’. You can simply focus on intense cardio or sports. And when you do lift weights, you don’t always need to train in a way that makes you feel worse than when you entered the gym. It should actually be vice versa.
Back to the post title…
The best assistance exercises are those that contribute directly to the performance of the basic movements that produce the most benefit.
Outsiders of the fitness lifestyle may often say things to you such as ‘Why do you always train? You look exactly the same…”
Well, just as a reminder to yourself
- You train in order to maintain what you have achieved
- You train to keep your body functioning well
- You train for many other benefits, which I won’t get into here, because the list is long….
But the one special reason you train is so that you always make progress. And if you’ve been training for 3 months or more, you will know that the stimulation provided by the simple execution of the basic exercises (Squat, deadlift, bench press) alone is not enough to produce sufficient stress to cause further adaptation.
It’s a natural part of training, for progress to slow down over time.
This can sometimes cause a lot of frustration. Especially once your peers start to state that you’re losing ‘it’. So today I decided to start a new assistant exercise series in order to create some brand new fresh results from your workouts?
And today is just a brief introduction.
Assistance exercises work by either…
1.) Strengthening a part of a movement, like a partial deadlift – a rack pull or a halting deadlift
2.) Are variations on the basic exercise, like a stiff- legged deadlift
3.) Are exercises which strengthen a portion of the muscle mass involved in the movement in a way that the basic exercise does not like the chin-up.
Bench Press Plateau (Add chin ups)
A great way to kill a bench press plateau is to add chin-ups to your workout. Chin ups add enough work to your triceps, forearms, and upper back that the contribution of these muscle groups to the bench press is reinforced for that extra push. Not to forget to mention that the chin up is a functional compound movement, which is always a bonus.
Deadlifting From Blocks
If you’ve been following No Nonsense Butt Building, you would be well aware of the many variations of the deadlift exercise. All in aid to shift the load of the weight to certain muscle groups. One of those variations is to do the exercise while standing on blocks. This increases the load you’ll lift by adding the height of the block to the range of motion (the same effect can be obtained by using smaller than 17 inch diameter plates). This way, you’ll add more knee extension which leads to more stress to your quads.
By placing the bar farther away, it requires more knee and hip flexion at the bottom to assume the start position, and the more acute angles require more hamstring extensibility to assume the start position with an extended lumbar spine. This makes it more difficult for inflexible people to get into a correct start .
And the fact that the shin will be in a more inclined position at the bottom also means that the bar will be shoved further forward than mid-foot if the block is very high, or if a decent back angle is maintained. This makes the start of the exercise a little more awkward, difficult, and will turn into more of a single leg deadlift if correct exercise form is not taken into consideration.
This is one of those exercises that actually adds more stress than the standard deadlift. But remember, it’s also an exercise that doesn’t allow you to load up any serious amount of weight. Simply use them at sub-max loads to accumulate work, and to make the deadlift easier off the floor.
Flat Back Good mornings (Targets hamstrings)
- Your knees are unlocked
- Your chest is up
- Your lower back is arched
- The bar is placed on your traps, held with your hands
The movement basically consists of sliding your hips back to lower the bar down as far as your hamstrings will let it, before your lower back rounds out. The idea is to keep your back in extension for the entire movement.
You always want to stay safe throughout the movement. A huge breath at the top held for the entire rep ensures greater spinal support.
No Ez Bar Curls
EZ Curls are not nearly as effective as straight-bar curls for recruiting bicep contraction. This is because the degree of supination of the forearm and hand directly affects the amount of bicep in contraction. The EZ Curl bar does take the stress of supination off of the wrists and elbows, but it does so at the expense of a quality bicep contraction. The camber of the bar is specifically intended to decrease the supination of the forearm, and anything less than full supination results in a less-than-complete biceps contraction. So if you’re going to curl to get some bicep action going on, then a straight barbell is preferred.
This is just a basic start to this series and we do of course cover many of the exercises in the No Nonsense Butt Building program. Except, we intend to go a little more detailed specific for this series. See you in part 2.
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