Exercises You Should Swap Out
By Michael Schletter
What You're Doing: Stiff-Leg Deadlift
While this is a great exercise for building hamstring and lower-back strength, the position your knees are in puts stress on the back and cuts off circulation between the heart and the legs. The result? The force you create diminishes with each rep, meaning less efficient work and minimal results.
What You Should Do: Romanian Deadlift
Keeping the knees "soft" in the Romanian deadlift (aka RDL) takes pressure off the back and promotes good circulation between the heart and the legs, meaning you're able to maximize force production for each rep of the exercise. More force equals more strength, and more strength ultimately means more muscle.
What You're Doing: Seated Behind-the-Neck Military Press
The seated behind-the-neck military press has two fatal flaws: First, it puts your shoulders in a position linked to impingement syndrome, an injury and condition that can keep you out of the gym for long periods of time. Also, being seated means less core stabilization and less force production, resulting in less muscular development.
What You Should Do: Standing Barbell Overhead Press
Moving the bar in front of your neck reduces the risk of an impingement syndrome, meaning far less chance for injury. Also, standing up recruits more muscle fibers throughout the body. The more muscle fibers you recruit, the more testosterone and growth hormone are released into the bloodstream… Those two hormones together translate to huge gains.
What You're Doing: V-Grip Seated Row
The V-grip seated row has been a staple in the back routines of many lifters for years, and the move has proven its worth. However, the narrow grip doesn't allow for full retraction of the shoulder blades and prevents the elbows from going behind the rib cage. The V-grip seated row is essentially a partial rep that ends up being more of a forearm builder than anything else.
What You Should Do: Wide-Grip Seated Row
With your hands wider than shoulder width in the wide-grip seated row, your elbows are able to be pulled farther back than the V-grip. This increased shoulder retraction will lead to more muscle activation, and more muscle fiber stimulation.
What You're Doing: Pushup
There’s no question that pushups are essential for developing a big chest, cannonball delts, and massive triceps, but the pushup also improves core strength. The pushup itself hits your core harder than any crunch variation out there. So while there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing a pushup, if you can do three sets of 20 with ease, it’s time for a change.
What You Should Do: Valslide Pushup Reach
The valslide pushup and reach is your answer for boosting intensity. The movement is a killer for the core, engages your lats, and hits the shoulders way harder than the standard pushup ever will.