As I turned around to catch the flight attendant’s attention, I could feel my abs “ripping” underneath my shirt. They were so sore – 48 hours later – from doing one of the three exercises you should be doing – but probably aren’t.
More about that exercise in a moment…
Yesterday, while on a flight from Orange County to San Francisco and then finally to Denver (my first time on a Southwest Airlines flight), I caught up on the latest Men’s Health magazine.
It’s a great issue, with a fantastic fat burning workout from my buddy John Romaniello, a cool article on training for baseball, and a couple of tips from ol’ CB on exercises to avoid.
One of the exercises I want you to skip is traditional barbell bench presses. When you flare your elbows out wide and lower the bar to the top of your chest, you put your shoulder at risk of serious injury. Yes, it builds your pecs, but so do better alternatives.
Instead of old-school bench presses, you should switch to “90% DB Chest Presses” done using a 3-1-1-1 tempo. What that means is…
You will take 3 seconds to lower the dumbbells to your chest. Pause one second in the low position while keeping your pecs contracted. Then press the dumbbells up – strong – in one second…
…only go 90% of the way up, keeping more muscle tension on the pecs than if you went all the way to ‘lockout’.
At this point, squeeze your chest together for one second. That’s one rep. Repeat for sets of 8. Pair with pull-ups or DB rows for a great superset and do three rounds.
That’s a great way to start a muscle building program.
Now there are more exercises that you can kick to the curb and substitute with better movements, like these…
#1 – The Abs Exercise That Murdered my 6-Pack
It’s been almost 72 hours since the workout, and my abs are still really sore from this great move. It’s called the Power Wheel Rollout, and you’ll want to put this in your routine.
Unfortunately, it requires a Power Wheel from the equipment company, Lifeline. But I think it’s worth your investment. The combination of the eccentric stretch and powerful contraction to return to the start position makes this a killer move for your abs.
Toss the crunches and sit-ups and use this movement instead.
If you don’t have a Power Wheel, you can use a Stability Ball or TRX. But while both of these are good, they’re not GRRRRRRREAT as Bally the Tiger would say. I mean, Tony. Tony the Tiger. Bally’s a dog.
#2 – Another Replacement for Bodybuilder Benching
I’m stealing this one from Roman’s workout in Men’s Health. Once you kick the bodybuilder bench to the curb and replace it with the DB presses mentioned above, here’s another great exercise to finish your workout. It’s called Band-Resisted Pushups.
You’ll need a Jumpstretch band for best results. Get set-up in the pushup position with each end of the band in each hand. The band should run over your upper back. By doing this, you’ll increase resistance at the top of the motion, when the band is stretched. It will add extra muscular tension to your pecs, shoulders, and triceps, giving you more results from a classic exercise.
Try this set-up with all of your favorite push-ups. Even spidermans.
If you don’t have a band, use the Grinding Pushups I mentioned last week. (BTW, you’ll be getting a full “Grindhouse” workout in May. Stay tuned)
#3 – Skip the Smith Machine Squats, Too, and Use This 1-Leg Beauty
Don’t squat in the Smith Machine. It’s not worth your time or trouble.
Instead, do what Jason Ferruggia and I did last Friday at Iron Gym (cool place) in Santa Monica. The exercise is the “Chain Loaded Bulgarian Split Squat”. We threw the 20 pound chains around our neck and did high rep sets that completely exhausted our glutes and quads. Great start to our leg day.
If you don’t have chains, simply hold a dumbbell “Goblet” style at chest level to increase resistance. Do sets of 15-20 reps so that you don’t need a lot of weight. But it will require a lot of focus. It’s all worth it in the end.
So kick those 3 machine and old-school exercises to the curb and replace them with these new-school, multi-muscle, high-tension exercises. You’ll get better results than ever.
BIG news coming tomorrow,
Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer
PS – Stay strong.
Here’s today’s top Kick-Butt Mindset Tip:
Success comes in spurts. You’ll do all this work and feel like you’re getting nothing and nowhere…nothing, nothing, nothing…and then suddenly, WHOOOOOSH. Success. It comes in spurts. Never give up on what is important to you.