Abdominal activation exercises

Any exercise performed on an unstable surface (not just abdominal movements) will activate the abdominal muscles because of the increased core stability demands. So in that regard, if you train the abdominals at the end of your workout it might not be necessary to utilize an activation exercise specific to the abdominals. If you are training your abs first in a workout or on a day of their own then you might want to include specific activation movements such as swiss ball crunches, swiss ball...

Back stimulation exercises

As I already explained, the potentiation and activation exercises for the back can also be used as stimulation exercises if the load is adjusted accordingly. However there are several other great back exercises out there. Specifically there are three types of back movements vertical pulling, horizontal pulling and pullover movements. All three share one common denominator to be maximally effective, the back muscles must be fully stretched before starting the concentric portion of the movement....

Lateral flexion exercises

Key point(s) The important thing is to keep the upper body properly aligned during the lowering phase a lot of peoples go down not only to the side, but rotate forward as well, this is a mistake. Imagine performing this exercise back to the wall, keeping your whole back touching the wall at all times. IDIOT WATCH Only use one dumbbell at a time. I see a lot of guys gals performing this exercise holding one dumbbell in each end. This is stupid since the opposite dumbbell acts as a counterweight...

Deltoids activation and potentiation exercises

While the exercises used to activate the pectorals can also be used as deltoids activator, I find that deltoid activation is not necessary in most individuals as a vast majority of trainees overuse their shoulders already. I much prefer to use more metabolic work (which will be described in the next chapter) supersetted with the regular strength exercises. We can still use some potentiation exercises for the shoulders. The following movements are adequate for that purpose. Key point(s) This...

Biceps stimulation exercises

We don't really have any potentiation exercises specifically for the biceps. On could always perform explosive curls or drop & catch curls, but it is rarely necessary to potentiate the action of the biceps. The best stimulation exercises for the biceps are a rather limited group as I already mentioned to be maximally effective an exercise should allow you to stretch the muscle prior to the concentric action. It is impossible to stretch the biceps if you are performing curls at a fixed...

Abdominal stimulation exercises

Here are what I consider to be the best exercises for the abdominals. When training abs I normally use a) Post-fatigue supersets with the first exercise being a loaded (with added resistance) movement and the second one being an unloaded (no added weight) drill working the same movement pattern. b) Circuits of 4-5 exercises working all the functions of the trunk 1) rotation 2) lateral flexion 3) trunk flexion 4) hip flexion. Below is an example of such a circuit. This is the functional circuit...

Benefits of isometric exercises

Isometric strength the capacity to produce force during a static muscle action, is higher than concentric (lifting) strength. In most individuals isometric strength is 10-15 higher than concentric strength (Schmidtbleicher, 1995). This high force production can be used to spark positive neural adaptations that can lead to a significant increase in strength. Remember that the more force you produce, the more high-threshold motor units you must recruit. So in that regard isometric exercises can...

Muscle gain templates

For muscle growth purposes you should start training each muscle group at a twice-per-week frequency (shoulders and arms can be trained only once since they receive a lot of indirect stimulation from the other training days). Depending on your recovery capacity, work schedule and nutritional intake you'll have to split this weekly volume into 3 to 6 sessions. This is the template for each muscle group. If you train two muscle groups per session you use the template for both muscles if you train...

About the Editor

Mike Hanley is a strength & conditioning coach based out of the East Coast of the United States. He is certified by USAW as a sports performance coach as well as a certified kettlebell instructor. Mike specializes in program design for high school athletes as well as middle aged men & women. His training methods include a mixture of powerliting, Olympic weightlifting, kettlebell training as well as many other methods to produce significant strength & performance gains. Mike has also...

Types of isometric work

You'll notice that I will mention three main types of isometric exercises overcoming-isometric, yielding-isometric and functional isometrics. Understand that in the first two cases this doesn't mean that you are combining a concentric overcoming or eccentric yielding action along with the isometric action. The actual external outcome of the exercise is the same there is no movement at all. However, the intent during the exercise changes. Overcoming-isometric You are pushing or pulling against...

Quadriceps potentiation exercises

To potentiate the quadriceps we can use any type of jumping exercise as well as explosive lifts such as jump squats and speed squats. The key is that explosive movements wake-up the nervous system and improves your capacity to recruit the muscle. Soviet Olympic lifters used to perform a maximal vertical jump at the beginning of their training sessions and before a competition lift for that specific purpose. Powerlifting legend Fred Hatfield Ph.D. also did the same thing prior to a max squat...

Back potentiation exercises

Just like with the previous two activation exercises, the back potentiation drills can stimulate a lot of muscle growth by themselves. They rely either on explosive movements or complex back drills where stability is important. Exercise 27. Alternate floor Hex DB row Exercise 27. Alternate floor Hex DB row Key point s Keep the torso solid by keeping the obliques and glutes tight, do not let the hips drop down towards the floor and do not keep them high-up either. Avoid twisting amp turning of...

Chest stimulation exercises

To properly stimulate the pectoral muscles and thus making them grow optimally we must select exercises that will allow us to focus on that muscle and to stretch it under load. Remember the third principle we discussed take advantage of a loaded prestretch of the target muscle. In that regard, a board press movement used by powerlifters is fine and well to build bench pressing strength, but it is far from being a good chest exercise. Key point s Keep the chest puffed out as much as possible...