Beyond the big five exercises

3.15 In this ideal world I would not have concentrated solely on the mighty five-some. Another few areas would have gotten some specific attention. Midsection work, i.e., side bends and crunch situps, would have been done almost every week, once a week for each movement. Specific work for my shoulder external rotators, using a dumbbell, would have been done once a week when I was experienced enough to be bench pressing my bodyweight for 6 reps. Calf work would have been done once or twice each week. Some thick-bar grip work would have been included, together with some other specialized hand and finger exercise. Direct neck work could have been included once a week, along with a set or two of back extensions on non-deadlifting days. Curls would have been done if supinated lat-machine pulldowns were not in the current routine.

3.16 In my teens and twenties I had no interest in the leg press, falsely believing it to be an exercise only for people who were looking for an excuse not to squat. My imaginary mentor would have known better. I should always have given the squat the highest priority, but I should have realized the assistance value of the leg press. ^at I never pursued the leg press seriously until after I was forced to by knee injuries, is one of the regrets of my training life. But not having fully exploited the squat is a much bigger regret. ^e knee injuries I suffered were caused by poor squatting form, including using a board under my heels. At the time I was doing this form of squatting I was unaware of the eventual consequences. My imaginary mentor would never have allowed me to squat with a board or plates under my heels.

3.17 ^ough my body structure is better suited to deadlifting than squatting, with the expert coaching of my mentor I would have managed to squat well, and certainly much better than what I managed as I struggled along in ignorance during my actual youth. By being able to exploit the magnificent potential of the squat I would have taken a giant stride towards excellence in muscle and might.

3.18 At least in some cycles I should have given serious attention to the parallel bar dip. As it was I had a bench press fixation. ^e dip, done in good form, is a terrific exercise that is much underused. It is at least as productive as the bench press.

3.19 ^e great majority of my training focus should have gone on the primary fivesome, and the balance should have covered the secondary exercises (the accessories). Secondary work would only have been done after the scheduled exercises from the major fivesome had been trained. When intensity was so high on the primary fivesome that I would have little energy left for anything else, I would have cut back elsewhere.

3.20 I should have stayed with the same exercises for year after year, and persisted, and persisted with the same productive formula. My wise dictator would have shielded me from anyone who might have offered negative comments on my training. I would have been unaware that any other exercise or training methods existed.

3.21 I would have done a moderate amount of stretching a few times a week. I would not have got hung up on it, but neither would I have neglected it. I would have ignored aerobic work until I was into my thirties, preferring to keep almost total focus on what meant the most to me—weight training.

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