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Last time we talked about the importance of focusing on exercises that provide the most bang for your buck. Isolation exercises such as curls, triceps pushdowns, and leg curls do not fall into this category. Exercises such as Barbell Deadlifts, Clean and Presses, and Barbell Squats do.
Such exercises will do more to transform your body than spending hours on isolation exercises. Again, the main reason why trainees avoid these exercises is because they require hard work. Also, in a world where just about everything is complicated, it is hard for many people to believe that simple programs work.
Regardless, the reality proves otherwise and a wise trainee chooses to accept this. You can either excel in a few areas or be mediocre at best in a lot of areas. Only a rare individual can break the rules and have it all. Do not assume that you are that person.
More From The 20% Club
Here are some more exercises that fall into the "20% Club."
Lat pulldowns are okay, but the real money is on weighted pull-ups. If you are into getting bigger, no exercise will provide more benefit for the lats than the weighted pull-up. In addition to working the lats, the weighted pull-up incorporates the biceps tremendously.
Now if you could care less about getting bigger, no problem. Do several sets of low reps and avoid the negative (lowering phase). You will build a tremendous amount of strength that has real world application. This is a great exercise to work in with Clean and Presses for balanced development.
Barbell Bent-Over Row:
Many trainees' especially male trainees often avoid working the muscles that they cannot see in the mirror. As a result incredible exercises such as the Barbell Bent-over Row are often left out in exchange for more focus on the bench press. Big mistake!
Even if you could care less about building a strong back, if you want an impressive bench press you need a back to press off of. The Barbell Bent-over Row is the perfect exercise to pair up with the Bench Press or Floor Press. In addition to working the mid back and lats, Bent-over Rows are great for the biceps. Similar exercises for variety include: Alternating Kettlebell Rows, Renegade Rows (Kettlebells or Dumbbells).
While I prefer to focus on overhead presses, the Floor Press is a great exercise for trainees that have breast envy or have breasts and want to focus on that area. The Floor Press is a great triceps builder and because it does not take you through an extreme range of motion, it is easy on the rotator cuffs.
A complete upper body workout can be as simple as combining the Floor Press with the Bent-over Row on one day and combining the Clean and Press with the Weighted Pull-up on another day. Regardless, I rarely do floor presses and choose to focus on the Clean and Press and other overhead variations. I do not find having big pecs desirable. I would rather have strong and well developed shoulders.
Okay what is next Mike? Well, that is about it. Six exercises? Yup, this week's three exercises and last week's three exercises are all that you really need. Feel free to focus on variations as well. Here are some options:
- Clean and Press
- See-saw Press
- Alternating Military Press
- Seated Press
- Floor Press
- Incline Press
- One-arm Floor Press
- One-arm Dumbbell Military Press
- Barbell Bent-over Row
- Renegade Row
- Alternating Kettlebell Row
- Weighted Pull-up
- Sandbag Bent-over Row
- Lat Pulldown
- Double Kettlebell Bent-over Row
80% or more of your training time should be spent on the above four categories. You could easily spend 100% of your time on the above categories and have incredible training success. Most trainees should be taking exercises out of their regimens rather than adding more in.
You can only focus on a few things successfully so when in doubt leave it out. If you have trouble on all four categories, strip it down further. For example do the Clean and Press and Squat and that is it for a month. Then switch to the Floor Press and Deadlift for a month.
If you can handle all four categories, feel free to add in some core work such as weighted sit-ups, hanging leg raises, Turkish Get-ups, or Windmills. Beyond that you could add in a few sets of some isolation work to address a weak link. However, that is only beneficial for advanced trainees.
Work on putting up some great numbers on the 20% club before you even think of that. For example get your Floor press up to 300lbs, Clean and Press up to 200lbs, Squat up to 400lbs and Deadlift up to 500lbs. Once you have done that, you may benefit from some isolation work.
Otherwise, isolation work is generally a waste of time. Think you are the exception to the rule? You are not, so repeat this mantra "I am not an exception to the 20% club" as many times as necessary to get it down.
Regarding training programs that focus on the "20% Club," check out the following articles at my site:
If you need help with program design, click here.
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