Favorite all time exercises



Biceps...In my era, the one bodybuilder I admired most was Larry Scott. He was thin and athletic as a teen-ager but got hooked on building muscle. If you've ever seen pictures of him at his peak, it becomes obvious that his arms were fantastic. He had some unique training practices when it came to his biceps. During his training on the West Coast, he found that if the preacher curl bench was slightly altered, you could achieve a tremendous pump without the pain that you endure on the flat side of the bench. After some experimentation, he designed the Scott Bench, which is basically a preacher bench that has a curved surface which allows for a fuller range of motion. Not alot of gyms have this piece of equipment,so what you can do is turn the pad backwards so that you're doing curls with your arms hanging straight down and curling all the way up to your chin. You'll immediately realize that you can't handle as much weight as you thought. Not to worry...This really isolates the bicep. Also keep your reps in the 6 range and finish it off with 4 burns. By that, I mean after your last rep is complete,do quarter reps at the top of the movement.

Triceps...I'm going to combine two movements here. Tricep Pushdowns and Dips. These were the favorite exercises of Mike Mentzer,former Champion. He used these to develop his phenomenal triceps. His reasoning was they seemed to work all 3 heads of the muscle, which is primarily needed in extending the forearm and bringing the whole arm back and into the body. Here's a key point in doing pushdowns. It's imperative that the elbow remain stationary and used as a pivot point, hence you only move the lower part of the arm, while keeping it close to your sides. Basically begin with 2 warmup sets, remembering that there is a positive and negative movement. After that, increase the poundage by alot so 6-8 is tops. This should be heavy enough that you're reaching failure before the 8th rep. After the final rep, decrease the weight by 30 pounds and continue til you fail again, then continue to drop and repeat until the muscle is completely exhausted. You'll know when that time comes. As far as Dips, do no more than twice a week and try to add more resistance little by little.

Traps...I'm going to add this because it will give you some options when working your shoulders. Incidently,you should always do trap work after you work your primary muscle group, the shoulder area. My favorite has always been high pulls. Mainly from my days as a powerlifter. My specialty lift was the deadlift, but as you get older, they're not as much fun. You can do these off a power rack or a Smith Machine. They always make my traps ache when I finish. The best way I've found to work them is the 5x5 system. I usually devote one day a week to a power routine which consists of squats, incline benches and high pulls. When doing these after dip your legs a few inches then pull with your traps and shoulders and get the bar as close to the chest as possible. Give yourself a couple of nice and light warmup sets then start loading the bar. That's the key as far as working the muscle. If you want to try a change from time to time, insert power cleans into your workout.

Legs...Squats, need I say more. If you only could do one exercise for your body, it would be squats. They produce the overall powerful physique and create a balance with the upper and lower portions of the musular frame. Nothing looks worse than to see someone with an overdeveloped upper body and legs like toothpicks. There is one important aspect concerning squats. Form, I mean good form. That means keeping your back straight and going below parallel. It's actually worse on your legs and lower back if you try and stop short instead of going deeper. Make sure you don't start going too heavy until you can hit each rep with good form. If you want to push your thighs to the next level, try Non-Lock Squats. Take the bar off the rack and start squatting, but stop about 3 inches from lockout and do another rep. Do this for 10 reps then lockout, take 3 or 4 deep breaths, then try and blast out another 8. Be sure you have a spotter close by or have your pins set appropriately on the rack.

Shoulders...For the shoulders, I prefer Seated Behind the Neck Presses. You can either do these on a seated bench or a Smith Machine. For this exercise, I actually like the Smith. Reason being, it allows me to handle more weight without having the aid of a spotter. Keep in mind, whenever you're doing a number of other exercises for various muscle groups, such as benches, inclines or shrugs, you also work the shoulder area and you don't want to ovework the area, otherwise the next time you work shoulders you might find that fatigue has already set in. Be sure and keep your rep count in the 6-8 range, as this is a power movement.

Chest...No doubt, Incline Benches. The main reason for this is that it's great for building the upper chest and thickens the muscle for a better tie-in with the shoulder area. Too many flat benches will leave you with an imbalance between the upper and lower pecs. Also, something you should consider,keep your incline at no more than 30 degrees, any more than that and you'll end up working the shoulder area as much as the chest and possibly cause injury to the area. Believe me, I was working on 45 degree angles and caused severe damage to my shoulder. Again your main goal should be no more than 8 reps and if you want the full benefit of the exercise, either get a spotter or go to the rack.

Back...Bent Over Rows. I'm saying that because it was one of Arnolds favorite back exercises when he was training to win all those Olympia titles. You have to be careful when doing these and concentrate on good form. It's common to see guys working out and jerking the weight and creating excessive body motion. When this occurs, you put alot of strain on the lower back. The best motion is to pull the weight to your waist which forces the elbows to move back, consequently working the mid-back. If you want to try a variation of this exercise, with every set move your thumbs closer together. The change of grip works the entire back. Something else you can do is try an underhand grip. That's a practice that was used back in the day of Steve Reeves, who had a fairly awesome back.

Abs...There are two. Hanging Leg Lifts,for the lower abs and Ab Bench or Rope Pulldowns for the uppers. Here is a key, when you work the upper abs, both the upper and lower sections come into play. So consequently you should get the lower abs out of the way first to prevent exhaustion when you're doing the uppers. The hanging leg lifts should be done without swinging and concentrate on bringing your knees up to your chest. Try and bang out 20, then take a short rest,say 30 seconds, then continue with another set. Work your way up to 4 sets of these making sure your movements are slow. For the upper abs, the ideal piece of equipment is the ab bench. Unfortunately, most gyms do not have one, but you can improvise. The ab bench was designed so you could pre-stretch the abdominal region. If you don't have access to this, go over to your favorite pulley apparatus, such as a lat pulldown machine. Attach a rope apparatus then kneel away from it grabbing the rope and bringing the ends to your head. Start with your back arched to get that prestretch then crunch over til your elbows touch your knees. Treat this as a body curl to get the full effect. Again, do sets of 20 in a slow and effecient manner. Also treat the abs as any other muscle group, if you train the triceps twice a week, do the same for the abs.