The last few days I’ve been listing and commenting on what I consider to be great but underused exercises at the gym. I’ve been giving one exercise per muscle group – and now two remain: biceps and triceps.
Underused exercise: the standing bent over concentration curl.
I was tempted to list the inclined biceps curl, which is an exercise that I feel is underused indeed, but then I felt that since I just recently dedicated a whole article to that exercise I’ll here go with another of my favourite biceps exercises: the standing bent over concentration curl. Just as was the case with the dumbbell flyes that I discussed in the previous article this exercise is something of a classic – but nevertheless it remains underused. It’s a great exercise if one wants to target the biceps with precision – and therefor it is great for building a qualitative peak. It allows for hard contraction and, as long as the weights aren’t too heavy, it’s ideal, as already the name points out, for isolating the biceps muscle in a manner that will truly concentrate the effort and forbid the rest of the body to help out. A tip in regard to performance technique: concentrate on keeping the upper arm vertical to the floor throughout the movement. You want the forearm to be the moving part. Make sure to supinate hard at the top. Hold and squeeze before lowering the weight. As for the supporting arm, I recommend you to try out both of the most common alternatives, the first being to support it against your thigh, the other being to place it against the top of a raised bench. After a few sets you will know which variation suits you best.
Underused exercise: close grip bench press.
This is a totally different exercise than the usual benchpress. If you do this one right you will never feel the pecs muscles working. The whole idea is to make it an exclusive triceps exercise. Once you master it there are several benefits to this exercise when compared with other triceps exercises. It allows for rather heavy weight. In my opinion most triceps exercises are not suited for heavy weights, so this is a rarity. Another advantage of the close grip benchpress is that it allows you to truly focus on the lower part of the triceps, the part right above your elbow. It will help you accomplish striations that lend your arm a more chiselled look (provided, of course, that your body fat levels are low enough).
In the future I will most certainly continue to explore underused and seldom seen exercises, but for now this article completes the series. I have listed one great and underused exercise per muscle group. Make sure to revisit this list whenever you fell in need of something new at the gym.