Tap Into Your Power with Six Supplemental Exercises to Aid Strength Training
Sometimes, weightlifters get enamored with basic power moves such as the bench press, squat, deadlift, shoulder press and barbell curls, without introducing other exercises into their program.
This could limit your progress if a few different exercises aren’t thrown into the mix to supplement the fundamentals of your strength training program.
You will most likely hit a sticking point when your nervous system and corresponding muscles adapt. You need to challenge your muscles by tricking them to grow. The best way to do that is vary your workout with different exercises as often as possible.
Note: It’s customary to use heavier weights and lower reps for power, but you will learn what works best for you as you progress. It’s best to perform any strength training program four to five times per week, depending upon your goals.
Here is a list of exercises that will help you achieve results:
Pectorals – Dumbbell Chest Presses
For the chest, many weightlifters rely on the bench press in order to get stronger. But it’s a good idea to add various dumbbell movements in order to help increase the development of your pectorals.
I recommend dumbbell presses, because dumbbells allow for a greater range of motion (ROM), igniting a larger recruitment of muscle cells with each rep, thus forcing more muscle growth over time.
It’s important to note, while dumbbells do allow you to move through a wider range of motion, it’s vital to adhere to strict form in order to maximize the exercise, and avoid injury. So slow and steady, with a weight that will challenge you without sacrificing form.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells, and lie down on a bench.
- Start with the weights at chest level (don’t drop the weight beyond that).
- Gradually raise the dumbbells up while bringing them together to the mid-chest area (don’t forget to exhale on the lift).
- Slowly lower the weight to the starting position while inhaling.
Deltoids – Shoulder Dumbbell Presses (using a military bench for back support) – Video
Just like chest dumbbell presses, I like the dumbbell shoulder presses for the same reason: a greater range of motion. Plus, it hits all the major deltoid muscles.
- While holding a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a military bench press for back support.
- Start with the weights resting on your legs.
- Use your knees to kick the weight up into the starting position to a 90 degree angle.
- Make sure your elbows are aligned with your hips, and wrists are straight.
- Now gradually raise the dumbbells up while exhaling, with your feet firmly planted on the ground, and your back and head against the pad (if you’re arching your back too much, you’re performing the exercises wrong).
- Bring the weights together, to the middle, at the top of the movement.
- Slowly lower the weight to the starting point, but make sure the emphasis is placed on the deltoids, not the rotator cuff.
Biceps – Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls
The seated bicep curl position places the focus on your biceps, as opposed to cheating a little with your legs, with the dumbbell aspect allowing you to change the angle in which you attack the muscle.
- Grab a pair of weights.
- Sit on a military bench, with your back flush against the pad.
- Start with the dumbbells at your sides, and slowly curl one up to the top, but not too far as to break the full contraction.
- As you lower one weight, begin to raise the other (this is optional; you could also perform it one at a time).
- Keep alternating arms.
Quadriceps – Leg Press
While the squat is the best exercise for overall leg and gluteal development, the leg press has its place in your workout. Plus, it’s safer, with much less room for error.
- Place your feet shoulder width apart, midway on the platform of the machine.
- Grab onto to the side handles, and gradually push out while exhaling.
- Slowly lower the weight to starting position while inhaling.
Abdominals and Lower Back Muscles
No program would be complete without strengthen the core muscles, as they are the foundation for everything your body does while working out and engaging in sports.
- Lie supine, and clasp your arms behind your head, without pulling on it.
- Slowly curl your torso toward your knees, bringing your shoulders four to six inches off the ground (don’t sit up).
- Hold for a second, while pressing your lower back into the mat.
- Return to the starting position.
- Perform slow, smooth and evenly; it’s not a race.
* Perform 200 crunches every other day.
Back Extensions (Erector Spinae)
After performing crunches, this exercise will work the antagonist muscles of the abdominal area, the erector spinae, located in the lower back.
Lie on your stomach (prone), with your arms by your side, with your hands on the floor for support. Slowly raise your torso until you feel those muscles in the small of your back, along the spine, working. Hold for a few seconds, tightening your lower back, and then slowly return to the starting position.
* Perform 10-15 reps, 3-4 sets.
* Special Note — the information above is for reference only. Please consult with a licensed medical professional or credentialed health and fitness professional for more information.
November 7th 2015, written by Jerry Del Priore for Bodono.
Jerry Del Priore has worked as a certified personal trainer, and received his degree in Physical Education from Brooklyn College in 1991. Jerry is also a veteran print and digital Sports Writer-Reporter-Author experienced in writing in-depth profile stories on a variety of high school, college and professional athletes and teams.
Additionally, Jerry has developed a presentation based on his book, Running Through Roadblocks, which encourages children to overcome obstacles and never give up…no matter what!
Specialties: Baseball, football, hockey and basketball writing. Jerry also has covered lacrosse, soccer, golf and track and field, with ample experience cover women’s sports. Jerry is also a Food Writer/Blogger experienced in venue write-ups and reviews.
In addition, Jerry has ample experience working with medically fragile children, children with behavioral challenges and children with cognitively impairments.