Are you bored of the same exercises, day after day in the gym? Kyle Hunt and I discuss often-overlooked and underrated exercises you can try next time you train to add some spice to your program while getting bigger and stronger.
In this episode, repeat podcast guest Kyle Hunt and I talk about underrated exercises. It’s fairly common to bust myths and talk about overrated exercises you see many people doing in the gym, but we’re taking the opposite approach here. These are exercises that have value, but which a lot of people overlook or judge more harshly than they should.
Whether you just don’t know about these movements, don’t do them because you heard they’re dangerous or ineffective, or if you’ve simply forgotten about them just because they’re not “popular” on social media, these exercises can benefit your programming and train your muscles in new ways.
Specifically, Kyle and I chat about . . .
- Chest-supported rows and how they can help when you don’t have heavy dumbbells
- The value of handstand pushups and one-arm pressing
- The importance of “intensity discipline” and AMRAP sets
- Tips for safety bar squats, pistol squats, and good mornings
- Loaded carries (and how to program them)
- Trap-bar deadlifts and nordic hamstring curls
- Different types of pullovers (and what muscles they train and why you’d add them)
- And more . . .
In case you’re not familiar with Kyle, he’s a competitive powerlifter, coach, author, and owner of Hunt Fitness, who’s worked with hundreds of powerlifters and bodybuilders alike. He’s also the host of The Absolute Strength Podcast, which I’ve been a guest on a number of times.
So, if you want some new ideas on exercises you can incorporate to add some variety to your training while still training effectively (and hitting your muscles in different ways), you’re going to enjoy this podcast!
0:00 – Go to buylegion.com to save up to 30% on everything in our store this week only! Save big during our Spring Site Wide Sale!
5:56 – What are some underrated exercises?
7:41 – What is incline prone dumbbell rowing?
15:06 – What are your thoughts on intensity discipline?
17:45 – Handstand pushups
23:40 – What are your thoughts on the seated one arm overhead press?
24:49 – What are your thoughts on unilateral exercises?
27:20 – Safety bar squats
39:40 – Chinups for biceps
42:08 – Suitcase carries, farmers walks, and loaded carries
45:11 – How do loaded carries affect GPP (general physical preparedness)? How does GPP improve your performance?
49:28 – Good mornings
51:48 – Pistol squats
53:49 – How to program pistol squats
54:02 – Trap bar deadlifts
59:38 – Pendulum squats
1:01:29 – What are your thoughts on nordic hamstring curls?
1:04:37 – Pullovers
1:06:49 – What are your thoughts on dumbbell pullovers?
1:08:23 – Where can people find you and your work?
Mentioned on the Show:
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What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hello, hello, and welcome to Muscle for Life. I am your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today to learn about underrated exercises. This was an episode that I was excited to record because it occurred to me that I haven’t written or spoken about this. Much at all, if at all, actually over all of these years.
And so I got my buddy Kyle Hunt to come on and talk about often overlooked and underrated exercises that can help you add some spice to your programming, some effective spice to your programming, meaning not just change for the sake of change or change for the sake of novelty, which can help if you’re a little bit more excited to do your workouts.
If you enjoy your workouts a little bit more, you are probably going to work a little bit harder in those workouts and that can produce better results. But often doing new exercises for the sake of just doing new exercises or doing new exercises too often, or just introducing too much change too often will actually get in the way of progress.
And so, If you are going to try some offbeat exercises, for example, or if you are going to periodize your training by working in different rep ranges, you want to go about it systematically. You want to make sure that you know why you are changing exercises or rep ranges or whatever else, and it is in service of specific goals that you want to achieve.
And this episode will help you with one piece of the puzzle, which is exercises, changing exercises, because some exercises are better than others. If you are a regular around here, you know that the best exercises, if we’re talking about bang for buck, bang for effort, are the big compound exercises. But then, We get into the gray area of many different types of isolation exercises or exercises that are compound exercises, but not in the same way as a deadlift or a squat or a horizontal or vertical press.
Think of like a barbell row, for example. Not exactly an isolation exercise, but not exactly a compound exercise like the big. Compound exercises, right? And so in this episode, you were gonna learn about exercises that many people don’t do because they’ve heard they’re dangerous or ineffective, or maybe they have never heard of them at all, or maybe they did hear of them at one time and forgot about them.
Many of them are not popular on social media, for example. But they can be a great addition to your routine depending on your circumstances and your goals. For example, the chest supported row, we talk about that, the handstand push up. The one arm press safety bar squat, pistol squat. Good morning and more.
And lastly, But not leastly. If you are not familiar with my guest, Kyle, he is a competitive power lifter coach, author, and the owner of Hunt Fitness. He has worked with hundreds of power lifters and bodybuilders as well as many, many, every day people who just want to get into great shape without living in the gym or following strange and restrictive diets.
And Kyle is also the host of the Absolute Strength Podcast, which I’ve been a guest on a number of times. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you wanna help me do more of it, please do check out my Sports Nutrition company Legion, because. While you don’t need supplements to build muscle, lose fat and get healthy, the right ones can help.
And that’s why over 350,000 discerning fitness folk have chosen Legion for their supplementation needs. Well, that and the fact that we have 100% natural products, we have clinically effective ingredients and doses and a no hassle money back guarantee. Plus Legion is currently holding its first big sale of the year, right [email protected], b u i legion.com.
And that means for the next few days, you can save up to 30% on everything in our store, including our protein powders, our pre-workout and post-workout supplements, our fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more. So skedaddle on over to buy legion.com bu i legion.com now and save big before we run out of stock of at least a thing or two.
Sometimes it’s a flavor or two other times it’s a product or two. Because demand is much higher than we forecasted. It’s basically impossible to predict these things perfectly. And so when we have these big sitewide sales, which we only do a couple of times per year, we do tend to run out of stock of things.
So if you don’t want that to happen, buy legion.com. Lock in your savings and bask in the post-purchase glow. We’re here to talk about underrated exercise, and this is something that I’m excited to talk to you about. It’s something that, you know, I, I’m thinking, um, could be, could be repurposed into, could be shared many different ways because I haven’t, I don’t, I don’t know if I’ve ever really done a social media post or an article.
I remember I’ve done at least a couple of things on exercises that are overrated. Popular exercises, like weighted side bends, just don’t ever do a weighted side bend. Mm-hmm. Or a weighted hyperextension for a lot of people. Now I understand if you’re maybe a power lift, you have a very specific reason why you’re doing that, but otherwise it’s not a very useful exercise.
Um, But, but underrated exercises I don’t think I’ve done. So, uh, here we are and I think we can probably just lead into, if there’s any sort of preamble you want to open with, um, otherwise we can just start talking about exercises that, uh, a lot of people don’t do. Or, and maybe cuz they just don’t know about them or they avoid them because they have heard they’re dangerous or ineffective.
Kyle: Yeah, no, I, I love this topic because the, the way I look at it, it’s like, okay, well underrated. So what do we mean by underrated? When we say something’s underrated, we’re saying, well, the general perception of it has is, is less valuable than what it probably is. And the key with that is it’s not necessarily better.
You know what I mean? Cause I’m, I’m, I’m like you, I’m, I’m a barbell purist. Like, I love the, the basics and the basics are great, but there’s a couple reasons why I do like to think and, and kind of dig into underrated exercises or kind of unique exercises is. For one, I I think a lot of times people do get bored with just the same five exercises over and over again.
And when you get bored, then you end up just going through the motions of training and then when you just going through the motions, that’s, you know, not what we wanna do. And then also, I, I do think that throwing in certain exercises that maybe people think, like you said, are maybe dangerous or with body weight exercises specifically, when, when people start lifting weights, a lot of times they’re like, oh well, I’m lifting weights now.
What am I going to get from a body weight exercise? You can’t gain strength or build muscle doing a body weight exercise, which you know, isn’t, isn’t always true. So I think bringing up some of these exercises to give people ideas to throw into their training is, is pretty valuable.
Mike: And in some cases, the exercises are just kind of obscure.
People just don’t know about them. Sometimes it’s related to equipment. Like I, I, I think the belt squat is a great exercise, but you need to have the equipment for it. In other cases, and I’m sure these are, these are ones you’ll talk about. Um, I like the, the chest supported dumbbell row,
Kyle: which Oh yeah, the incline prone dumbbell
I love that one. Yeah, that’s great. It’s great. You, can you, one of the, I mean, I’ll, uh, I’ll let you explain, but one of the things I really like about it is, uh, there’s the obvious in terms of being able to really isolate the muscles that you’re training and you feel very stable. It puts, it puts no pressure on your lower back.
But also it’s a great. Rowing. It’s a great pulling exercise you can do that doesn’t require a lot of weight to, uh, to, to achieve a good training stimulus. I think I’m up to maybe 80 or 85 pounds now on it. Which even a lot of hotel gyms Yeah. Have, you know, up to 80 ish pound dumbbells.
Kyle: Yeah. We can start with that one.
I have that on my list and that’s an awesome exercise. So what we’re talking about is when you set the bench at an incline, you lie face down, so prone, and then you have two dumbbells and you do a chest supported row, which I mean, I love chest supported rows in general. I just think, you know, I mean, I don’t really do many barbell rows anymore.
Not because they’re not a great exercise, but they just, I dunno. For some reason it ends up tearing up my lower backs. It’s, man,
Mike: same. Exactly the same. Yeah. If I wish my gym had a seal row my previous gym
Kyle: had, which is why I actually like this exercise so much because seal rows are great, but if you don’t have a seal row bench, can’t do it.
It’s a pain in the ass to set that up, you know what I mean? You gotta get boxes and put a bench up on, it’s, it’s a pain in the ass. Now if your gym has a, a. Like a bench specifically designed for a seal road, then great use it. But if it doesn’t, this is a great option because you’re still getting that chest support, you’re still getting the same basic movement.
If you’re able to set the, the incline at a relatively low angle, and, and like you said, it’s self-limiting, so you’re not going to be able to use, you know, 120 pound dumbbells on it, probably you’re gonna be able to, you know, make due with what you have. A hundred pound dumbbells would probably, if you could get up to where you’re doing a hundred pound dumbbells, that’d be, that’s extremely strong.
Mike: Really, really strong. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, again, I’m doing, I’d have to pull up my spreadsheet, but I’m 80 or 80 fives for sets of eight right now. That’s where I’m at, and, and I have a, I’ve always had a pretty good pull on, on single arm. Dumbbell rose for sets of eight. I’d have to look, I don’t wanna, I don’t want to oversell myself, but probably 1 20, 1 25, something like that.
Pretty strong. Mm-hmm. And something I like, I’ll, I’ll add about, add to this is the, the single arm dumbbell road to, to get, uh, uh, at least a, a similar training stimulus, like let’s just say eight reps with zero or maybe one good rep left, like right up to the point of failure. Mm-hmm. Which is nice that this is an exercise.
You can do that and there’s no risk. Whereas I, I don’t like doing that as much with a, with a hunched over barbell row, for example. Um, but in this case, to achieve that with a one arm dumbbell row, You can and you can do it safely. Um, but it requires more weight. And just, uh, a couple of weeks ago I was doing one arm dumbbell rows and I’m, I just must have braced myself a li in, in a little bit of, I don’t know, I just, my bi bici groove kind of biceps tendonitis mm-hmm.
Kind of flared up from just that. I just want Plus a brace hand. Yeah. And, and so, so now I, I know that, um, It’s a combination of factors. If my la my subscap and it’s, it’s hard to say if it’s infraspinatus or Terry’s, um, get too tight. Eventually it starts to manifest. And that’s nothing unique to me. I mean, that, that, that’s just how it works.
But those, those, now I’ve been working on like foam rolling them, uh, lacrosse balling. It doesn’t feel good, but it works. You work out those trigger points. And I also see a massage therapist once a week, and so she’s able to do things that I can’t even do myself. And, and it’s almost gone. It’s not like some big problem, but just that, that one arm, that bracing is my right arm is, is kind of what, what threw it off.
And so, um, for what it’s worth with the chest supported row, even something like that can’t happen. Whereas with a one arm double rogue, again, not a dangerous exercise at all, but. There is more weight involved and it’s a, it minimally, it’s, it’s a little bit awkward when you know you have 130 pounds on one side of you, or 120 or whatever.
Kyle: Well the other thing too with, with dumbbell rose is when you get close to failure, you have more variables at play to affect your form. So you can rotate your shoulder back a little, a little bit. You can shorten the range of motion, you can change the angle of pull to where, you know, maybe the first six reps were ideal, the last two or three.
Well, you, you know, you kinda lost it with a chest supporter. Oh yeah, of course you can, your form can break down, but there’s lots of variables. I mean, you’re keeping your chest planted up against the bench and you’re really just focusing on pulling the dumbbells back. So, I mean, you do have that advantage too.
Mike: Yeah, that’s a great point. And you know, that’s something that I’ve been paying more attention to in my training. Um, uh, you could say, you could say, Technique, discipline, I guess. Mm-hmm. Also, intensity discipline, which I, I think might warrant a, a podcast onto itself because, um, it’s something that I noticed in my training, and I’m sure other people, I’m sure you’ve experienced this before, and specifically what I noticed is I was ending.
Too many of my hard sets a little bit too soon. I was, I was being a little bit too generous with myself in terms of reps in reserve. And so I started to, uh, just push myself, even though I had gotten used to, to saying like, yeah, that’s probably one or two good reps left. And then, because it’s an exercise that I can just go to failure on, um, I wouldn’t do this, I wouldn’t go to absolute failure on a deadlift or, or on a squat necessarily.
Um, bench press if maybe if I had a spotter. But these were, these were more isolation or just exercises, a very safe to go to failure on. And I, I mean, it was, I remember in one case, so this was a calf raise, just a calf raise. Mm-hmm. And I would’ve normally ended the set at like, I think nine, thinking that I had one or two left, and I got like 14.
Yeah. Mm-hmm. And, and then, and then that’s actually what triggered it. And then I started doing the same thing in all of my exercises where it’s appropriate, uh, uh, going to absolute failure, at least for one set, just to recalibrate my perception of intensity. And it, uh, I, I was, I was surprised and disappointed.
It had, yep. It had, my intensity discipline had slipped a lot. Now, it’s not to say that I was training like a wimp, like I still was training kind of hard, but I just had lost, it had been a, some time since I really pushed to failure. And so then my reps in reserve just became mismatched with reality. I, I think I’ve been okay on the, the squat and the deadlift and the bench press, um, because I mean, I can think of some of the, the last hard sets that I’ve done.
Yeah, it’s pretty hard. I have trained to failure in those exercises and. If I’m off by maybe one rep, like in my fourth set of deadlifts, I, I put one to two in my, in my spreadsheet, and it was actually two to three. Not a big deal, but there’s no way, no way. That was a five. No way. I’m thinking, you know, there like, not gonna happen.
So, uh, anyways, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a random tangent, but I think it, it’s, it’s something that might help some people listening. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts
Kyle: on exchange. Yeah, no, intensity, discipline. I, I like that, that phrasing. I actually wrote on this a couple weeks ago. I wrote, uh, an article where I was going over and I actually turned it into a podcast where I was going over percentages, r p e and, and r i r and one of the things I talked about within r p E and r I R is you have to throw in some, whether it’s amap sets or failure sets, occasionally, just to recalibrate yourself on what that is, especially with the accessory movement.
So especially those lighter exercises, because we know the further you. You get away from failure, it’s harder. But plus we also know the higher reps you get, it’s harder to gauge reps in reserve too. Absolutely. So when we’re doing sets at 10 to 15, you know, if you don’t actually push failure on that and test yourself in, you know, relatively frequently and not, I mean, you don’t have to do it every training session, but relatively frequently to know what that is, you’ll lose it.
You’ll lose that intensity discipline.
Mike: And, and you mentioned an wrap. This is probably one reason why I, I think that I’ve maintained it fairly well on my mm-hmm. Big lifts is I do am wraps every four months. Yep. And those are hard. I mean, I’m, I, I, I don’t want to go to absolute failure, like on a deadlift.
I don’t wanna go to the point where it’s where I’m just stuck and can’t move the weight. I don’t think that’s necessary, but I’m getting right up to that. Yeah. Yeah. I’m really trying to go for as many reps as I can. And, you know, by that last rep, um, the bar has slowed down a lot. My legs are on fire. I mean, I’m, it’s like cardio at this point.
It’s pretty difficult. So that has probably helped me, um, maintain that intensity discipline. On the bigger lifts, but I wasn’t doing that because I don’t really care. The point of doing that in my programming is to, to see where my, my new one rms approximate one rms are. Yeah. You have more like testing.
Yeah. I don’t, I don’t need to test my biceps curl. I just keep doing them until I can do four sets of whatever the top of the rep range is and add five pounds and see what happens, you know? Yep. So,
Kyle: yeah, I mean, it’s just, you know, when you’re able to reference that on the big lifts, it helps. But then, like you said, if you’re not doing that on an accessory movements, that that top end range kind of gets lost in Totally.
Mike: Yeah. No, it does not translate just because, um, let’s say, let’s say intensity discipline is good and tight on, on a barbell squat, that does not necessarily mean that your perception is also going to be, uh, is also gonna be accurate on a, on a leg press or, yeah, completely different. Uh, or a hamstring curl machine or a leg extension or whatever.
Let’s, let’s get back to the exercise though. What’s another, what’s another underrated exercise that you like
Kyle: to incorporate? Yeah, so I wanna bring up a, a body weight one, cuz I have a bunch of those too. And, and this one is, I think the, the reason this one’s underrated is probably cuz the level of difficulty, but a handstand pushup.
I love handstand pushups because, and really the reason I started doing them is from a, a powering standpoint, which, you know, you don’t, I don’t know of any power lifters that really do ’em regularly, but
Mike: I’ve never seen one dude that would be a site a, a big dude with uhhuh,
Kyle: well, well barbell overhead presses for some reason.
They were, they were just jamming up my shoulders. Like my, my shoulders would feel like shit whenever I went heavy on a bar overhead press. And I can handle, I’m, I kinda like built the bench press so I can handle a ton of, of bench volume, but I couldn’t really handle much overhead volume. I’m like, well, well shit, what am I going to do for my shoulders?
I mean, yeah, I love the assessor movements. I love side raisins and stuff to get the side dealt, but what can I do from a pressing standpoint? And I do like some dumbbell stuff, which I actually have some, some shoulder dumbbell exercise I wanna include too. But I’m like, all right, lemme try a handstand pushup.
So I tried it up against a wall and. Fell in love with it. Like I just love the way it feels now. Like I said, it’s difficult, so a lot of people will have to progress to a handstand pushup. And whether that’s starting with like a, a pike pushup or a feet elevated pike pushup, and then getting up to the point where you’re doing just handstand holds, trying to build that overhead stability and then maybe even getting to the point where you’re doing handstand holds and like eccentrics or handstand holds and like half reps, and then eventually kind of build to the point where you can do against the wall handstand pushups.
But when you can get to that point, I’m
Mike: a big fan of them. And did you find that, um, that helped at all with your barbell overhead, or did it just the exercise doesn’t, doesn’t play well with your anatomy? Yeah, for some reason
Kyle: that exercise just doesn’t play well for me. So I pretty much just replaced it with Hans and pushups.
Mike: Hmm. Yeah, I mean, it’s a, it’s an extremely difficult exercise. Yeah. It’s
Kyle: really hard. So that’s why I wanted to say that upfront. That’s why it’s hard to progress on too. Yeah, it’s hard to progress. So it’s almost like a, the way I program it is more from a volume standpoint. Yeah. So I’ll have a certain amount of reps I’m going for, for the training session, and then really I’m just trying to get it done in as few as sets as possible.
So that’s the progression. So it’s like, oh, if I’m doing, you know, 50 reps and it takes me four sets, well, you know, let’s see if I can get it done in, in a less amount of sets.
Mike: That makes sense. Something that, um, the gym I go to now has that I don’t remember seeing, I probably have seen it before. I’m just not remembering, but it, it certainly was not in my previous gym.
Is, um, I, I should have looked, uh, if I would’ve thought of this, would’ve looked online, the Viking press, because Might be. So what it is, is you’re standing. You have handles, it’s plate loaded and there’s like kind of like, almost like a for people it sounds like, you know? Exactly. But for people listening, it’s like a little mini, a little mini rack in front of you and you stand in front of it and you can just press overhead.
And, uh, I started doing it because when I pissed off my shoulder dumbbell rowing. It’s like, eh, oh, the using a barbell doesn’t feel great even on the barbell bench press. So for, for people listening, uh, I think a good little tip to share is if something is hurting, something’s off. Don’t force yourself to keep doing what you normally do and try to work through pain, because that usually does not work.
Usually it just gets worse. And so instead find something else you can do that. It doesn’t have to be completely pain free. I’m okay with a little bit of discomfort, like maybe a one or two out of 10 where I feel it a little bit, but it’s not a problem. Uh, but I don’t want like a five or, or six plus out of 10.
And so for me, that was this, I guess it’s called a Viking press. I just
Kyle: learned today, I’m pretty sure. I’m pretty sure, not a hundred percent sure, but 90%
Mike: sure. Yeah. Plate loaded machine press overhead. And then for, for my, for my chest pressing, my gym has these nice, they’re, they’re made by Atlantis. And you lie down, it’s, it’s kinda like a bench press, but it’s plate loaded and it’s just locked in place.
And I prefer this as opposed to a lot of chest press. You’re, you’re sitting upright or at an incline. And I tried those, but I like these others where you’re lying down. It, it’s, it really, it really duplicates the, the bench press experience. But it’s a machine.
Kyle: Yep. Yeah. The, uh, the Viking press is a staple and like strong man.
So that’s why it’s, it’s pretty popular there. I’ve, I’ve done that before. See, I can do that and that doesn’t bother my shoulder.
Mike: I, I, I think it’s a great, I’ll, I will go back to the barbell just once my shoulder’s not bothering me at all, but I’m gonna, this is, that’s something I’m just gonna include in the rotation because, um, you’re able to put a bit more weight on it, obviously, because there’s, there’s less stability in play.
It’s just kind of raw pushing power and, um, you’re able to, you’re able to push right up to the point of you don’t have to go to absolute failure, but you can push yourself a little bit harder and not worry about, you know, with your back kind of bending outta place or, or something going awry. It’s, it’s, it’s easier in that regard.
Kyle: Yeah. While we’re on shoulders again, I have a, I have a, I’ve just always tried to work around using the barbell overhead press, so another one I like is a one arm dumbbell shoulder press standing. So I. The, the uniqueness of this, obviously you’re using one dumbbell, so you do have it, it has a lot more core activation demands.
So that’s kind of, it’s kind of self-limiting in, in that sense. But I also like just using one dumbbell from the sense that it allows you to really have a lot of control over your scapular position cuz you’re not using Yeah. Two, when you’re not using the barbell. So I mean, you can really play around with it, get a good range of motion and um, you know, like I said, self-limiting.
Like, you’re not going to be able to use as much weight as you could with like a seated dumbbell overhead press from the stability standpoint. And you’re just using one, one arm. So it’s, you know, a little bit different, uh, demand. But I love that exercise. Have you tried
Mike: seated one arm? Yep,
Kyle: I’ve done that.
And that, that works great too. Yeah. Okay. I’m a little bit heavier with ’em, but I like the, I, I prefer the standing. Probably just be, probably for the added cord demand. I just like it. Not that I’m trying to to get that, but I like the, it makes a little bit more of a whole body type. Yeah, well you gotta, yeah.
I like the idea that you have to be super tight and when I program that for people, I, I like doing the single arm standing shoulder pressing, and I also like, just like a one arm dumbbell bench. Press two for the, the tightness that you have to get, because a lot of people struggle generating that tightness on like a barbell bench.
You know, they, they struggle with getting their feet set and their back set everything tight, getting braced. But when you’re using the one arm dumbbell press, you really don’t have an option not to, cuz I mean that’s what’s required to, to do the movement.
Mike: And would you program that? Instead of a, a bench press, would you do even if it’s just for a couple of months or would that be something you might follow up so you might open with your bench or vice versa?
Kyle: it’s as an accessory movement. Yeah. It’s not something I would replace the bench with it, it’s something I would replace regular dumbbell bench with.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. What are your thoughts on, on, uh, other unilateral. Exercises or, or taking something that maybe is normally thought of as a bilateral and turning it into a unilateral.
I know that’s something, at least I’ve seen a bit more on social media these days. And, uh, I, I think there are, there are, are useful, um, uh, use cases for that. Yeah. Well,
Kyle: another one that comes to mind would be like a, a single leg dumbbell. R D l I like those, uh, big balance demand. So that’s, that’s probably one reason why you don’t see a lot of people doing those is just cuz you, you do have to focus on balance.
So you gotta like, pick a spot on the wall or something, really focus on it. But the reason I like those is, Because for one, they’re really hard, so you can’t use a lot of weight. And for, for strong people, I mean, I like dumbbell just two armed dumbbell R dls too. But the problem is when you get strong, yeah.
I mean you kind of
Mike: wanna get heavy and then you’re like, okay, I guess I’m gonna strap. Yeah, you
Kyle: gotta strap. Then they’re awkward. Cause you got like 200 pounders and then are, you know, and then a lot of people who are strong, I mean you could probably even get up to where you’re doing one 20 s and then that’s probably just harder to get ’em off the rack and everything.
So doing the kettlebells are
Mike: better for that, but yep. I mean they don’t
Kyle: most, they don’t go heavy, heavy enough kettle bells. Um, So, yeah, the, the single leg variation kind of is a workaround cuz you’re higher demand and balance and then you’re only using one leg. So weight’s not gonna be a
Mike: factor. And that also makes, uh, for a good exercise to include like in a, in a traveling routine, for example.
Mm-hmm. Where, where you’re just, uh, hotel, gym, for example. Yep. You’re, you’re gonna have dumbbells if you’re lucky, they’re gonna go maybe up to 80. You’re gonna have a few machines and you know, a pull-up station. Dip station. Really. That’s it. Maybe, maybe a cable setup as
Kyle: well. Yeah. Well, a lot of these exercises, like I said in when we started, uh, talking about ’em, is they’re not necessarily better exercises, they’re just alternative exercises, you know, so it’s like, hey, when you’re traveling.
And you don’t have heavy dumbbell here. They only have sixties or eighties, whatever. Do a one arm variation, whether it’s you know, the dumbbell shoulder press or bench press. Do the one arm. It’s gonna be a lot harder. You’re probably gonna get a good workout with, with less weight. Do the single leg dumbbell.
R d l gonna be able to get a good workout with less weight. You can
Mike: also do some pull variations as well if, if there’s a cable set up, you can do some single arm versus double and get more out of whatever you’ve
Kyle: got. And this is, it comes down to having the equipment, but a safety bar squat. Uh, it’s popular within power lifting, but you don’t see a lot of just kinda your general lifters taking advantage of it.
And if your gym has a safety bar squat, I highly recommend it for a couple reasons. One, I love it as if you’re squatting more than once a week. I love it as a secondary squat exercise, I. Simply for the reason it’s designed. It’s a safety squat bar, and the reason the, the safety is included is it allows you to grip the bar in front so it really has, you know, no shoulder demands.
And a lot of people are probably thinking, well, what’s the shoulder demands of a, of a squat? Well, especially when you have a, a tight packs, there’s a lot of power lifters in here, tight packs, you’re kind of internally rotated. Getting into that squat position, specifically a low bar squat position can bang up your shoulders if you’re doing it multiple times per week.
So that’s why the safety squat bar works really well as a secondary squat day. Or you can use it as your, your only squat as well. Cuz it also mimics, it’s pretty similar to a, a front squat position, but a lot of people struggle getting into a good front rack position and then they don’t like the crossed arm or they can, you know, don’t, doesn’t feel stable with um, you know, like wrist wraps around the bar.
And then also with a front squat, a lot of people struggle with the upper back demand cuz I mean, it’s a struggle to fight, to stay upright. So that ends up becoming the, the limiting factor is just, you know, upper back strength. But you throw in the safety squat bar similar position, but with less, uh, you know, unique demands.
Mike: And also less demand on your lower back. Mm-hmm. Uh, probably a little bit more knee friendly just because of the, the position that, that you’re in. Yep. Yeah. I, I, safety bar squatted for the first time. I mean, it’s probably close to a year ago, uh, now. Uh, but I, I did four months of it and made good progress because it was new.
New. Yep. Um, and then, and then I did four months of front, uh, squatting and got fairly strong. I’d have to look on my spreadsheet, but I think I ended my onem in low 300 s, probably 3 15, 3 20, something like that, on, on Onem. Um, I got to about three. The best on my front was, uh, or sorry, my, my safety ended at probably about three 30, a little bit higher.
Mm-hmm. And so I do that and then, I haven’t back squatted now for eight months, and I go to back squat thinking that my one RM is what, three 70 is all carryover? Yeah. Like 3 70, 3 80. I mean, this is gonna be great. And no, no, not even close. I mean, 2 45 for sets of four to six were hard on the back squat.
Mm-hmm. Yep. Which, um, I believe it, the lesson, the lesson learned was if, if you want to stay good at the back squat, you can’t not back squat for eight months. Even though I made progress on these other exercises and I, I achieved a pretty decent strength standard on both of those because I started obviously with decent strength to.
In the beginning, but, um, anyway, so now, now I’m six months back into back squatting and, um, it’s hard to say I haven’t, I, I’ll be, am wrapping in a few weeks and we’ll see, but I, I’ll probably be three 50, so it’s, it’s coming back. But I was a little bit surprised that, uh, did not carry over well. Yeah.
Kyle: All that, uh, specificity factor always, uh, comes into play.
Yeah. I love front gas. It’s just tricky
Mike: though, because it feels very similar like you are squatting, you know what I mean? There’s just enough of a difference. Well, what
Kyle: I was gonna say is I love front squats, but I’ve never really got a ton of carryover from front squats into my back squat. But I love ’em.
Like, I don’t know, I feel like maybe I’m just like built. To, to be a good front squad. Actually one time I was, um, do you know who Travis Mash is? Mm-hmm. He used to be like, he’s an old time power lifter, but then he also did Olympic lifting and I think he actually co coached like the Junior Olympic, um, weightlifting team.
So Olympic weightlifting. And I was in a gym with him one time. This is like probably like, I dunno, six or seven years ago. And I just, I had front squats that day, which is kind of a lot of Olympic lifters do that. And he was watching me and he was like, you know, he was like watching you front squat. He’s like, I think you should give up power lifting and just do Olympic lifting.
He’s like, cuz you’re built to Olympic lift. I was like, well the problem is I’m like 25, so. What are my chances of, uh, doing anything with that?
Mike: Uh, not very high, but Yeah. But you, you could still be
Kyle: a good front squatter. Yeah. Yeah. Uhhuh. Yeah. I was like, well, I was like, listen, I was like, if they put the bench in, in Olympic lifting, then I’d be off for it, but I’m not giving up the bench.
Mike: Yeah. That’s, you had mentioned, like, that’s, yeah, that’s my lift. Yeah. That’s, that’s your favorite. That’s where mm-hmm. You shine. Yeah. Um, yeah. Yeah. I, I like, I like the front squat. I like the back squat. I don’t think I’m particularly great at either of them. My anatomy works against me in both cases. Long legs, long femurs, never been a great squatter, but, uh, I’ve been able to achieve, uh, you know, pretty decent strength.
I, my kind of, um, Maybe short term ish. I think maybe within the next year or so, goal, if I can, if I can get back to, I, I’ve had a one M on the back squad about low 400 s. I’ve had that in the past. I think I can get back to that if I just stay patient. Um, that’s not, that’s not that extraordinary. That’s just strong.
That’s not even super strong. You know,
Kyle: you’re, you’re built more to deadlift probably, right?
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. But, um, That’s only because I have long monkey arms. Yep. The arms, buns, all that really does, I feel like is, is negate the disadvantage of the long legs. Yeah. And so it’s allowed me to, uh, do better on the deadlift than the bench press, overhead press and squat in terms of just progress relative to body weight.
Um, but my, my deadlift one rm, it’ll probably be four 40 to four 50 I’m guessing at the end of this training block. And so it’s okay. You know, it’s nothing Yeah. That’s nothing great by anyone’s standards. And yeah, you could say that, you know, I stay pretty lean and I don’t train particularly for strength.
It’s kind of a hybrid approach. Um, but, but still if I, if I’m just objectively honest with myself, yeah. If I were to put on 20 pounds and all the food that goes with that and all the calories and change my training, could I pull 500 for one or so Yeah, I could probably get there. Um, but that’s still.
There’s still 50 or 60 pounds that have to go on the bar from where I’m at now. So I don’t, I don’t think it’s realistic for me to think that I could pull 600, uh, and excluding drugs, we take drugs out of the picture. Um, maybe I’m pessimistic, but that, that’s my assessment of, of, of really my anatomy. Well, well,
Kyle: last time I came on, we talked about power lifting.
I thought, I, I thought I had a, had you convinced to, uh, to do a meet?
Mike: Do you go to go embarrass myself? Go, go, go. Take last place. Oh, not you. That’s like, it makes me think of some of these, uh, these endurance. I, I guess it’s, I don’t, I’m not an, I’ve never been an endurance athlete and mm-hmm. It’s, um, it’s something that I’m not, I’m not really involved in that space, but one of the guys I work with is, I mean, he’s, I think he’s done over a hundred triathlons.
He was really into it for a while. Yeah. And now he’s more into lifting, but he’s still, he’s still is, um, I guess kind of hip on, on what’s happening in the endurance space. And I guess one of the, one of the popular. Um, trends recently is low volume training for high volume events. And so it’s a nice sales pitch, right, where you know, if you’re gonna be training for this, a triathlon, and it’s gonna involve all of this volume, uh, in one day.
Well, you, you could train just 10 hours a week to, to get there. Eight to 10 hours a week. And, and he, he says absolute nonsense. Uh, yeah. That, that doesn’t make sense. You look at the training volume of, of the people who do well at that stuff and like, no, it’s like 30 to 40 hours of training per week. Yeah.
I mean, he was talking, he was telling me about a, a cyclist I believe who, uh, he was cycling. Cycling. So this is, I’m sure he was doing other things too. He was cycling six to eight hours a day. Yeah. Seven days. Seven days a
Kyle: week. Oh, yeah. Well, the, the triathlete, the training for that is, is, I mean, it, I mean it is volume, like it’s high, high volume.
It’s like a, like a part-time job because Yeah, it really is. I mean, it really is because I mean, if you think about it, you have three events. It’s like, I don’t know the exact numbers, but it’s like a, I dunno, two mile swim, a hundred and like 14 miles on the bike and then you run a marathon. Yeah, like in, at one.
Mike: Go, I mean, exactly. And so the pitch that you could, you can train 10 hours a week to do that. The joke is like, yeah, you’ll, you’ll not only come in last place, you’ll, you’ll post some of the worst numbers maybe ever in the events history, but sure, you can say that you, that you did it well. But if you wanna, if you wanna be good at it, don’t buy into that.
Kyle: yeah, I’m thinking to myself, I’m like, well, well, shit, I don’t even, I’m sure a lot of these events have like a time cap. I don’t even know if you could make the time unless you were maybe like really genetically good at it or something. You could make the time cap with limited training, but I, I doubt it.
Well, wasn’t that, wasn’t that kind of CrossFits, um, marketing angle for initially It was like, you know, you could do, you know, Three to five workouts a week, at a half an hour each. And then you can be as strong as a power lifter and run a marathon and do sprints. And was that actually, I think so. I think that was like maybe Glassman’s, like one of his pitches early on.
Mike: Again, it’s a good pitch for people who want to believe, if they want to believe that we see some of that in the body composition space. The pitch is if you train super intensely just one, two, max, three times per week, you can do just as well, if not better than training five times per week at any intensity.
Any programming variable doesn’t matter. That one to two, three times per week super intense. Plus a bunch of recovery is just better. And I wish that were the case. If it were the case, then I would do it myself and I would recommend it at least as, as an option, but it’s just not true.
Kyle: Well, a, a lot of you know, and you’ve been in fitness for a while.
Everything recycles, like all this stuff recycles and it’s like packaged is new and it’s like, no, this was, you know, let’s trace this back to the origin. Like that style training. What’s that? Go back to like Arthur Jones back with Nautilus, that was like their thing. You know, you train a couple times a week, you just do one set to failure, and then that’s what went into Mike Menzer.
Yeah. With the high intensity training. And then eventually Dorian, what was, was it heavy? Heavy duty? The heavy duty, that’s right. Yeah. The heavy duty. And then, um, you know, then Dorian and, uh, Then it gets repackaged in a slightly different way. You see the same thing with nutrition, like with, with keto and low carb diets or intermittent fasting.
Like it’s just a, a cycle and then it gets repackaged slightly different and then presented as something
Mike: new. Yeah. It’s just, just usually some marketing shading, somebody gets a, a clever idea to tie it to something usually related to science or history or some combination of both. Even if it’s pseudoscience or pseudo history.
Yeah, but that’s, that’s usually the, the formula. Hey there. If you are hearing this, you are still listening, which is awesome. Thank you. And if you are enjoying this podcast, or if you just like my podcast in general and you are getting at least something out of it, would you mind sharing it with a friend or a loved one or a not so loved one even who might want to learn something new?
Word of mouth helps really bigly in growing the show. So if you think of someone who might like this episode or another one, please do tell them about it. Let’s get back on track. What’s, what’s another underrated exercise that you wanted to
Kyle: share? Yeah, so another one I, I think is great and it’s not collectively, it’s not that underrated, but the way I’m gonna explain it, it is, and that’s doing chin-ups for, for biceps.
I think a lot of people, um, don’t necessarily think of a chin up as a bicep exercise. And actually, I don’t think of as, as a bicep exercise per se, because I would still classify it as a, as a back exercise. But, um, in terms of bicep development, so using the, the underhand grip use, maybe even a little bit closer grip, and then trying to stay vertical, I think you can get a lot of utility out of that for as a, as a bicep exercise.
And it’s a, it’s a heavy exercise, meaning you can, you know, obviously with your body weight, it’s quite a bit of resistance for a lot of people. But then if you’re strong, you can get to the point where you’re doing weighted chin up. So really, in terms of load, there’s not many exercises that are gonna get, you know, that heavy with your biceps.
Mike: Yeah, I do chin-ups. Um, I mean, it’s always in the rotation. Sometimes I’ll, I’ll drop it for, um, some sort of machine, but I always will come back to it. And for adding weight, my, my accessories is usually I’m not doing more than, or sorry, not doing fewer than six reps. Uh, sometimes I’ll do some fours if, if I want to.
Like, I like doing fours with biceps curls and a couple of other things. Yeah. This might be one where I would, where I, you could do fours. Yeah. But it’s gonna require, uh, it’s gonna require a belt for, I’ve, I’ve, if I can, I can snatch maybe 20 or 25 pounds, just put a dumbbell on the ground. Mm-hmm. Um, but if I need more weight than that, it gets, gets a bit awkward.
Kyle: Having a belt, having the belt’s nice. Cuz I mean, you can, you know, you can use it for, for multiple things. So if the gym doesn’t have one, I’d probably even recommend grabbing one and putting it in
Mike: your gym bag. Yep. And then let forget it. Every time like me. Yep. Have it. Uh, cause I don’t have, I don’t have a gym bag, but, uh, I have in, in my car there’s, um, the, the little, little trunk in the trunk in the back.
Mm-hmm. Um, where I keep all my lifting stuff and I don’t know how many times I would just forget to get my dip belt and then not want to go back to the car. Yeah. And then be like, oh, fuck it, and just grab a dumbbell or, or just do more reps than I wanted to just use body weight. But, but yeah, I agree.
It’s, it’s a great exercise. And if you can hang 45 pounds and get six to eight reps, like that’s, that’s strong. Yeah. That’s
Kyle: strong. Yeah. And, and the benefit is, is that it is still a back exercise too. So, I mean, it’s not, you kind of get, you know, kill two birds is one stone
Mike: there. Yeah. Yeah. It’s just more bicep centric if you do it the way that you Yep.
Kyle: Yep. Yep. Uh, another one. That’s great. And it kind of goes back to initially when we were talking about overrated exercise, as we talked about, like, one of the most overrated ever is the dumbbell side bend. Well, if you want a better. Version of that, not really a version, but a better idea of that same exercise, do a suitcase carry.
So grab a heavy dumbbell, one dumbbell, hold it in the position like you do a dumbbell side raise, but then just maintain that position and then walk. Love that exercise. I mean, from a core activation standpoint, anti-rotation, and you get the grip strength element as well.
Mike: Kettlebells work, work nicely for that too.
Perfect. Yep. And, and is, uh, is Farmer walks, is that on your Yeah, so I mean, suitcase, I mean, same
Kyle: concept. Yeah, same concept. Pretty much
Mike: all loaded. Two two instead of one.
Kyle: Yeah. Yeah. Pretty much all loaded caries, I would say are, are underrated.
Mike: And why don’t you talk a little bit about that. I, I think I had Dan John on some time ago, and I think he spoke a bit about it, but for people who didn’t hear that interview or don’t remember, uh, I think it’s, it’s worth taking a few minutes to explain the, the value of a loaded carry.
And also I’m curious how you would program it. Is that something you’d throw at the end of a workout?
Kyle: Yeah. Loaded curries are great. I know Dan John, he’s big on him. He, um, mm-hmm. He, he probably, I read his book. He puts it
Mike: up there with, You know, a hip hinge and a press. Yeah. He puts it up
Kyle: there as like a, as like a main movement pattern to do.
Yep. Yeah. I got probably, uh, actually if I think about it, I probably got these originally from him. These in, in barbell co complexes. He’s big on those, but I don’t use ’em as like an, like a training thing. I use ’em for a warmup a lot of times, like a barbell complex. Just take an empty barbell and do, you know, you can do, you know, five or six different exercises with just the barbell and do that as like a warmup.
I used to do that a lot, but yeah. So loaded caries, they’re great for a number of reasons. One, just from the, the element of your, your. Moving throughout the gym with weight. So you’re getting the added benefit of, it’s a little bit of a cardiovascular element. Not really cardio per se, but you’re getting some, some movement in with weight, which is unique.
Like there’s not really anything else we’re gonna do in the gym that’s like that, you know, hate to use the word functional, but when you think about it, there’s not as, there’s not many things in the gym that we can actually say this is 100% how we would need it in the real world without bastardizing the exercise.
You know what I mean? Like, no, this is the exercise you hear, you carry two heavy things and you walk, you do that in life. Like literally when, when we had the twins, I remember thinking groceries. Yeah. Or groceries. But when we had the twins, I would be carrying the two, uh, car seats around. I’m like, well, shit, I’m glad I did all those farmer caries.
Um, uh, so yeah, they’re, they’re great for that. Great For your grip too. Um. And from a programming standpoint, a lot of times I’ll throw ’em in at the end as, as like a finisher because you don’t wanna necessarily get your, your grip fatigue before any other exercise. So you throw it at the end, um, and really you can throw it at the end of a upper body workout or lower body workout.
You can kind of program it either way.
Mike: And what are your thoughts on how they can impact, um, uh, the acronym? Another acronym is G P P, I think it’s just general physical preparedness. Yep. And, and how that can, uh, improve your performance in all of your training.
Kyle: Yeah, yeah. I would put that into the G P P category.
It would like, like a prowler too. Same idea. And just kind of in improving your general physical preparedness. I mean, you’re gonna see a lot of benefits into your training too. I think we talked about this last time, but really just improving your base le level aerobic conditioning, which shit walking could be included as an underrated exercise too.
Just true. Just general walking. But you’ll, you’ll notice that your recovery time in your training session will improve. So you can actually improve your training density, get more work done, and less time. So, I mean, that’s probably the, the biggest benefit I’ve noticed with myself and with clients just from improving G P P.
Mike: And if, if rest times are usually pretty, um, set, you know, like, I like to rest maybe three and a half minutes in between a set of maybe three, three and a half. If it’s a, a heavy set of squats or deadlifts, I, I usually don’t go to four. Maybe it’s, if it’s my fourth set and I’m doing sets of like eight or 10 on the deadlift, which is the hardest stuff that I do in all of my training, maybe I’ll, I’ll rest.
And then, then my accessories are, uh, usually two and a half, unless it’s like a calf raise. Maybe I’ll go two, but I like two and a half. Uh, and so if, um, if, if people listening are, are the same way and then they improve their G P P. Then they’ll find that not only will their training density improve, but their training, their intensity, performance intensity.
Yeah. It’s gonna, it’s gonna be better. Like they’re gonna, they’re gonna be able to possibly get another rep or two with a weight that they wouldn’t have been able to get because they gave themselves, you know, they’re not necessarily watching their heart rate or, or they’re just giving themselves three and a half minutes and after three and a half minutes they go.
And if, if you’re going from, let’s say, poor aerobic conditioning to good, then that, that can make a big difference. Even though three and a half minutes is, it is kind of a long time, but it really just depends where you’re at and what you’re doing.
Kyle: Right. Yeah. I mean, that’s why I would say, you know, just.
Walking is another underrated exercise or, but really it’s just low intensity cardio. I think that’s underrated just for this, this reason. That’s easy to do. I mean, you can do it while you’re on a, a business call. You can do it while you’re watching a show, watching YouTube, watching Netflix, or I haven’t, you know, just any type of conversation.
And you will see a benefit in your performance in the gym from including it
Mike: makes it easier to maintain the body composition that you want to with more food. Yep. So that just makes it more enjoyable, uh, even, even if you’re not cutting, even if you’re just maintaining, or even if you’re, if you’re lean bulking, I mean, obviously too much cardio becomes counterproductive, even if all it does is make, you just have to eat more food.
Yep. You probably, after a bit of lean bulking, you don’t want to eat more food, so that doesn’t actually help you. Um, but I, I think that including some cardio in, in a, in a lean bulking, Regimen, um, is, is beneficial. There might be some nutrient partitioning effects. I know it’s a little bit speculative, but, um, it’s not gonna hurt, that’s for sure.
And, and then there’s also, it probably will help you when you switch to a cut that you’re already in the habit of doing that. I know, just practically speaking, hearing from a lot of people to go from eating like a slob for at least that’s how it feels, right? Mm-hmm. For months and months and months and doing no cardio and just, you know, doing a bunch of weightlifting to then less food and then trying to get into the habit of doing cardio.
Um, I, I know that people can find that more difficult than if they just keep it in throughout the whole. Lean
Kyle: bulk. Yep. If you’re already doing it, then when you start dieting or a fat loss phase, you can pretty much just adjust your nutrition and then maybe add a little bit of cardio rather than, you know, implement something completely new like, you haven’t been doing cardios.
Now it’s, oh, we gotta reduce calories and add this on top of it. You know, it’s just an extra, extra thing to do.
Mike: Yep. Exactly. Uh, exercises is, let’s see, is the Good morning. Yep. What, what are your thoughts on
Kyle: Yep, I have the good morning listed too. It’s, it’s not an exercise. I do a ton, but it is an underrated exercise.
Another, another movement that was really popular in power lifting, but you don’t see it a ton in general lifting gen, general strength training, but if you think about it, it’s really the same. If you look at it from the side, you’re pretty much getting the same hip h position that you’d get with an R D L.
Yeah. So, I mean, from a, a lower back and probably posterior chain standpoint, it’s, it’s excellent. And then we talked about the safety squat bar. If you have a safety squat bar at your gym, They weren’t great for good
Mike: mornings. Interesting. I’ve never done that. Yeah, I could see that though.
Kyle: Yeah. They weren’t great for good mornings.
Yeah. But yeah, big fan of those and um, they’re definitely this, that’s definitely underrated in terms of general strength training.
Mike: My only personal asterisk with it is I noticed that, let’s see, so in that training block, I was front squatting. I’m, I’m always doing some sort of deadlift, whether it’s a trap bar or, or a just conventional.
Um, and I think I was also doing a, a barbell row or a tea bar row, but with no chest support. Yep. And so adding the good morning on top of that, it was fine for a bit, but then it started to irritate my, my hips. Yeah. It was just too much hip hinging with all of that. Mm-hmm. So, uh, just, just throwing that out there for people to think with.
Kyle: It’s definitely a movement that you wanna make sure you have your, your form dialed in. You know what I mean? It’s, it’s because, I mean, think about it, y there’s a, there’s a lot of things at play for one, you don’t want to turn it into like a modified squat where you’re bending your knees too much. Yeah.
And then you also don’t want to get rounded over being said, it’s gonna be bad for your, your lower back. So you, you do wanna make sure you’re maintaining good position, you’re, you’re really comfortable with a hip hinge. You know, if it’s not an exercise, I’d probably include. Right off the bat with someone, if they’ve, if they’re not comfortable, hit pinching, you know what I mean?
Like you gotta, I would have someone do an RDL first, and if you can handle R DLS and can maintain good position on rdl, that’s when, okay, well, maybe we can throw in a, a good morning as like a variation to that. I don’t do it at, I love, I love R dls, so Yeah, A lot of times it’s, you know, if I do, you know, throughout the year, I may do, you know, eight to 10 training cycles with rls and then it only leaves, you know, one or two for something like a good morning.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. What, what are your thoughts on the pistol squat? Yeah,
Kyle: so that’s another one I, I included. I, I love the pistol squat again. It’s one of those exercises where it’s really challenging, so it’s probably why it’s underrated. The balance
Mike: is such a huge
Kyle: pain in the ass. It’s such a pain in the ass.
Yeah. Um, so I used to do ’em back in the day and then I got away from ’em until. 2020. And then for like the fir before I even got my, my home gym set up for like that first month, cuz I didn’t know what the hell was happening. I just trained at home just without, not even in the garage, like literally in my office with some adjustable dumbbells, a, a pull-up bar and you know, that’s basically it.
So I started doing pistol squats again and at first I kind of lost the ability to do ’em, which was like, okay, this is, this kind of sucks, so okay, I gotta restart this whole process. So, but it didn’t take me long. I pretty much just did like a, a box pistol squat onto, I’m trying to think what I used like a.
Maybe like one of my daughter’s chairs or something. And, uh, you know, I did that for a couple weeks. People listening.
Mike: You, you can also do a supported, like if you have the strength. Yep. It’s just very awkward, which Yeah, it is. Until, until you get it. You can also just put your arm in, you know, something, you can brace
Kyle: on something.
Or if you have like a, a tx, you can do a T R X or you can, even if you have a box, see a lot of times the, the problem that people have is with the, uh, the non-working leg, not having anywhere to go. So you have to fight to keep it up. Yeah. So you can do a pistol squat while you’re standing on a box and then you can allow the, the other leg to kind of dangle down.
That’s a, another good progression. But no,
Mike: the fist, I’ve never done that. Yeah, that’s, I can immediately, uh, See how that would be a great place to start if you have a good foundation of strength. Yep. Yeah.
Kyle: Cause if, if, if strength’s not the issue, it’s going to be probably a, uh, you know, mobility or stability and really being able to maintain that non-working leg up.
But if you stand on a box, you can kind of let it dangle and now you’re really just focused on that one working leg.
Mike: Yeah. And, uh, for programming, would you consider that an accessory as well? Yeah. Yeah.
Kyle: And I’d consider it like a, a quad movement because the other thing is you’re getting a lot of forward knee travel, which is good for,
Mike: for quans.
I mentioned the trap bar deadlift. Mm-hmm. That’s, um, something that I know, I guess, I guess I know Mark Rippetoe hates it. Mm-hmm. I, I don’t agree with him on that point. Yeah. But I know he hates it. But what, what’s he about? I
Kyle: don’t, I don’t know if I’ve, uh,
Mike: Heard that. So, yeah. So, so, um, it’s been some time, so I’m gonna put words in his mouth, but you know, what I remember is he, he doesn’t like that you’re less, you’re less, this is how he explained it, um, that, that you’re less stable in the top position, that you can move around more.
Yeah. Mm-hmm. Whereas with, with a, a barbell, you’re more locked into place and, um, I mean, he’s not wrong in that, obviously there’s, there’s more wiggle room, uh, in, in the trap bar deadlift, but I, I don’t think that makes it an unsafe exercise. No. Or ineffective exercise.
Kyle: No, just reinforces good bracing at the top.
Cause actually, if you think about it, I think that’s an issue that sometimes people have with regular deadlifts is they’re bracing. Bracing, then they get to the top, then they relax.
Mike: You know, I made that mistake and hurt my SI joint many years ago. Yeah, they happens. Yep. Mm-hmm. So I, you know, and it was heavy weight.
It was the last rep, and I just, it was stupid. I just wasn’t paying attention, let out, uh, tension, and then felt my hip kind of shift in a way. I was like, Ooh, yes, that’s not good. That’s not supposed to happen.
Kyle: Uhhuh. Yeah. So that, that, I mean, that happens. That’s pretty common. So, um, you know, I never really thought about that, but actually with a trap bar, because you do have less stability at the top, you do have to keep braced.
Like it’s, you know, probably good re reinforcement there. Yeah.
Mike: Yeah. Any other benefits that you like? Yeah, well I like
Kyle: the trap bar because it’s, it’s a movement that you can put people on pretty quickly. You know, if anybody who’s actually done like personal training in the gym before, I mean, it’s a, it’s a pretty low learning curve and it’s, it’s kind of
Mike: a, especially the high handles, you know, it’s the high handles, it’s almost just intuitive, like yeah, it’s, pick that up.
Good job. Yeah,
Kyle: it, it’s pretty easy. Um, in terms of deadlifting, um, you know, the hit whole hip hing of, for people who aren’t comfortable with that can be a challenge. So getting, uh, a low buried entry, high handle, trap bar deadlift, you know, go to town on it. But, but even for more advanced people too, it’s, it’s a good exercise to throw in.
It’s for more advanced people, it can almost kind of be a, a hybrid squat and deadlift, cuz it’s not like a complete, it’s not the exact same as like a, you know, regular deadlift, sumo deadlift or, uh, even like an RDL or anything like that. You’re not getting the same hip hinge with a trap bar. So it’s, it’s like a
Mike: hybrid movement.
Yeah. Yeah. I, I like to, I, I flip the bar over and do the low bar Yep. Just for a little bit more range of motion. Yep. And, um, unfortunately I don’t like the trap bars that my gym, my gym is great. They have all kinds of, they have, they have safety bars, they have, um, uh, pendulum squad. I’m doing that for the first time.
Yeah. I love those. Yeah. Yeah. That’s difficult. Mm-hmm. When I, quick tangent, so, um, I, I’m doing it for the first time, and this is my third exercise in a lower body. So this is, I’ve already done, I’ve already done eight sets and that includes some heavy squats. And so I hadn’t done this before and I was like, oh, the, I can see, you know, the can leave.
This is gonna be a little bit more difficult. Maybe like three plates or four or something. I’ll just, you know, that’s not that much weight. Yeah. Yeah. And then, and then, Did maybe half of my first rep and was like, uh, no, no, no, no. Yeah. So now, now I’m back up to 1 0 5, uh, and I’m doing, it’s still my third exercise, so I could do more of, it’s my first, but 1 0 5 for four, and I think maybe I could do six.
But, um, it, it’s a tough exercise. And anyway, so the trap bar, the, the trap bars that my gym has, uh, are a bit awkward. I actually don’t even know how to describe, uh, so I could show it, right? Mm-hmm. So here, here are the, um, oh, what, what, where, what you load, you load the weight here, and then your, mm-hmm. Your handles are here, but it comes up and around you like this.
There is no backside to it. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. And so it, it just, when it’s loaded and it starts to get heavy, it tends to tip forward. Uh, so, uh, I might, might end up just like getting my own and giving it to the gym. Hopefully somebody doesn’t steal it. That, that’s one of the problems with dip belts if you leave ’em in the gym.
Yeah. At least in this gym, they don’t, they don’t stay in the gym. But, um, otherwise I, I really like the trap bar deadlift. It’s just, I don’t like this type of trap bar.
Kyle: Yeah. That is the one thing about the, the trap bar is there seems to be quite a bit of variation between trap bars. Yeah. So if you find one you like, I’ve been in, I’ve been at gyms where I was like, Ooh, I really like this trap bar.
Then I’m at another gym. It’s like if I’m traveling or something trying to stay on my program, it’s like, oh, this trap bar sucks. So this is, throws a whole wrench
Mike: in and it may, it’s totally different. Yeah. Like completely different. Yep. I, I, my, my weight went down again because it’s just an awkward bar. It tends to slip a little bit in my hands.
It tends to tip, like, whereas in the previous, uh, gym, uh, I don’t, it might have been a rogue trap bar. Whatever they had mm-hmm. Was great. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And it just felt stable. All I had, I didn’t, I wasn’t thinking about, you know, keeping it from tipping or it was just, I was able to just pull hard, like basically with the barbell.
Yeah. And everything stayed in place so long as I did the basic things Right. That’s not the case with this trap bar, unfortunately.
Kyle: Yeah, you mentioned the, the pendulum squad. I dunno if I’d put that on the, the list per se, but if your gym has one, I would, I’d definitely recommend trying it out. The first time I, I used one was, actually, this is a funny story.
I was, um, I was, I think I was maybe like a, a sophomore in college and I was, you, you know, mark Lo Blinder, right? Mm-hmm. Yeah. So he, he had a, a online website. It was called Machine Muscle. I was the editor of the, the magazine Oh cool. The online magazine. So we would always go to the Arnold and I would, would go with him and stuff.
And there’s this gym outside of Cincinnati, which is where Tiger Fitness headquarters is. It’s called, um, I think it’s called the Power Station, like old school, hardcore, like you, you need like a tetanus shot when you leave. But they had a ton of really unique exercises and one of ’em was a pendulum squat.
And I was like, holy shit. Like this is unique. And, um, Yeah. I was like, damn, this is awesome. So now since that time, whenever I’m traveling or something or I’m at a gym that has a pendulum squad, I always try to include it just cause it’s a unique movement and it feels pretty good.
Mike: Yeah. You get a, you get a full range of motion and I like it in that it’s kind of similar to a leg press.
Mm-hmm. In that you, you just, Push, push really hard, basically. And it’s not hard to, you have to, um, you have to work a little bit. I’ve, I’ve found to keep your back on the, uh, pad, pad, pad. And so, so you don’t get into like a weird kind of, uh, hyper extended type of, um, position. But that’s similar to the, the leg
Kyle: press, I’m gonna say.
Even on a leg press,
Mike: you need to gotta work a little bit to keep yourself locked into it. And so, which is, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s just, it’s, it’s a nice, it’s a nice follow up, I think, to a squat. Yep. I agree. Uh, what else do you have on, I think, um, oh, something else. Here’s one that I want to throw out to you that is, is kind of popular these days.
A Nordic ham string curl.
Kyle: Yeah, so they’re really popular now. But, but back in the day, I used to do ’em when,
Mike: I think it’s from social. I think it’s a social media. Social media. I’ve seen a lot of people
Kyle: doing them. Yeah. I, um, yeah, I used to do ’em, like when I was in college and stuff, it was really only, only athletes knew about ’em.
Like for the most part, uh, you know, a lot of track track athletes would do ’em sprinters and stuff, but I would do ’em if I was at a gym that didn’t have, um, like a glute ham raise, um, which is a, like a paring staple. So they’re not the same movement, but similar enough to where I would set it up to where I would have like a barbell holding my, my, uh, feet and stuff.
Now the problem with them is, and this is something else you can, you can see on social media, is most people just aren’t strong enough to do ’em. So they. Just end up doing ’em, but they look like shit. Yeah. Yep. You know, so I mean, they’re tough exercise, so a lot of times I, it’s tough if you wanna do ’em, I’d recommend like, you know, having something to hold onto, whether it’s like a, a broomstick or something or anything just to hold onto so you can brace against and just really focus on getting a good eccentric and then, you know, using a, well, even if you’re doing it on the floor, you can kinda use your hands to get back into position, um, when you get strong.
That’s what I
Mike: was doing. Yeah. I mean, you’re, when Covid kicked
Kyle: off, of course, I mean, being do it, but I mean, a lot of times you’ll have to use your hands or something, which is fine. It’s just if you’re gonna get way out of position on the, uh, concentric, you’re better off just, you know, giving yourself some assistance.
Mike: Yeah. Or if, if you’re not controlling the eccentric at all, that’s also not, not the point. Yeah. If you
Kyle: can’t control the eccentric, then there’s you, you’re probably not ready for ‘
Mike: em. Yeah. Yeah. I, I did, uh, I did quite a few sets of those when Covid kicked off because like you, I had some adjustable dumbbells.
I had some bands pullup bar that actually I, I couldn’t use cause it was messing up the, uh, I guess maybe the term is molding is messing up the doorway up. So I didn’t, yeah. I didn’t even have that. But, but in my, the house I was in, in the mechanical room, in the basement there was an exposed I-beam, so mm-hmm.
I just did pullups, uh, on my little fingertips. Yeah. But hey, actually it worked just fine. Awesome. Yeah. Um, and, and anyway, so I was doing a lot of, of these, um, these hamstring girls and it was hard. I mean, I, I, I was maybe exaggerating the eccentric a little bit. Just just cause like try, but by. By rep, maybe six or seven or eight.
I mean, it took everything. I, I had to just have a controlled Yep. Eccentric. And again, I, I came into it being fairly strong, so I was, I was surprised that, how difficult that was. Yeah. Yeah. They’re,
Kyle: they’re a great exercise. I mean, especially if you don’t have a lot of equipment, but you still want to get a good, uh, hamstring movement in.
They’re, they’re great to include.
Mike: Yep. Anything else on your list that we haven’t touched on? Yeah, I’m trying to think
Kyle: what else we, um, One that we haven’t touched on that’s a, uh, a kind of a dumbbell or barb or machine lift is a, uh, pull up pullover variations. So whether like a, a dumbbell pullover, barbell pullover, or, my favorite is a machine pullover.
But again, you gotta have, gotta have the equipment. Old school exercise. I mean, back in, back in like Arnold’s time, I remember looking at like the encyclopedia, modern body building. He had a lot of pictures of ’em. But the, the barbell and dumbbell, they seem to be probably more of a, a chest exercise, whereas the machine pullover is more of a, a back exercise.
But the reason I I throw them in is just because it’s a unique movement pattern. Like, you know, there’s not, you know, there’s not many ways to, to get that movement pattern in without doing pullover variations.
Mike: And if it’s a barbell or a dumbbell, you would program that I’m, I’m assuming more as a chest. I mean, I guess if you, it’s, it’s just the impact regardless.
Like, it, it, it’s gonna be volume for, for both. Mm-hmm. Uh, and the machine, which my gym has, and I actually, uh, I haven’t done it yet, but I’m gonna include it in my next training block because it’s been a long time since I, I went to this dingy gym, um, many years ago that had that and other things that you don’t normally see in gyms.
Mm-hmm. And this is one that I haven’t seen in a while, and I, I only noticed it like a month or two ago. I was like, oh, that’s, uh, uh, one of the most difficult LA isolation exercises you can do.
Kyle: It’s great. Yeah. They’re tough. That’s, that’s one I think, um, I think Dorian probably made that popular. Dorian Yates, he, he was big on those.
Mike: sense. Yep. He had a big glance. Exactly. A to B, it’s that simple. Yeah. Uh, but, but yeah, if, uh, if anybody listening, if your gym has, a lot of gyms don’t have mm-hmm. The machine, but if they do, um, then it’s, it’s definitely worth trying. If, if you wanna include it in, in some of your back volume. And then I haven’t done, I don’t know if I’ve ever done a dumbbell, or, sorry, barbell.
Pullover. I’ve done dumbbell pullovers and, um, I guess personally I just didn’t particularly like for, for chest, there were just so many other things like, you know, if I just want to even isolate Pex, I, I remember finding that just doing APEC deck machine just seemed to work better for me and, and I felt my, my chest working more on the pec deck machine than on the dumbbell pullover.
And then if I wanna do something for my back, there are many other better options. Yep. So, What are your thoughts on
Kyle: Yeah, the, the dumbbell pullover, just
Mike: kind of hybrid. I know some people really
Kyle: like it, but yeah, it’s kind of a hybrid exercise to where it’s, it’s definitely not, it’s definitely not as good as the, the machine pullover.
The machine pullover is awesome. The, the dumbbell version version, like I said, it’s more of a chess movement. I don’t love it for the same reasons you said, but in terms of. Underrated. Like it. I do throw it in once in a while. Really just like I said, cuz it’s a unique movement pattern. Yeah, it’s true. You know, because
Mike: some people will group that like with the, with the weighted side bend
Kyle: or something.
Yeah. Which is kind of why I bring it up where it’s like it shouldn’t be in that category, but it’s also not something that, if you looked at my yearly programming, you’re like, damn, you do dumbbell pullovers three quarters of the year. Now it’s maybe one quarter of the year, you know? Yeah, yeah. Like I said, really just cause it’s a unique movement pattern.
But yeah, isolation, if you’re gonna compare it to like a APEC deck, well, pec deck’s probably better if you’re gonna compare it to a dumbbell press. Well, dumbbell press is probably better, you know what I mean? Cable crossover. It’s probably rather do a cable crossover, but it’s a unique movement pattern.
Mike: Yeah, yeah. Fair point. Yep. Well, um, we’ve been going for a while now, I think. Uh, I think that’s pretty extensive. It wa was there anything else that,
Kyle: um, we didn’t touch on? Nothing really of note. I feel like we went through everything that, uh, I wanted to touch on. Awesome.
Mike: Well, I think this was, uh, this was a great discussion and, uh, why don’t we wrap up with where people can find you, find your work.
What are you working on specifically? Is there a book you want them to know about or anything else? Yeah. Well you
Kyle: guys, if you’d like this conversation, you can check out my podcast. It’s called The Absolute Strength Podcast. Mike’s been on it, what, three, four times now? Yeah. Um, yeah. You know, pretty similar.
We talk about the same stuff. We, uh, that’s, that’s probably why we enjoy being on each other’s podcasts cause it’s not too much of a Yeah. It’s always
Mike: fun to hear somebody else. Yeah. Even if, and, and, because there are always little things that Yep. Are different. It’s different when you explain than I explain and, yep.
Yeah. Yeah. Which is a reason for people listening at why you might wanna, if you haven’t checked out Kyle’s podcast, even if there, there’s, it’s not like everything is, is, uh, overlapped. There might be some overlap,
Kyle: but, well, when I say that, I think, you know, sometimes people think that, but it’s more so just the, the, um, I don’t like the, the way we present stuff.
It’s different concept, different topics, but similar enough to where if you like one, you’re probably gonna like the other.
Mike: True. Yeah. Agreed. Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.
And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have, uh, ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share, shoot me an email, mike muscle for life.com, muscle f o r life.com, and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.
I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.