T Nation

Alternatives for The Big Movements

So we all know as fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders, powerlifters etc. that Squatting, Deadlifiting, Benching, Chin Ups and other big compound moves are essential for maximal growth, but we also know that in order to keep the gains a comin’ we have to vary our training and maybe take breaks from these movemenets and switch things around every so often which brings me to my question…what alternatives are there for all these exercises? We all know in the long term that you cant rival them but in the short term its important to leave them out on occasion.

I know of a few exercises which are good but its always good to find more!

just try different variations of them.

squatting- try olympic squats, parallel, box, jump, front, overhead, bands chains, etc…

deadlift- sumo, conventional, rack pulls, stand on plates, RDL, bands chains, good mornings too…

bench- db, bb, incline, decline, board, rack lockouts, bands, chains, dips, floor press, isometric holds, etc

chins- pronated, supinated, neutral grip, towel, 1 arm, chain contraptions(throw chain with D hook for 1 arm and use other arm on bar), behind neck, fat man

rows- BOR, single arm db, tbar, fat man, cable, different bars on row machine, plate rows, etc

moral of story- dont ditch these big compound exercises. i would never ever get rid of them, just try and vary them to keep things interesting and different motions. and do other things to work your weaknesses. good luck…

[quote]Davenegger wrote:
but we also know that in order to keep the gains a comin’ we have to vary our training and maybe take breaks from these movemenets and switch things around every so often ![/quote]

Not everyone believes that. Obviously you aren’t going to progress on a movement forever, but changing up just for the sake of changing up is something I’m not a fan of. Some leg movements(depending on experience level) you might gain on for a year. Take a 10 rep squat of 225 and turn it into a 365x10 squat over a year, if you are progressing why change? Now say you crap out on that 365x10 squat and can’t get it to move THEN let’s change some things.

Maybe take a hack squat and start at 4 plates a side and work up to 7 plates a side for 10. That craps out, well now let’s try front squats and start at 225x10 and go to 315x10, that craps out. Leg Presses 10 plates a side up to 15 plates a side. Hmm we are running out of quad movements now let’s go back to squats we might start at 405x10(you will be stronger than when you left them) and go to 495x10. If we had “switched it up” in the first few months and done hacks and leg presses and front squats we might still only be at a 315x10 squat.

Having said all that haha. Here’s what I consider some good movements

Chest(all with variations of grip and incline/decline angles)
Barbell benching
Smith Benching
Dumbbell Pressing
Wide Grip Dips
Hammer Strength Presses

Shoulders(standing seated wide grip close grip etc)
Barbell Overhead Pressing
HS Overhead Press
Dumbell Overhead Press
Upright Row

Triceps
Close Grip pressing
Reverse Grip Smith presses
Close grip dips
skull crushers
board presses/pin presses

Back
Chins/pullups
rack chins
Pulldowns(all handles and grips)
HS Pulldowns/High Row
Barbell rows(t bar yates etc etc)
Dumbbell Rows
Deadlifts
Rack Deadlifts
HS Dead lift

Biceps
Barbell Curls
Dumbbell Curls
Preacher Curls
Machine Curls

Hamstring
Lying Leg Curl
Seated Leg Curl
Sumo Leg Presses
Stiff Leg Deads

Quads
All the ones I listed above plus using the Smith if necessary for more movements

There are maybe 3-5 real good exercises per bodypart for each person, just get really strong on those and only stop using them if you plateau.