I got the idea for this thread from my search for more variety in my training.
Reverse grip Front squat
I would like to think I invented these, but that’s probably not the case.
I always wanted to front squat but just couldn’t hold the barbell properly with neither the bodybuilding nor the Olympic lifting style. My shoulders always gave up or the barbell would kill my throat - or my wrists would get annihilated.
So I stopped trying.
I only back squatted and deadlifted for my legs. Then I discovered Zercher squats, which I think are excellent. But I still wanted more variation, at least 3 good exercises for each important movement pattern. So I tried Sissy squats, but my ass got in the way. I finally got back to trying front squats again. I retried the bodybuilding and Olympic lifting styles - and failed again. Then it hit me. I experimented with doing the same thing I had done with bench presses for variety, used a reverse grip.
The reverse grip allowed me to easily keep my arms in place so that my torso position wouldn’t be altered. I do this by taking a reverse grip so that my hands touch each other, so it’s a very narrow grip. Then I just raise my arms to parallel level, although even this is not completely necessary.
I hope this will help those who have, like me, had problems with their front squats because of either shoulder fatigue, wrist problems or having a hard time not getting choked by the barbell. I also think reverse grip is gentler for body because there isn’t as much pressure on shoulders or bones because your hands are between the barbell and your body.
Even this style can still be hard for your wrists but for me it is not a problem. Before this modification I hated front squats and they were awkward for me. Now I absolutely love them as they are one of my favorite lifts. In addition, I’m very strong in these compared to my back squat.
Barbell between the legs deadlift (I can’t remember the real name)
You do these by keeping the barbell in the same position as you would normally do but step over it with one of your legs. I think this lift is a valid variation of a deadlift because the movement pattern is close enough to the original movement and you can use heavy weight but still get variation to your training.
One arm barbell lifting
I got the idea for these from Jamie Lewis, a bad motherfucker who has an awesome blog: chaosandpain.blogspot.com. He likes to do one arm deadlifts and one arm overhead presses just like the old time strong men.
I like to do clean and jerks with one arm. I do these on a separate “fun training day”.
These require a lot of balance and develop forearms greatly because you have to crush the barbell hard to prevent it from swinging. It’s a total body lift and also helps to develop enormous intermuscular coordination. My PR is 50 kg (110 pounds) with each arm but I will often fail with lighter weight because this lift takes so much skill to master. I can only military press 60 kg (135 pounds) so I was pretty impressed when I got these up. The world record is 122 kg (270 pounds).
One arm snatches and overhead squats are also funny and I do these if I’m bored (or mostly during the “fun training day”).
One arm barbell curls are a lot of fun to do for a change of pace. I’m pretty weak so I can only do two reps with each hand with a 20 kg (44-pound-barbell). I keep my elbow on my stomach so it is a bit like mimicking Scott curls. I tried 66 pounds and got it up by cheating. I still curled the end of the range of motion so the tension on my bicep was high.
Mixed grip barbell curls are also fun to do. I don’t really think curls are going to make my biceps big, but I think they are fun. I do weighted chin-ups for biceps mass and strength.
Not only are one arm barbell lifts pretty effective for strength and mass, they will also make you look like a lunatic (especially if you’re laughing even when you fail with one arm jerks and almost get crushed by the barbell - like once happened to me). Personally, I like that people think I’m crazy. It’s refreshing. If you don’t want to look like a madman in the gym and you care about other people’s opinions, then maybe you shouldn’t do these.
I hope you guys find these helpful or at least entertaining. For you should enjoy yourself in the gym. If you lose motivation, do something crazy to regain interest. I would also like to hear if some of you would have some other crazy, yet effective, lifts to share with the rest of us.