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trying to cut out unneeded exercises

Sorry if these questions are a bit noobish but I did searches for the answers and I either couldn’t find them or they contradicted eachother. I’m trying to make a new strength training program sticking to basic compound lifts for martial arts so I’m not really worried about looks.

  1. goodmorings & stiff leg deadlifts. What’s the difference between them? They seem like the same type of move. These are going to be my main move for the hamstrings. Is one better than the other for them? What about the gastroc or soleus? They feel like they work them a little.

  2. calves. Do straight leg calve raises work the soleus or do I need to do bent leg calve raises also?

  3. pec fly. Do they hit anything DB presses don’t hit? I stopped doing them for a few months and the area where my pec meets my delt got a bit smaller (or i’m seeing things) but I tried them again last week at was able to add a lot more weight.

  4. pullups & chinups. How would these be for my only bi work? Also am I imagining that they work my chest a little?

  5. external arm rotator. Do these need to be targeted seperatly or does anything else hit them?

Thanks in advance.

  1. Good mornings and SLDLs will both work the hams, glutes, and erector spinae. You’ll get more upper back involvement with the latter, though. As far as which one is better, it depends on your goals and training status. Calves may be involved, depending on whether or not you plantarflex.

  2. While straight leg calve raises work predominantly the gastroc, the soleus is still active during the movement (whereas the gastroc is actively insufficient during a seated calf raise). If you’re only doing one, choose straight leg.

  3. Nope. Just do your presses if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck.

  4. Pullups and chinups are fine for your only elbow flexor work; many individuals have made outstanding progress without direct arm work.

  5. I would still incorporate external rotations. They’ll get hit to some degree during cleans, but I’d still use them as a separate entity.

Hope this helps.

I think the best bet for a newbie is to pick one of the full body T-mag programs and just do it. You can learn about the “why’s” of it as you go along and catch up on the previous issues. Until then, the pre-written programs will take care of everything. I suggest OVT. Brutal, but effective.

How does one plantar flex during a stiff legged deadlifts or good mornings. Your foot is neutral.

You got some great answers from Eric.
I’d like to ask what type of martial art you’re training for? If it’s a grappling art, your training style should differ from that of a striking art. For example, I’d advise more elbow flexor work for a grappling art than a striking.
TEK, maybe I’m being naive, but wouldn’t OVT be a little much for a newbie?


I’m not sure I understand your question. In practice, a stiff legged (not straight legged) deadlift is essentially a regular deadlift with less knee flexion at the beginning (and thus less knee extension throughout the movement). While knee extension is minimal, it is still occurring. We all know that the plantarflexors become active during the concentric portion of the squat; it’s the same with the deadlift, albeit to a lesser extent.

Plus, one can perform deadlifts with plantarflexion. Alessi has used the Snatch Grip DL + Shrug + Calf Raise movement in a few of his programs.

Again, this all is based on the premise that one is doing stiff, and not straight legged deadlifts.

1.)Try Romanian DLs. It’s like a straight leg DL, but you do not round the back. Push the hips back to initiate the move and stop when the back is flat.

3.)When training for MA, horizontal pressing (bench press) should be a supplement to overhead pressing movements like military press or handstand pushups. Dips are also great. Pec flies suck.

4.)Pull-ups and chinups are awesome exercises. Work these hard and with added weight and you won’t need extra bicep movements.

5.)Good exercise.

That being said, deadlifts, overhead presses, squats, pullups/chins, dips, and all different types of bodyweight movements should be the foundation of your strength training.

Good luck,