I wanted to check in a couple different exercises/tweaks and the thoughts about them within the T-Nation community.
Planks - Along with Deadlifts and Squats, I am using planks to rack my core. I was wondering if it is better to go for longer time increments, say 3 minute holds, or to add weight to my planks by having some one place a plate on my mid back. Thoughts?
Shrugs - I have cut upright rows out of my shoulder days due to the overwhelming conclusion around here that they are the devil, and was wondering what the best substitute for them would be. I've started with smith machine shrugs with the bar behind my back but am game for anything. Thoughts?
Using Straps - I have been holding off using straps on back days as long as possible because of some rumors I've heard about straps, but I am pretty sure that to step up in weight I am going to need some help holding onto the damn bars. Thoughts?
Rows and Close Grip Pull Downs - On back days I do both rows and CG Pull downs along with 3 other exercises (WG Pull downs, Face Pulls, Body Weight Pull Ups 2 X Failure). Is doing rows and CG Pull downs overkill? Should I be subbing something else?
Any good advice would be great, and I might have some more questions to add later. Thanks in advance.