I was inspired to write this piece by Seth Spanner who inquired as to what I considered to be a a good weighted dip. I went on to state that in my opinion, anyone who can dip with 50% or more of their body weight for reps is an impressive feat. The person responded by saying that he weighs 170lbs, and uses an additional 170lbs for sets of 5 reps! His next response though, is what led me to pen this article. He stated, “I do get some strange looks from people when I do them sometimes, but it doesn’t bother me… ”
The key phrase here is this; “I get strange looks from people”. It’s a sign (and usually a damn good one), you’re doing something RIGHT. In my mind, it’s very simple: If you want results – you absolutely need to be doing something different than the masses, something unorthodox. Take a look around; most people follow “conventional” training programs. Most people also realize very little progress from month to month, and year to year.
You absolutely MUST avoid becoming “most people”. In order to break free, I feel you should be doing at least one thing during every workout that gives people pause, perhaps even causing other gym members concern. I’m 100% serious about this, because employing the unorthodox invariably leads to breaking free – and getting to Gainsville.
Here are 4 gems then, to incorporate into your workouts. Each exercise has been carefully chosen to up your game, reaching into untapped areas that most people don’t even know exist. Exercises that’ll quickly remove you, from the “most people” crowd…
Exercise #1: Headstands
Shoot for standing on your head for a minute or more, either against a wall or without it. This exercise teaches advanced balance and total body coordination no weight movement can duplicate. The act of stabilizing yourself upside down hones the vestibular system of your inner ear – causing it to adapt and become much more efficient.
The practical effect is a heightened sense of equilibrium and proprioceptor efficiency in every lift you perform, whether you’re upside down or not.
Exercise #2: The Neck Harness
Conjuring up visions of Hannible Lechter, this is a favorite. As long ago as 1926, the legendary George F. Jowett wrote; “If I want to find out how much physical force a man possesses, I look at his neck. That never fails to answer my question. In both man and beast, the neck has always been the best indicator of concentrated nerve power..”
Jowett was one of the first to realize an important truth: Training the neck stimulates the flow of nerve force throughout the ENTIRE body. It can and does radically increase the strength of every other muscle group, as well as benefiting your internal organs and other bodily functions.
Go slow with this one, warming up thoroughly and adding weight slowly. The best part? The neck responds quickly to training, and grows fast. It takes but 2 sessions/week (consider a heavy/light schedule) and it’s not uncommon to add an inch or more to your neck in a month’s time.
Exercise #3: Gorilla Pushups
These are pushups with your feet placed high up on a wall. So named because performed regularly, they’ll build the power and strength of an adult male gorilla. Close grip gorilla pushups work the triceps like no other, a wider grip conveying more of an effect on the shoulders and upper chest.
Exercise # 4: Century Bodyweight Squats
100 consecutive reps of butt to Achilles tendon squats, standing back up by rocking onto the balls of your feet and – without locking out at the top. In other words, constant tension on the muscles. It’s as much a test of will as it is pure muscular power. The perfect compliment to heavy barbell squats, they give you incredible wind and stamina, jump start your metabolism and ramp up fat burning to an incredible degree. In short order, your legs will take on a fuller, more vascular appearance and the teardrop muscle so woefully developed in most, all of a sudden becomes very prominent.
Begin with a set of just 20 reps and add just 5 reps every workout. You’ll get there, and the progression is rapid in most. Once you’re able to achieve this feat, few gym members will be able to match you. In the words of strength training legend Brooks Kubick,
“You should start doing them NOW, and you should continue to do them for the rest of your life. They are that good and that important… ”
Consider incorporating just one of these moves during your next workout, and work hard to become proficient in it. Like Seth, you’ll know you’re on the right track by the weird looks you’re getting…