If anyone is still reading at this site after an article bashing the almighty bench press was posted here, then allow me to reiterate that the bench press isn’t a bad exercise in and of itself. It’s just not an exercise that should be the focus of one’s balanced fitness plan, as it’s better as a compliment to one. As a matter of fact, it makes sense that some form of bench pressing probably should be part of your routine if you’re trying to have a balanced physique.
The focus of such pressing would be best suited in the form of dumbbells as the arc the dumbbell travels is a more natural movement that what a barbell affords. There is of course the arguable benefit of the superior hormonal response due to the fact that the barbell press can be a heavy compound movement.
Just remember to have an equal rowing component to your chest press training in order to truly keep things balanced. Now that we’re friends again I hope, let’s move on to another exercise you don’t need to do, the barbell biceps curl. Or any biceps curl for that matter.
As far as having a functionally strong biceps muscle is concerned, the only real practical use for it would be grabbing someone by the shirt and pulling them towards you. This may be a very valuable skill if you ply your trade as a street fighter or mob enforcer. The only profession that you could legally have a use for such a skill I guess would be as a fourth line, fringe hockey player trying to make a name for himself. I said himself because I have yet to see two female hockey players try to pummel each other into submission.
Of course having bulging biceps are definitely a sight to behold as far as aesthetics are concerned. They definitely let the public at large know that you spend a lot of time in the gym if you’re packing a set of well developed guns.
As far as a functional movement is concerned though, there are much better options at your disposal to develop those arms into impressive proportions and at the same time work on some bigger muscles as well as your core. Here’s a great biceps building routine that develops your lats, traps, rhomboids, serratus and abs. I’m referring of course to pull ups and pull up variations.
Pull ups, chin ups, hands parallel pull ups, wide grip, hands together, one overhand one under hand grip, and on and on the very long list goes. The closer the grip, the more you’re focusing on the biceps and the connecting muscles. No matter what grip you use, you’ll be engaging a lot more muscle groups than you would be just doing curls.
If you can manage to keep your torso vertical and your spine neutral during the ascending and descending portion of each rep, then you’re going to get an incredible abdominal workout as well. The reason I said if you can manage, is because this is really hard to do. You’ll probably not get as many reps as you normally would when you apply this method as you’ve likely been swinging somewhat to generate momentum.
When performing pull ups and chin ups you’re not just working your biceps but everything else above your waist including your chest. If you really focus on pulling with your biceps you’ll get an incredible amount of contraction in the muscles of the upper arm as well.
A lot of training splits work the back and biceps in the same session. Instead of pulldowns for your lats and curls for your biceps, why not do pull ups and chin ups for both at the same time? You’re going to save time doing your back and bi’s this way, but you definitely won’t save energy as the pull up and chin up are both very taxing exercises. Chin ups are also known as the upper body squat, as in the best overall mass builder for your upper half.
If building a great biceps peak is at the top of your priorities because you’re a competitive bodybuilder or fitness model, then sticking with all of those arm isolation exercises is probably going to serve you well. If you’re looking for an athletic, all around physique that is highly functional, then I urge you to try your next arm training day hanging from a chin up bar. You never know when you’ll need that functional strength that you’ll be building, not to mention all that new muscle.
Another installment of exercises you don’t need to do will be coming soon and the exercise that will next be put under the microscope is the all too popular…lunge.