Vary Your Lifts to Gain Strength and Train Injury Free
No matter how effective an exercise is, overuse can keep you from gaining strength and muscle mass
Worse, even great lifts like chin-ups can lead to pathologies similar to repetitive pattern conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. One mistake I often see when applying the most bang for your exercise principle is that trainees only do the ones where they can use the highest loads possible. Strength is great, but variety will keep you progressing and allow you to train injury free.
In other words, they lift only to impress people at the gym, and only in lifts they excel at. For example, they will do only back squats but won’t do front squats. They will do close parallel chin-ups but never do subscapularis pull-ups and so on…
They are the same individuals that will only incline barbell press if the bench angle is set at 45 degree or less, for fear of not appearing strong to their fellow lifters. So what! If your bench is set 62 degrees, it is the recruitment of new motor units that counts. If you understand the concept of structural balance, you will not be afraid to train lifts which you are poor at.
One time at the Arnold Classic, I was having dinner with multiple time word powerlifting champion Ed Coan. I commented on the fact that he had made an impressive jump in his bench press performance. When asked what he attributed it to, he replied that he had brought up his press behind neck. He felt that his “weakness” in the anterior delts was inhibiting performance growth in the bench press. If improving on a weakness brings up a strength in a (VERY) advanced trainee, everyone should try it
Besides gaining muscle mass and strength faster while using variations of the basics, you will also be able to train injury free as your strength levels will be balanced.
Stay strong and healthy,
Coach Charles R. Poliquin