If your ultimate goal is to pack on the most amount of muscle you possibly can, the exercises you choose to perform matter. Most of the old school movements fall in the category of exercises that allow you to maximize the most amount of tension. Not to say that some of the newer exercises won’t provide you with results, but the risk of injury are much higher and/or the effectiveness of overload is very limited. Muscles understand tension therefore choosing exercises that allow you to successfully progressively overload, will serve as the best options for you for gaining muscle. If you’re unfamiliar with progressive overload please refer to my article “Progressive Overload Is The Key To Continuous Progress In The Gym“.
Even though the chest is being contracted because the arms are horizontally adducted in frontal plane of the body, there are other isolation movements such as the the pec dec machine, cable flyes or dumbbell flyes that will allow for a greater way to progressively overload. I’ve perform this exercise in the past just to test it out and what I’ve discovered is that at some point you won’t be able to hold more than a 45lbs plate in your hands. The only way to continue to progress through this movements to stack weights above your body which creates the risk of weight falling on your chest if they happen to slide out of your hands. Very high risk for the reward in my opinion!
Alternating Lat Pull Downs
This is a popular exercise that a lot of individuals are performing in the gym. It allows for each lat to be isolated individual while using a bilateral attachment. Bilateral simply means both hands are needed to perform the movement. The problem I see with this exercise is that tension isn’t evenly distributed between each lat which can cause imbalances in the future. Instead I suggest used a single handle attachment versus a bar attachment to prevent imbalances and to help strengthen each lat individually.
Behind The Neck Shoulder Presses
I think we can all agree that shoulder health is extremely important. If you’ve been performing this exercises for some time and have the shoulder mobility to perform it great! But if you don’t and feel pain while performing it, I’d suggest you to stop immediately! This exercise puts the shoulders in a very vulnerable position which is why I’ll suggest to stay away from it. Instead performing the standard military press will be a safer choice being that the arms are in front of the body which is a natural range of motion for the shoulders.
Behind The Neck Pull Downs
Similar to the Behind The Neck Shoulder Press, this one also puts the shoulders in a vulnerable position. This pull down variation not only recruits the lats it’s also activates the mid back as well which is why I believe a lot of people lean towards it. But again as stated on the shoulder press, if the shoulder mobility is there carry on. But if its not, perform your standard lat pull down in the front of the body which is again a natural movement for the shoulders. Then you can perform a row movement to target the upper back mid back.
Glute Band Work
While I believe that bands have a place in time in everyone training, I also know that just because you feel a burn in a muscle doesn’t mean it’s the most optimal approach. If you want to maximize the most amount of muscle you can build for your glutes, exercise such hip thrust, deep squats, cable kickbacks & romanian deadlifts are better options because the higher chances to progressively get stronger with these movements. Now I’m not saying that using bands are bad because they have great benefits for untrained individuals or when combining them with weighted exercises. For example if you perform hip thrust with bands around your legs, the force from the bands will cause you continue to push your knees outward throughout the movement, which from experience, has help increase my muscle to mind connection with my glutes. But just doing band work alone won’t give you the same results as the exercises that I listed above. There’s always a better & more effective way!