The standing dumbbell press is a fairly simple exercise but unless you have good stability in your core and range overhead then it is an easy one to do wrong. Make sure you are able to keep a strong and neutral spine while lifting overhead, avoiding any leaning back or compensations for poor overhead mobility. If you are able to keep your core stable throughout then the standing dumbbell overhead press is great addition to your routine for overhead strength and to building muscle in the shoulders and triceps.
The Bent over rear fly is a simple movement and will help develop a strong upper back, balanced shoulders and keep those shoulder blade muscles moving well. It is a very simple movement to do and will help you develop good control of the scapula which is the foundation for any movement through the shoulder. If you struggle to keep position then use an incline bench to lie on until you become comfortable.
The Dumbbell press from the low split position is a progression of the half kneeling dumbbell press. You have 1 less point of contact as the back knee is now just off the ground making it harder to stabilise. Once you are comfortable with the half kneeling variation, you are ready to take on the low split to make it harder. It will force you to work harder to stabilise and keep tension through the core. It is also very useful as a foundational exercise for working on the split jerk and improving stability in the catch. Like the Half Kneeling DB Press, the DB press from Low Split is great for setting you up to do the overhead press well. It will highlight any compensation in the lower back to make up for poor overhead range.
The inverted row should be a staple in any gym routine. It is essentially the exact opposite of a pressup and works the upper back and arms pretty hard while you maintain a nice rigid body position. Like any exercise that involves lifting your bodyweight, the inverted row has quite a decent level of strength required before you can even do one, let alone use it to get stronger. There are variations though normally involving suspension straps but equally can be performed on the set up showing. These normally have your feet on the ground and can have knees bent so that you are at less of an angle rather than the parallel version shown. It is very simple to perform and brings some much needed balance to your routine to go along with all the pressing. It helps strengthen the upper back and postural muscles which are often overstretched and neglected.
Everyone knows what a pressup is and most likely there has been a time in your life where you could bash them out or where working towards one. They can be pretty effective up to a point when you are starting strength training and there are a few ways that you can both make them easier or harder depending on your current ability.
The hanging knee raise is a great exercise for not only working the abs and bracing but integrating the active hang and pullup strength. You better have a decent level of upper body strength as you will be required to hang from a pullup bar just to be able to do this exercise. If you can hang, you should be able to do some good work through your core but your strength will dictate how controlled and how many you can do.
The Good Morning is a hip hinge movement and is very similar to the Romanian Deadlift in terms of execution. The only difference is where the weight is loaded and thus how it challenges the muscles involved. A well-executed good morning relies on a good hinge pattern. It can be inherently risking due to the forward lean and placement of the weight on the back so it is important to take this into consideration before planning it within your routine.
The seated row is a useful machine as it allows you to focus on the muscles of the upper back and arms with more isolation than other forms of row. Other rowing variations tend to rely heavily on the core, spinal erectors and legs to keep you in a stable position to pull from which can sometimes hamper and limit the work out the muscles you are trying to work can get. The seated row allows you to brace against the chest pad while sitting tall so that you can place the focus firmly on the bigger upper back pulling muscles and those of the arms.
The Squat Jump is a great exercise for power development but this is the first one that I’d classify as intermediate to advanced. It is really only appropriate if you are training for sports or athletic performance as your primary outcome. More advanced athletes looking to develop power and particular how fast they can develop power will find the loaded squat jump a very useful tool. You must make sure that you have a strong squatting pattern and sounds jumping and landing mechanics before even considering loaded jumps like these as the forces start to multiple putting you at a higher risk if you are not in control.
The chin-up is the ultimate upper body pulling exercise. It requires a lot of strength to do though as unlike most other resistance exercises, we can’t change the load – we weigh what we weigh! It works the muscles of the upper back and the arms while the whole body has to work on keeping tight and maintain tension so that it can be transferred from the working muscles.
Allan Young is a Glasgow based Personal Training who runs Strength Coach Glasgow and is a 4x Scottish Champion Olympic Weightlifter.