By Jeremey DuVall, M.S., CPT Men’s Fitness
Doing the same old exercises time and time again in the gym can lead to a plateau…not to mention it gets really boring. Modifying exercises every 3-4 weeks keeps your workouts fresh and ensures that you’re constantly seeing progress. However, too much change can be a bad thing. Constantly changing exercises every workout can prevent your body from ever adapting to a stimulus and halt any progress. The key is finding the right balance to maximize your program.
Ideally, the modification or alternative exercise will still work the same type of motion or movement pattern but in a slightly different manner. This will ensure that your body still gains strength in a certain move, but the exercise is different enough to spur huge gains.
Each week, look for a new exercise alternative to spice up your favorites, prevent boredom, and mix up your routine to avoid plateaus. This week, we’ll switch out your old school barbell bench press.
The Old: Bench Press
The New: Dumbbell Squeeze Press
How To Do It: Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. With a neutral grip (palms facing in), press the dumbbells in front of your chest. Once your arms are fully extending, push the inside part of the dumbbells together. Lower both dumbbells to your chest then press back up always squeezing the dumbbells together throughout the entire move.
The Difference: The traditional bench press with an overhand grip can present some problems to guys with inflexible shoulders. Take a break from bench pressing and switch to dumbbells with a neutral grip to ease the strain. Squeezing the dumbbells together as you are pressing adds another element to the typical chest press by combining elements of a dumbbell fly. The result: bigger stimulus and bigger results.