Gone, but not forgotten.
In our current day and age, a common train of thought is that newer is always better. In a fast-moving world of science and technology, 1 year is a decade, and 50 years is an ice age. But even though smith machines and state of the art ellipticals are definitely great tools in our arsenal. There’s something to be said about old school creativity.
Pioneers of yesteryear had to find a way to look superhuman by very simple means, and even fewer resources. Those old school bodybuilder and strongman exercises have seemed to have fallen out of view and out desire to have the latest smart technology has clouded our judgement. We can’t blame ourselves. Fitness tech is a booming industry and if it gets more people to work out then let’s keep thinking of these new ideas.
But for those of us looking to stick to the basics and get back to those golden era physiques, it is time to revive some of these lost exercises. Let’s take a look at 3 lost exercises from the golden era that certainly helped build muscle, create monster aesthetics, and guarantee a top spot on the podium.
3 Lost Exercises From The Golden Era
These three exercises are great for putting in your routine. You can still play around with all your machines and smart stuff, but a few of these basic exercises can enhance growth and give you a physique you want to see most.
1. Pinch Grip Deadlift
Created by 1950’s Mr. Olympia winner Steve Reeves, this is the exercise he credits to widening his already wood barrel chest. The pinch grip deadlift is a great way to incorporate back, legs, and grip strength into your arsenal. Essentially, this lift is performing the deadlift but instead of holding the barbell, like normal, you hold the plates to perform the movement.
What you will find with this movement is full body engagement with a target on your upper back while also increasing range of motion, hip mobility, and your overall deadlift form.
How To: Place plates at each end of the barbell and grasp the rim of the plates. Bend at the knees, lowering the hips, and when ready, pull the weight until you stand up straight. After a short pause, return the weight to the ground by bending at the waist and knees.
2. The Spider Curls
The first ever Mr. Olympia Larry Scott loved this exercise because it helped him to further develop already big biceps as spider curls improve inside and outside of the biceps. A great isolation exercise, this will work your biceps and forearms to really increase strength and size. This is also a great exercise to perform at the end of your workouts when your muscles have hit a little fatigue and you wish to challenge them further.
What you will find with spider curls are an increase in muscle growth and better range of motion to build as much muscle as possible. Also, as an isolation exercise, these work to build symmetry to even out strength and size and aid in your overall physique.
How To: Lay on a bench at around 45-degrees with your stomach pressed on the back rest. With a dumbbell in each hand, curl the weight towards your shoulders and give a good squeeze at the top. Lower back to the starting position in a controlled motion and repeat.
3. The Double Barbell Press
One barbell isn’t enough. This exercise was first thought of by two-time Mr. Universe Reg Parker. Famous for experimenting with balance and technique, Parker developed an exercise that develops the shoulders, triceps, and pecs while improving balance and concentration at the same time.
What you will find aside from strength and muscle growth are balance and concentration, as mentioned above, as well as stability, really working to stabilize a load and use proper technique to engrain that movement into your memory.
How To: Lay with your back on a flat bench. Place your feet about shoulder width apart. Get two spotters to hand you both barbells at the same time. Press both barbells straight up in the air without losing form. If you perform this exercise improperly or with too much weight, you have a great chance of injury due to wide range of weight distribution. Start off slow and concentrate on perfect form.
Why Try New Exercises
Trying new exercises is important because your body does get used to the same movements every now and again. That is why pros will switch up their routines. If you continue to do the same exercises, without increasing in weight at that, you will find that you plateau more often and growth is severely stunted.
A training plateau is when your training stalls and there isn’t much progress to be made. Eventually your muscles get used to the same movements and you won’t see that progress you want most. To avoid training plateaus, you can perform accessory work like drop sets and supersets, both of which can really challenge your muscles and give you the best chance at growth. However, looking to those old school pros to see how they did it will also eliminate any fear of a plateau occurring.
Giving these old school exercises a try will allow you to experiment with those golden era movements that once produced champions while also allowing your body the ability to try something new to challenge your muscles. So, while sticking to the same thing is comfortable, the only way to see real gains is to be uncomfortable.
There you have it. Three exercises you’re not doing that the golden era champions of bodybuilding gave you for free. Take advantage of their blood, sweat, and tears by adding these to your arsenal and step on stage with a modern yet classic physique. You won’t be disappointed with the results and you will see serious gains.
*Images courtesy of Envato