Sure, biceps curls are appealing. They do help you get bigger arms. But it’s hard to retain enthusiasm for the gun-growing move when it appears in your workout schedule for the 1,001st time. Instead, you may want to swap it for, say, the reverse-grip bent-over row, which will help you to build T-shirt filling biceps while also sculpting a broad back and a core that will be more resistant to injuries. You see, the moves on this list aren’t just for show – they all offer compelling reasons to be added to your gym toolkit, whether that’s developing stronger glutes for better structural integrity, enhancing shoulder stability for unrivalled praessing power, or opening up your hips and thoracic spine for perfect posture.
Single-arm barbell press
Why This lift will really help to develop your shoulder stability because all the small muscles of the shoulder joint have to work extra hard to control the weight, which keeps shifting because of the length of the bar.
How Hold an Olympic bar (which weighs 20kg) in the middle with one hand. Position it on one shoulder, then press it directly overhead, aiming to make its path as vertical as possible. Any lateral deviation will make it harder to control the weight. Lower slowly under control and repeat. Do an even number of reps on each side.
Glute bridge kettlebell chest press
Why You might not think that your glutes come into play when you’re performing a bench press, but engaging these key muscles gives you a stable base from which to press a heavy weight. Pressing the weights alternately will develop your ability to resist being pulled out of alignment.
How Position yourself with your shoulders on a Bosu ball holding a kettlebell at each shoulder. Perform a glute bridge by contracting your glutes and pushing your hips upwards. Press one kettlebell up and then, as you start to lower it, press the other kettlebell. Repeat that pattern, pressing the weights alternately.
Snatch-grip overhead press
Why This variation of the overhead press emphasises the middle shoulders and traps, both of which are key to giving you a muscular appearance.
How Take a double shoulder-width grip on an Olympic bar and position it on the front of your shoulders. Press the bar directly overhead, ensuring that your elbows are directly below the bar to help you press it up efficiently. Lower under control and repeat.
Barbell overhead lunge
Why Performing a lunge while holding a bar overhead will force you to maintain an upright torso, which prevents you from bending forwards through your thoracic spine. This will be beneficial when it comes to doing heavy squats and deadlifts.
How Take a narrow grip on an Olympic bar, then press it overhead. From there, take a big step forwards and simultaneously bend both knees until they are bent at 90°. Ensure that your front knee is over your front foot and your back knee skims the floor. Press through your front foot to return to the start, then repeat the move on the other side.
Reverse-grip bent-over row
Why Switching your grip in the bent-over row will bring your biceps into play. You may find that you can lift slightly less weight than on the conventional version, but you should still aim to maintain perfect form.
How Take an overhand shoulder-width grip on a barbell and hinge forwards at the hips. Bend your elbows, keeping them tight to your sides, and pull the bar up to your bellybutton. Imagine you’re trying to squeeze an orange between your shoulder blades. Then return the bar to the start.