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Popular exercises are popular because they are able to generate results for those that perform them. In this video, I’m going to show you how to make 5 of the most common exercises you are doing even better with just a few simple changes. You will be able to start getting better results from your pullups, tricep pushdowns, lunges, bulgarian split squats and dips starting today.
The key to the effectiveness of these exercise suggestions is that in no way will making these changes compromise the effectiveness of the original movement. What good is making a substitution or doing an exercise differently if all it does is take away the ability of that move to help you build muscle. Here, I am only showing you things that will be consistent with the intention of the exercise in the first place but help you to add more muscle building effectiveness in the process.
We start with the chest dip. This chest exercise is one we do to build our chests without needing much equipment. In fact, this can be a home chest movement that you can use a counter top for if you do not have a dip bar. The key is to look at what is happening at the top of the dip and take advantage of what you can be doing to increase your chest mass (as well as hit your abs) while there. Instead of just going up and down in a normal dip, stop at the top and lift your pelvis directly up towards the ceiling. This will engage the serratus and abs and make the chest have to work even longer to maintain its contraction. In the long run, this will be a more effective version of a dip without taking away the benefits the classic version provides for your chest.
Next is the tricep pushdown exercise. The big problem with this move is that the line of force (the cable) does not remain perpendicular to the forearm throughout the movement. It starts in that position but quickly loses its effectiveness as you move towards a complete contraction at the end of the rep. You can ensure that you keep it there however by doing the rocking tricep pushdown shown here. This will keep the cable perpendicular to the forearm at the beginning and more importantly, at the end of the rep, and help you to get better gains because of it.
Next is the Bulgarian Split Squat. This leg exercise is already one of the better leg movements but it can be made better if you take away the balance component and not let it undercut your ability to perform the move with heavier weight. This can be a great leg developer but if your balance is making you use light weights because you can’t stay upright without them, then you are missing a chance to get more from the exercise. Use a hand to hold yourself up and you instantly eliminate this concern and can start getting more from the move.
The pullup is a great upper body exercise that you likely didn’t think you could improve, but you can. Add a twist at the bottom of every rep and pull your body up in the direction of the twisting pelvis. This creates a stretch reflex on the lats and allows you to pull with more strength on every rep. It is not hard or complicated to do. It just requires a quick turn and then initiate the pullup. Give this a try and you will see better results from your efforts.
Finally, the lunge is an exercise that can be rather hard on your knees if you have some pain in them. The Sprinter Reverse combo lets you get the best out of the exercise while hitting the anterior and posterior chain at the same time. Watch how it is done and even if you don’t have knee pain, be sure to give this a try if you want an alternative to the classic lunge that can help you build better legs.
All of these exercise substitutions are meant to help you get more out of the classic exercises you are already doing in your workouts. Try a few of them and see just how much more you can be getting from them by making just a few changes. If you want to start training like an athlete and see better results from all your workout, head to and get one of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs.
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