10 best exercises on blocks for muscle growth
Crossover and cable trainers give the variability necessary for better muscle development. These exercises have everything you need, and even a little more.
Author: Bill Geiger
Why move away from the concept of free weights, alpha and omega-strength training, and put on the table exercises tied on ropes? Well, besides the fact that the fall of 20 kg of pancake per leg can cause infernal pain, there are other weighty reasons to expand training horizons.
Unlike free weights, which always pull down the gravity vector, the cables can pull in all directions: up and down, forward and backward. Such variability opens the door to an entirely new world of more effective muscle development.
Bending with the EZ-handle in the crossover in the standing position is slightly different from the bending standing with the EZ-bar. The reduction of hands on an incline bench in a crossover recruits the muscles of the upper chest somewhat differently than the mixing of dumbbells on an inclined bench. Raising your hands in front of you on the block is also slightly different from lifting dumbbells in front of you.
With such a variety of movements, you can get more incentives for muscle growth, especially if you have not performed any of these exercises before.
Let's look at the 10 exercises in the cable simulators and talk about why they should be part of your training program.
1. Thrust on lower block (horizontal thrust)
Why in the list: the thrust of the lower block is not in vain considered to be one of the main exercises of back training. Multi-joint exercises like this involve more muscle groups and allow you to work with more weight. Unlike single-joint movements, they signal to the body that it's time to strengthen the secretion of growth hormone and testosterone, which is equivalent to more effective muscle development. In addition, in this exercise you can use different types of grip – narrow, wide, direct and reverse, which makes it possible to work out a muscle group in one exercise in many different ways.
In training: put horizontal traction closer to the end of your back training. The first half of the training session should consist of deadlifts, traction in the slope and / or traction of the T-bar, and then you can already go to the exercises in the cable simulators. To increase the amplitude of the motion, try making traction on the lower block with one hand.
2. Thrust of lower block to chin
Why in the list: on the day of training the shoulders, the pull of the lower block to the chin gives an excellent opportunity to target the middle deltas, especially if you use a wide grip. You can slightly increase the weight while performing the exercise while standing, because in this position it is possible to connect the auxiliary muscles. Or you can strengthen the insulation by pulling the chin in the horizontal plane: lying on the floor in front of the block, or sitting in the simulator for pulling the bottom block. Use a handle with rotating knobs to once again not load hands.
In training: put a pull to the chin after heavy pressures above your head and before moving to single-joint movements for the middle deltas. If you want to finish off the middle deltas, you can make this exercise final and use drop-sets.
Why in the list: the thrust of the upper block causes the whole body to work in a vertical plane, while in conventional drafts (dumbbells or barbells) you tend to pull the projectile perpendicular to the trunk. Again, do not be afraid to experiment – attach different handles to the block and use different types of grip.
In training: Some people like to use the thrust of the upper block to warm up the shoulder joints, because this movement is very large in amplitude. But there are other ways to include traction on the top block in your training program. Unlike pull-ups, here you can easily increase the load by rearranging the pin in the cargo stack, and thereby add a few heavy approaches to the beginning of the back training.
Or, after a warm-up, you can start more heavy exercises with free weights, and then finish off the muscles with the upper block traction at the end of the workout.
4. Flexions on the biceps on the bottom block
Why in the list: there are a lot of ways to diversify flexion on the biceps on the day of training the hands, but this one is our favorite because it allows you to add new variations of the exercise by changing the position of the body relative to the block or by changing the height of the block itself. If you have had shoulder injuries, you can do bendings on the biceps with one hand – so you will get the maximum freedom of movement in the joint for all biceps exercises.
In training: The flexion on the biceps on the bottom block is especially good when you start to reduce the relative intensity of the workout. Here you can put a lot of weight, but be careful, do not connect the cheating to raise the block as fatigue accumulates. If you start using the cheating in a single-joint movement, your body will begin to flex, and this will increase the risk of injury.
Why in the list: as well as the reduction of hands on the bench, the option in the crossover is a great one-joint movement for the chest, because you can easily change the strength and direction of resistance. Set the unit as high as possible, and you will get the perfect exercise for the lower chest. Lock the block at the lowest point and make scooping movements to work the top tufts, or use any of the intermediate positions. To get even more options, adjust the trajectory and change the point at which the hands meet.
In training: the crossover in the crossover is usually performed last or the penultimate in training, unless you use pre-fatigue. If you include two single-joint exercises in the training of the chest, try to do so that they study the pectoral muscles from different angles.
6. Trichet for the shoulders (lifting the arms to the sides, forward and in the slope)
Why in the list: you know the principle of "two for the price of one"? So, here you get "three for the price of one." Cable trainers are very good when it comes to isolating exercises for deltas. In this triset you can aim at each head of the deltoid muscle, even without releasing the handle. Do hand lifts to the sides and raise hands in the sides in the slope, and then – lifting hands in front of him or one hand, or two hands at once. The combination of movements in the triset will provoke the most powerful pumping of deltoid muscles.
In training: usually you put one-joint exercises for deltas at the end of the training session, but within the limits of the triset the choice is yours. Change the order of its components, so that all the heads of the deltoid muscle receive the same load.
Why in the list: In contrast to twists with your own weight, twists on the block allow you to change the resistance and train with any number of repetitions, based on priority goals. Moreover, it is possible to perform this exercise either standing or on the knees to shift the focus to the upper section of the press. And you can focus on the oblique abdominal muscles: for this, turn to the block sideways and do twists with one hand.
In training: do these twists first or second in the training press to make the exercise extremely heavy and get the maximum dividends. You can also reduce weight and make more repetitions, but in this case, it is best to move the twists on the block to the end of the workout.
8. Extensions on the triceps block
Why in the list: exercise is good because it allows you to shift the focus to the long head of the triceps, and to take the starting position is easier than when working with dumbbells or EZ-bar. You can add variability by performing extensions to the triceps from behind the head in a standing position or on your knees. Both variants of the exercise can be done with one hand.
In training: if in the training of the triceps you follow the classical paradigm "first multi-joint exercises", this movement can be done after the base at any time. Most likely, you will want to perform this exercise for a long head before movements with light weight, such as extension at the top block with back grip or tilt extension.
Why in the list: perhaps you think that training the rotator cuff of the shoulder is a waste of time, but this has nothing to do with the truth. This conglomerate of muscles and tendons works in unison with the deltoid muscles and provides stability to the shoulder joints. And since the shoulder is a spherical joint, stability allows it to function safely in all planes.
Problems begin when you pay too much attention to the deltas and do nothing for the rotator cuff. When this happens, you create an imbalance between the muscle groups, which leads to problems with the health of the shoulders. If you want to rotate the shoulder inside / out with dumbbells instead of ropes, do not perform the exercise standing; Instead, lie on the bench on the side so that the direction of the gravity vector relative to the trunk is the same as in the crossover thrust direction.
In training: on the warm-up working weight should be very easy, in the approach there should be 15 repetitions, and they need to be carried out according to all the rules of technology!
10. Thrust of the lower block between the legs
Why in the list: not many of the best leg exercises can be moved to a crossover, but this is one of them. The thrust of the lower block between the legs is very similar to the Romanian stanovaya pull, which works through the back muscle chain, which includes the gluteal muscles, the upper sections of the hamstrings and the lower back.
Biomechanics movement is slightly different, because the cable passes between you legs, but the main rule remains unchanged: keep your back straight! Minimize any traction from the shoulders. The movement should be guided by the hips, you can add a slight bending in the knees.
In training: exercise will be an excellent addition to the bending of the legs, since in flexion the movement occurs in the knee joints. If you train the muscles of the back surface together with large muscle massifs, such as quadriceps, first do these multi-joint squats and exercises with extensions in the hip and knee joints, and then proceed to single-piece movements.