Strength is a premium both in the gym and outside of it. That being said, the usual suspects like the squat, deadlift, clean-and-jerk and the like are critical to making strength gains. However, we all like variety.
Here are four unsuspecting ways to make huge strength gains:
1. Snatch Grip Deadlift
You may need straps to really dive into these, but the snatch grip deadlift is a massive strength builder, even beyond the obvious benefit to the snatch. Your upper-back strength and general trunk stability will improve dramatically.
2. Farmer’s Carry
First thing’s first, you should own farmer’s handles because the handles put the load over midfoot and are slightly raised when pulling off the floor. Theoretically, one can load the system, then lift more than his/her one-rep max deadlift, which might be worth the inclusion in and of itself. We talk about the “free deadlift” one gets to start each carry that sneakily adds strength volume to any routine, plus the loading of the carry is incredible not just for grip but also for trunk and rear chain building.
3. Paused Front Squats
A little pause in the action can remove elasticity in the lift and ask more of the torso to stay upright. The raw strength gains in the paused front squat will carry over beyond the front squat and clean, too. Watch your squat, deadlift, tire flip, overhead squat and more improve.
4. The Push-Up
Does it feel anticlimactic? Emotions aside, you can’t sleep on the push-up. Even strong, iron-loving men like John Welbourn and Louie Simmons praise the simple push-up as a key to real strength gains. Do max sets at different grips to support pressing work. It won’t be a waist of time.
Albeit simple, this list of exercises might be just enough to mix up your training and aid in your next PR.