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The Student News Site of West Boca Raton High School

The West Boca Bullseye

The Student News Site of West Boca Raton High School

The West Boca Bullseye

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Top 3 Most Underrated Gym Exercises

Top+3+Most+Underrated+Gym+Exercises

No gym exercise is inherently good or bad at targeting specific muscle groups while you train. However, there are some that take the cake in terms of allowing your muscle mass to skyrocket and reach full potential. As someone who takes pride in constantly obtaining more knowledge about kinesthetic movements and the gym, I have devised three of what I believe to be the most underrated exercises. 

  • Preacher curls

Preacher Curls: Benefits, Muscles Worked, and More - Inspire US

Preacher curls are an excellent exercise to grow the volume of the bicep muscles. This specific movement isolates the biceps, eliminating the usage of momentum to execute each rep. The upper part of the arms remain stabilized, eliminating swinging but enforcing strict form.

Preacher curls of any variation specifically target the biceps and the brachialis, which separate into both a long head and a short head in the upper arm. Due to the 45° angle of the preacher bench pad, the upper arms are placed in a heightened position, putting the shoulder joint into flexion and allowing the long head to be fully extended. The stability of this movement allows the muscles to be under constant tension in the eccentric, or lengthening, phase of movement. 

There are a variety of preacher curl variations that can yield positive results. A couple examples include Zottman preacher curls and Hammer preacher curls. Zottman curls, a personal favorite of mine, involve using a rotating grip that moves from an underhand position during the lifting phase to an overhand position during the eccentric phase. This variation can only be done with dumbbells, rather than the typical EZ bar used in traditional preacher curls. Hammer preacher curls, on the other hand, use a neutral position of the wrist throughout the movement. The dumbbell in this variation is held in an upright position, allowing for a stronger grip. Due to the restriction in rotational movement of the wrists, there will be a reduced strain on the elbow/shoulder joints.

Preacher curls can be done either seated or standing, depending on the preference of the person executing them. I find that preacher curls prove to be one of the most effective exercises for bicep growth. Whether done with a normal-to-wide grip or a narrow grip, preacher curls are guaranteed to give outstanding results for bicep growth.

  • Heel-elevated goblet squats

Elevated goblet squats are a great accessory lift to incorporate into a leg day. An often overlooked exercise, elevated goblet squats will absolutely destroy the quadricep muscles and help grow massive quads. Like any squat variation, goblet squats engage multiple muscle groups, including the quads, glutes, hamstrings, core, and upper back. 

In this particular movement, four muscles that make up the quads will become engaged: the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, and vastus medialis. Of these four muscles, the vastus medialis, located on the innermost part of the thigh, is the most engaged. Although most emphasis is placed on the quadricep muscles, the hamstrings are still involved to a lesser extent. The three hamstring muscles involved are the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. These muscles allow the knees to flex and the hips to extend. The gluteus maximus enables the extension of the hips, working hand-in-hand with the hamstrings. While this exercise does not specifically target the muscles necessary for glute growth, it does prove to be slightly beneficial for engaging the gluteus maximus. Finally, bracing the core/midsection is a vital part of the execution of goblet squats. Engaging the rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis, and erector spinae is necessary in order to support the spine and execute the movement with complete stability.

To do this exercise, begin by placing a plate or two on the floor, below the heels. Stand upright with the heels raised and balls of the feet on the floor. Hold a dumbbell of substantial weight just below the chin. Bend the knees, moving into a deep squat position, then return back to the initial position. 

Upon proper execution, goblet squats are a great addition to leg day.

  • Pec Flys

Machine Chest Fly Standards for Men and Women (lb) - Strength Level

Pec flys, or chest flys, are often overlooked in favor of more popular chest exercises like bench presses or push-ups. However, they are a highly effective and underrated exercise that can provide unique benefits to your chest development.

One key advantage of pec flys is their ability to target the chest muscles from a different angle compared to compound exercises like bench presses. While bench presses primarily engage the entire chest, pec flys isolate the pectoral muscles, allowing for a more focused and intense workout. This isolation can be beneficial for individuals looking to enhance the definition and shape of their chest.

Additionally, pec flys contribute to a well-rounded chest workout routine by emphasizing the stretching and contracting of the chest muscles. The fly motion, where your arms move outward against resistance, effectively stretches the chest muscles, promoting flexibility and range of motion. This dynamic movement helps activate muscle fibers that might not be fully engaged during other chest exercises.

Furthermore, pec flys can be particularly advantageous for individuals with shoulder issues or those seeking a variation to reduce strain on the shoulder joints. The controlled nature of the fly movement minimizes stress on the shoulders, making it a safer alternative for those with pre-existing conditions.

Incorporating pec flys into your chest workout routine can lead to improved muscle balance and symmetry. By targeting specific areas of the chest, you can address potential muscle imbalances and enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your chest development.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Eberhardt, Reporter
Hi! My name is Olivia Eberhardt. I am a Senior at West Boca High School, and this is my second year on The Bullseye. My favorite things to write about are pop culture events and fitness. I am on the Girls’ Weightlifting team, and one of my favorite things is going to the gym. I was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and have lived in Florida for about nine years now. In the future, I hope to go to college and major in Political Science, as well as go to law school. I can’t wait for the year ahead!
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