I’m a certified personal trainer and would like to give attention to three popular strength training exercises: incline bench press (chest), reverse or inverted row (back) and preacher curl (biceps).
Incline Bench Press Proper Form
The incline bench press works the chest and shoulder muscles. The lower the bench is set back (angle), the more the muscle fiber engagement shifts to the chest and away from the shoulders. So if you want a chest-dominant chest/shoulder exercise, a very inclined chest press will do the job.
Feet can remain on the floor or be off the floor just a bit. Hand position can vary slightly, but should not stray far from a medium width grip. If you want to get more triceps involved, a narrow hand placement will accomplish this.
A perfect medium width grip means that when the motion reaches the midpoint, there is a 90 degree angle formed by your lower and upper arms.
Before beginning the set, make sure that the bench seat is adjusted so that you’re at the right height in terms of comfortably removing the bar from the rack. If you’re not up high enough, you’ll be forced to reach back to grab the bar and again when you return it.
Reverse (Inverted) Rows: Increase Intensity
A reverse row is also known as an inverted row or modified pull-up. It’s when you’re underneath a bar, heels on the floor, and you grab the bar and pull yourself up, keeping your body perfectly straight, heels on floor.
The closer your body is to horizontal, at the beginning of the reverse row, the harder the exercise is. The goal is to get your chest right up to the bar.
If this has become easy, there are two ways to increase difficulty. The first is to prop the heels on a platform, like a small stool. Depending on the stool height, this will make your body horizontal in the start position.
If the stool is high enough, your body will be declined in the starting position (arms in a straight hang), meaning, head lower than feet.
However, you don’t want to eventually be practically upside-down in the starting position if reverse rows have become too easy. Use the second option: You can retain the horizontal or slightly declined position yet still add difficulty by wedging a dumbbell between your thighs.
Preacher Curl Form
Have a seat on the preacher curl equipment and begin curling. Several cheat moves are very common. One is to let your wrists flop limply as you raise the weight. Keep wrists neutral at all times.
Also, do not flex the wrists towards your forearms during the final stages of the movement. By keeping wrists neutral (no bending or flopping), you isolate the biceps.
Another cheat pattern is when people lift their butts off the seat as they lower the resistance. If you must do this, the weight is too heavy.
Another cheat habit is when people don’t lower their arms nearly all the way, but only half way instead. This is an incomplete rep and will not get you the desired results.
Final Thoughts on These Back, Chest and Biceps Exercises
If you’re already been doing the incline bench press, reverse row and preacher curl, see if you can’t make any of the above-mentioned adjustments to improve efficacy of these exercises.