Behold! Not one, not two, but a camel-load of only the finest, evidence-based training tips this side of Damascus.

  1. Don’t do behind-the-neck pulldowns. They’re more likely to irritate your shoulders, and they’re no more effective than front pulldowns.
  2. If the regular barbell squat irritates your back, try the sumo, front, or safety bar squat. They’re easier on the lower back.
  3. If lateral raises bother your shoulders, you may be lifting your arms too high. You should raise them until they’re parallel with the floor, but no further. Also, if your torso is swinging around, the weights are probably too heavy. To minimize body English, lighten the load, and squeeze your glutes hard with each rep.
  4. Train your calves with both bent- and straight-leg exercises. Straight-leg exercises (like the leg press calf raise) emphasize your gastrocnemius, and bent-leg exercises (like the seated calf raise) emphasize your soleus.
  5. If you tend to tip too far forward when you squat, try widening your stance. This can help you maintain a more upright posture.
  6. Unilateral exercises are slightly better than bilateral exercises at improving unilateral and bilateral jumping, agility, and speed, making unilateral exercises particularly useful for improving sports performance.
  7. Although bench pressing with a slightly narrower grip emphasizes your triceps, bench pressing with an extra-wide grip probably isn’t better for training your pecs than a medium-width grip.
  8. Regularly doing “glute activation exercises” such as side-lying clamshells, side-lying hip abduction, and quadruped fire hydrants can increase glute activation during squat exercises.
  9. Partial-range-of-motion exercises can help you build strength where you’re weakest in corresponding full-range-of-motion exercises and thereby improve overall training results. For example, if you struggle to lock out a deadlift, try the rack pull. If you grind through the last few inches of a bench or overhead press, use the pin press. If you find it difficult to get “out of the hole” in the squat, do the pin squat (or pause squat). 
  10. For a strength boost in any exercise, grip the barbell, dumbbell, or machine handles as hard as you can, clench your jaw muscles, and push your tongue into the roof of your mouth.

And if you like training tips like these and want an even more in-depth guide to how you should train to build your best body ever, check out my fitness books for men and women, Bigger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger.

(Or if you aren’t sure if Bigger Leaner Stronger or Thinner Leaner Stronger is right for you or if another strength training program might be a better fit for your circumstances and goals, take Legion Strength Training Quiz, and in less than a minute, you’ll know the perfect strength training program for you. Click here to check it out.)

+ Scientific References