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     Fitness Tips For 11/2/2011

The Best Bodybuilding Exercise

Have You Been Ignoring It? 

by Nelson Montana

There's an ongoing debate among exercise physiologists regarding the
superiority of one exercise over another. Of course, there are so 
many variables that it's impossible to say with any certainty if 
the pulldown beats out the horizontal row. More often than not, it's
the effort one puts into an exercise which will determine its 
efficacy. Almost any exercise for a particular bodypart will yield 
results if performed with enough intensity. However, when examining 
the anabolic effects of an exercise - that's a different story.

Most experienced bodybuilders, trainers and strength coaches agree
that the squat is a tremendously anabolic movement. There's an old 
expression; "If you want your arms to get bigger - squat!" The 
reasoning behind this statement is due to the overall size promoting 
qualities of a movement which induces extreme stress. Whenever the 
body is forced to recruit many muscles (as opposed to an exercise 
which "isolates" one muscle), it releases a surge of increased 
anabolism. The squat accomplishes this quite nicely. 

The merit of the squat notwithstanding, it has its limitations. 
Although the entire body is put under stress during the lift, the 
squat doesn't directly work the major muscles of the upper body. If 
you want to get bigger, squatting is a must, but if you're looking 
for a movement as the main exercise in  developing an impressive 
physique, it falls a little short.

If one were to choose a single exercise which would accomplish all 
of the anabolic benefits of the squat, yet effectively work every 
muscle in the body, it would undoubtedly be the clean and press.

More than any other movement, the clean and press works virtually 
every muscle of the body - top to bottom. It may be the optimum 
exercise for developing functional strength due to the fact it 
utilizes an explosive contraction as well as concentric control and
static holding. It's also the only compound movement which 
incorporates both pushing and pulling. In other words, it's every 
muscle building principle wrapped into a single exercise.

No doubt about it. The clean and press is a must if you're serious 
about developing your body to its fullest.   

Now that we've established the merit of the clean and press, let's 
outline its proper technique. 

Caution: This movement requires balance and extraordinary motor 
skills. It also has a high incidence for injury if improperly 
executed. If you've never before attempted the clean and press, start
with a weight light enough to handle easily in order to get a feel 
for the movement. If possible, have an appropriately qualified 
instructor help demonstrate the lift as well as supervise and spot 
you along the way.  

Start by grasping a loaded barbell with an overhand grip and the 
hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Keep your heels down, 
your but low and your back as upright as possible.

In one swift motion, straighten the legs and jack the bar upward to
your shoulders until the palms are facing forward. This portion of 
the lift works the legs (mainly the hamstrings and glutes), the lower
lumbar regions, the rhomboids, the anterior delts, the traps, the 
biceps and the forearms. It even brings the calves into play since 
they become the "anchor." Not bad for a single move, eh?

Once the bar is positioned at the shoulders, press it overhead. It's
okay to cheat a little by hoisting with your legs but be sure not to
bend too far backward in order to gain leverage. This portion of the 
lift hits the anterior and medial delts, the upper pectoral and most 
specifically, the triceps.

Lower the weight back to the shoulders and return the barbell to the 
starting position, again keeping the back straight while bending the 

Repeat for 4 -6 reps. 

It should be noted that if you're coming off  a layoff, the clean and
press is  an ideal choice for "waking up" the entire system. It's 
also perfect for times when time is of the essence. A few sets of 
cleans and presses along with some specified isolation moves can 
provide a total body workout in under 20 minutes. Naturally, this 
isn't recommended on a long term basis, but it's certainly preferable
to missing a workout. 

Even if you're an advanced trainee, don't discount the advantages of
adding the clean and press to your routine. You may even want to make
it the sole exercise of your workout on occasion. In doing so, you 
can count on your poundages going up on all the major lifts. And as 
you know, lifting heavier weights adds up to more muscle! 

The clean and press may be a neglected exercise but when it comes to
developing strength, size and overall power, it may be the very best 
bodybuilding exercise there is. Isn't it time you added it to your 

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The Best Bodybuilding Exercise

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