Are you ready for some old school training exercises for the cage? These classic exercises are just what the doctor ordered to shake up you day and provide a new challenge to your body. Squat racks and power cages are fairly underused pieces of equipment in today’s modern gym. But their storied past have built many a great body and can do wonders for yours.
So step into the cage and let’s put some beef on those bones!
We are going to touch on some of the more underused exercises that a lot of people just don’t know about or use anymore. Most people know you can bench or squat in a rack or cage. In fact cages are a great way to build up strength safely with certain exercises. But that is another article.
High Pull – This exercise is great for building bigger traps and shoulders as well as a little biceps and forearm work. Ideally the form is a lot like doing a front row. But you start with your knees bent and use an exaggerated hip dip and push with your legs to start the bar moving with your traps and shoulders pulling hard to get the weight up. The finish position should have the bar at neck height while your legs are extended and you are up on your toes. The legs help drive the weight upward. In the cage the bars should be set at knee height.
Sumo Squats – You start out similar to a normal barbell squat but you place your feet slightly wider with your toes pointed out at 10 and 2 o’clock. You will squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground before exploding upward. The support bars in the cage should be set about an inch lower than your thighs at parallel. This one really works the adductors and glutes much more than a regular squat.
Bulgarian Split Squat – The cage is used for this one due to balance issues for most people. But this exercise will absolutely crush your quads and help teach better balance. Setup a bench at the back of the cage a full stride behind you. Setup like a normal squat but extend one leg back and rest your instep on top of the bench for balance. Keep your back flat and bend both knees as you go down until your front thigh is parallel to ground. Hold for a second and slowly rise back up. You can do reps one leg at a time or alternate.
Reverse Pushup – This exercise hits the upper back muscles in a way no other exercise can replicate. Set a bar about 3 to 4 feet above the ground on the rack. Lie underneath the rack and grab the bar in a normal overhand grip, shoulder width apart. Keep your body flat and straight and then pull your chest to the bar. Pause and then lower yourself slowly.
Bench Lockout – This exercise is specifically made for increasing your bench press power. Set up a bench and bar in the rack. The support bars should be set at about the halfway point on your bench motion. Starting from this point will replicate the portion of the bench that requires more shoulder and triceps with less chest muscle input. This way you can work on that triceps strength that often fails during the press. Lower the weight slowly and pause and hold as it touches the bars before exploding up.