There is an exercise for upper-body development that blows almost every other out of the water. By learning this exercise, you will be able to make progress much quicker than you could have ever dreamed.
If you continue trying to get strong without this exercise, then you will never reach your full potential, and any progress that you do make will be much slower.
When it comes to practical, functional strength, this is probably the single best exercise for it.
It will make your grip like an iron vise, it will makes your arms and forearms round and full, and it will make your shoulders and back an impressive sight.
The exercise I am talking about is Brachiation.
Why Your Current Upper-Body Exercises Suck
If you go into a modern gym, you will see miles and miles of people working on their upper bodies.
When a man decides that he needs to “work-out” and get strong, he is almost always thinking about building a strong upper-body. The most popular of these are probably the bench press and the bicep curl.
As you probably could have guessed, I don’t favor either of those exercises.
They build the muscles in unnatural ways, they put too much stress on the joints, they ultimately lead to injuries, and they build an unnatural, deformed body.
A lot of fitness trainers will say that push-ups are a better exercise for the upper body, and I would agree with them.
Even more sophisticated trainers will extol the virtues of the pull-up.
Now we are really getting somewhere. There is a good reason that pull-ups are so effective for building upper-body strength: they are totally natural.
One of the things our shoulders, hands, and arms are designed to do is to pull ourselves up onto a tree-branch.
We Are Apes
Although many people like to blind themselves to this truth, it is true nonetheless.
So what if we are apes, anyways? Apes are cool.
But it’s their loss anyways, because the people who deny that we are apes will never be able to understand how and why our shoulder-girdle evolved and what it is designed to do.
The front-limbs of humans are rather unique among mammals, but they aren’t very unique among the great apes. Most animals, of course, are quadrupeds.
Our forelimbs are flexible enough to be able to reach above our head, and our opposable thumbs make it possible to wrap our hand around and strongly grip a tree branch or vine.
What is Brachiation?
Brachiation is just the fancy, scientific term for swinging from one tree branch to another. It is something that apes do all the time.
More importantly, it is something that our bodies are designed to do as well.
There is a reason that we are bipeds, folks.
The reason that our shoulder girdle is so flexible and has such a large range of motion is because our ancestors had to learn to use their forelimbs to navigate trees.
Why This is So Important
You might think that is just doesn’t matter if our ape ancestors millions of years ago used their arms and shoulders to swing from the trees.
You might think that doing bench presses, military presses, and forearm curls are far more effective at building strong shoulders and arms.
However, you would be wrong.
See, because our body is designed to do certain movements, like running, swimming, or swinging from tree branches, it responds extremely well and extremely fast to those types of movements.
When you brachiate, a deep wisdom within your genes “knows” exactly what to do and which muscles to build to make you strong.
The wisdom of your body has seen this before, it knows this game, and it knows exactly what to do.
When you do something like bicep curls, this isn’t the case.
Your body doesn’t know what bicep curls are. It has to learn. It has to make sacrifices and concessions in order to make your biceps strong enough to repeat such an unnatural movement.
How to Take Advantage of this Knowledge
Whether or not you are convinced that brachiation is a better way to exercise your upper-body compared to modern methods, hopefully you at least understand the logic.
The question now is how to put this into practice. What exercises can you do to build the upper body physique of Tarzan?
Here are a few of them:
The classic. This mimics pulling yourself up onto a tree branch or a high rock. You probably already know this one, so I won’t go into detail here. If you’re already doing them, do more.
If you’re not doing pull-ups, why not? Integrate them into your life today.
2. Climbing Pegs
Not everyone has access to this piece of equipment, but if you are a member of a gym, or have access to a high school, college, or military gymnasium, then you can probably find one of these.
Wrestlers have used this apparatus for many years to build explosive upper-body strength.
3. Rope Climbing
Most people hate rope climbing. “It’s so hard!” they say.
Yes, the reason that this is hard is because you are weak.
In order to not be so weak, you should master rope climbing.
In ancient greece, rope climbing was considered one of the pre-eminent methods for building a powerful, beautiful physique.
When you first begin, you can use your feet to assist you.
If you don’t have access to a gym with a rope, there are many opportunities to climb a rope if you are creative. You can tie one to the rafters of your garage or basement, or to a tree outside. Use your imagination.
4. Monkey Bars
These are my absolute favorite. They are fun, and they mimic swinging from tree branch to tree branch like no other exercise in existence.
No extensive explanation should be necessary here. You can probably think of half a dozen places around town where there are monkey bars to swing from.
Do This Now
When I tell you that this is practically a “secret” upper-body exercise for humans, I don’t want you to take my word it.
Instead, I want you to do this right now:
Walk or run to the nearest park with a set of monkey bars, and just try to get from one side to another.
If you haven’t swung from the monkey bars since you were a kid, then this might be pretty difficult.
If you can get to the other side, then turn around and do it again.
Take breaks as needed, but keep going until your muscles are worn out.
In all probability, your grip will go first. Your grip has to support your entire bodyweight with only one hand.
Then see how you feel the next few days. You will know whether you benefited and whether this is an exercise you should include regularly.
Let me know in the comments below if you have ever exercised in this way, and how your body responded.