Arnold Press

The Arnold press is a great twist on the typical overhead press. If you’re looking to increase bulk and size, this is definitely an exercise you should consider adding to your routine! 

The Arnold Press’s Famous Origins

If the name “Arnold press” sounds familiar, that’s because it’s actually named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, the famous bodybuilder, actor, and politician. 

This exercise is a variation on the overhead press. Invented by Schwarzenegger himself, the purpose of the exercise is to be a more effective way to build bulk and strengthen the shoulders. 

What Does The Arnold Press Actually Do? 

Sometimes referred to as an “Arnold dumbbell press”, this shoulder press variant that involves rotating the shoulders to increase shoulder stability.

The target muscles for this workout focus on the anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoids, making for a highly-focused exercise. 

Getting Yourself Prepared For The Arnold Press

To get ready for the Arnold press: 

  1. Make sure that you have the right equipment. This includes two dumbbells, and in some cases a weight bench for support. 
  2. Keep your weightlifting level in mind before trying the exercise. Start with lighter weights, and work your way up as you build strength. 
  3. If you’re using a weight bench, make sure you’re seated and that your back is supported. 

Tackling The Exercise

Ready to start? 

  1. Once seated, grab the dumbbells with your palms facing in. Be sure to bend your knees. 
  2. Gently bring the dumbbells to a resting position on your knees. 
  3. Push the knees up to bring the dumbbells to your chest level. Once here, rotate your palms so they face your body. 
  4. Slowly raise the dumbbells up. While doing so, rotate your palms until they’re fully facing forward. 
  5. Keep the dumbbells pressed up until your arms are fully extended. 
  6. Remain in this position for a count of a few seconds, then lower the weights towards your chest. Remember to repeat the rotating motion. 
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 for your desired number of repetitions. 

How The Arnold Press Can Help

Shoulder strength and bulk are just two of the benefits of this unique exercise. 

The Arnold press can help with posture as well as strengthening upper arm and back muscles that might be otherwise overlooked during your exercise routine. 

Ways To Switch Up The Arnold Press During Your Workout

A variant in and of itself, the Arnold press is also great in that there are ways to change the exercise for different workouts. 

  • Try a standing Arnold press to help improve stability, as well as strengthen your back muscles. 
  • If you don’t want to try the rotation, go for a dumbbell overhead press. The process of this is much the same, although this exercise omits the rotation of the standard Arnold press. 

Gain Muscle With The Arnold Press

The variations of this exercise make it accessible for both beginners and more advanced weightlifters. 

If you’re looking to work on your bodybuilding, or even if you’re just trying to add an extra level to your strength-training, the Arnold press is a great way to do so!

Insanity

Insanity is an exercise program designed by Shaun T., a fitness trainer and motivator, that is one of the most strenuous workouts on the market today.

The workout is a 60-day program that includes 10 different workouts that you work through during the duration of the program. Insanity does not need a gym or equipment because it is a video-run program that is done in the comfort of your own home. 

Created with a Purpose

Carl Daikeler and Jon Congdon founded a fitness company called Beachbody in 1998. The California-based company specializes in home-exercise videos. One popular fitness program they have released is P90X. The businessmen approached Shaun T., a well-known fitness expert, and asked him to design a workout for Beachbody. Shaun accepted, and the Insanity program was launched in 2009 and was advertised as “the hardest workout put on DVD.”

An Actually Insane Workout

Insanity proved very quickly that it was worthy of its name. It’s based on a workout technique called max interval training, which is basically HIIT on steroids. Max interval training takes the high-intensity interval training formula and makes it, well, insane. For the training, you workout as vigorously as you can for 3 minutes, follow the workout with 30 seconds of rest, and then you repeat the two steps however many times you’re supposed to.

The Insanity program is made to be a 60-day program that is supposed to be done 6 days a week. The program has 10 workouts all ranging between 30 and 60 minutes long. Each week, your workout schedule will change. There are 5 total body workouts in the first month. Then, in between the first and second months, you do a week of daily cardio and balance exercises to recover. The second month is much more extreme and introduces 4 new “max-level” workouts

See some of the Insanity workout here:

Insanity’s Benefits (and its Risks)

The Insanity program has many benefits, but, because it is such a supercharged, hyperintense workout, it has real risks as well.

Some benefits of Insanity are:

  • It’s a great way to lose weight and improve the condition of the body.
  • It is a home-exercise program that is very easy to understand and perform.
  • Fitness lovers will obsess over the intensity and challenge the program presents.
  • It doesn’t need any extra equipment.
  • Because you are working at home with a video, you can always take breaks when you need to and work at your own pace.
  • The program is easily kept track of with a calendar.
  • It comes with a diet plan that provides information about how you should eat to support your body through the entire program.

As you can see, there are many great qualities of the Insanity program. However, the program can easily cause injury to bodies that are not properly conditioned and trained. It is not recommended for people who do not already have a solid fitness level, exercise regularly, and are willing to put in hard work. Do not attempt the Insanity workout if you have heart problems, are overweight, have diabetes, or have metabolic issues. This workout is not for the weak-willed; commitment and discipline are absolutely necessary.

The Verdict

Insanity is a workout program that is only suitable for people who are already in great shape physically. It should not be bought by a novice exerciser who wants a quick way to lose weight. If your body is not properly prepared to handle the rigorous exercise in Insanity, you can seriously injure yourself.

Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a very physically demanding sport that covers a range of disciplines and is used in both conditioning and competition.

It features systematic exercises that are often assisted by rings, bars, and other equipment. Gymnastics is an all-encompassing sport that requires training in many physical abilities and encourages the development of many beneficial mental traits.

It Came from the Greeks

Gymnastics was first introduced by the ancient Greeks. The ancient civilization is known for being in great physical shape because they valued physical fitness very highly. Both Greek men and women used gymnastic exercises to develop their bodies into vessels of strength and endurance. When Rome conquered Greece, it took gymnastics (which, until then, had only been a form of body conditioning) and turned it into a sport. Roman generals made their soldiers train using vigorous gymnastic exercises. As the Roman civilization fell, people lost interest in gymnastics. The only echo of gymnastics left after the fall of Rome was tumbling, which was used for entertainment.

The Rise of Modern Gymnastics

Johann Bernhard Basedow began combining physical exercises with other activities at his school in 1774. This was the first step toward gymnastic evolution. In the late 1700s, Germany’s Friedrich Ludwig Jahn introduced the side bar, the horizontal bar, the parallel bars, the balance beam, and jumping events. These were innovations that became so crucial to the sport of gymnastics that Jahn is considered the “father of modern gymnastics.” Germany continued to produce gymnastic innovations, like different methods of the sport and more apparatus for the sport to use.

Gymnastics Today

After centuries of evolution, gymnastics today is a well-oiled machine with set rules and expectations of its gymnasts and 6 different categories, with 4 that are featured in the Olympic Games and 2 that are featured in the Junior Olympic Program

The 6 gymnastic categories are:

  • Women’s Artistic Gymnastics – This is the most mainstream form of gymnastics. Its events include both individual and team versions of Vault, Uneven Parallel Bars, Balance Beam, and Floor Exercise.
  • Men’s Artistic Gymnastics – In this category, men compete individually and on teams in the following events: Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, and High Bar. 
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics – This category is female only and includes individual and team events with Rope, Hoop, Ball, Clubs, and Ribbon.
  • Trampoline – This is the most recent gymnastic category added to the Olympics. Both men and women can participate in the events, which are single routines on double mini trampolines and synchronized routines with a partner.
  • Power Tumbling – This category is only available in the Junior Olympic program and it consists of performing tumbling passes that follow a series of 8 elements.
  • Acrobatic Gymnastics – This form of gymnastics is also only available in the Junior Olympic Program and it consists of teams of 2-4 people (all one gender and mixed genders allowed) that perform things like handstands, holds, and balances on each other. There is no equipment involved because the gymnasts are the equipment.

See gymnasts training on the balance beam here:

Gymnastics: The Super Sport

It is no secret that gymnastics is an incredibly physically demanding sport. It requires balance, agility, endurance, strength, coordination, and flexibility. It utilizes the muscle groups of the shoulders, arms, back, chest, legs, and abdomen. It develops courage, alertness, self-confidence, precision, and self-discipline. Gymnastics is a sport that encourages growth in skill, fitness, and brainpower.

The Verdict

While gymnastics is not easy, it is still a sport that can be learned and perfected by many people. There is an unspoken requirement of a moderate level of fitness before starting to train in gymnastics. It is a graceful and elegant sport that requires commitment.

Extend

Most exercise routines cater to people that are without physical limitations, but what about people with limitations who want to be active?

While some exercise programs are able to be adapted to accommodate physical limitations, Extend is an exercise program that was specifically created to give everyone a chance to stay active. This unique and benevolent program adapts to the needs and preferences of its participants instead of expecting its participants to adapt to the program.

The Beginning of Extend

Extend was introduced in 1976 and has since become the United Kingdom’s leading fitness training provider. In order to provide their services to the elderly and disabled, they have focused on providing top-notch training to their fitness personnel, ensuring that they are properly educated and qualified. Currently, over 25,000 older and disabled people participate in Extend classes.

What Does Extend Offer?

Extend offers exercise to the people that traditional exercise forgot. Elderly people and people with physical limitations are provided the chance to participate in low-impact, gentle exercises while socializing with others, making true emotionally supportive connections. In fact, the Extend classes are so inclusive that members suffering from illness or injury are still able to attend their classes even though they cannot participate. 

Extend is more than just an exercise program. It is a registered charity and a truly altruistic company. Their classes are designed to service all levels of affordability and physical abilities. Furthermore, Extend classes are meant to promote the well-being of both the body and the mind.

See an Extend class here:

What are Some Benefits of Extend?

Extend classes offer both seated and standing exercises with fun, energizing music and lots of engagement. This gives all members the chance to participate depending on their comfort levels. A supportive environment is only one benefit of Extend. There are many others.

  • Lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes
  • Helps to lessen and manage back pain and pain associated with arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Lowers high blood pressure
  • Improves muscle strength and tone
  • Increases your ability to continue doing everyday activities
  • Improves cognitive abilities like memory, focus, and reasoning
  • Gives a sense of well-being and increases self-esteem
  • Fosters healthy friendships

Seeing the benefits of Extend classes is surprising because they don’t seem to be intense enough to burn any calories, right? That mindset couldn’t be more wrong. An exercise does not need to be high-energy, high-intensity, and high-diffculty to be effective. Sure, those exercises may yield quicker results, but low-impact, gentle exercises increase a person’s fitness as well. After all, you just need to get your blood pumping faster than normal to start working on your aerobic fitness and cardiovascular health.

Becoming an Extend Teacher

If learning about such an inspirational and compassionate exercise program makes you want to be a part of it, you can easily become an Extend teacher. The training is offered online and consists of different sets of training modules that you can study at your own pace. The modules are accompanied by quizzes, worksheets, and other materials and assignments to create a blended learning program that offers complete education. Extend works with the Vocational Training Charitable Trust to ensure a legitimate qualification through accreditation. 

The Verdict

Extend is, quite possibly, one of the most considerate and openly encouraging fitness innovations you will ever encounter. While the classes are meant for people with physical limitations, you can still be part of this incredibly well-meaning project by becoming a teacher of Extend classes. Fitness should not be limited to only those that can do traditional exercise, and this program is changing the game.

Crouching Tiger Push Up

If you want to get in touch with your inner ninja, the Crouching Tiger Push Up will tame even the trickiest of upper-body muscles.

For those who have added yoga to their fitness routine, the Crouching Tiger Push Up, also called the Hindu Push Up, may seem familiar. Some of its steps come from the surya namaskar and downward dog poses. A Bruce Lee favorite, the Crouching Tiger Push Up comes from traditional Indian wrestling and martial art styles.

This step-by-step guide may not get you the eye of the tiger, but adding this exercise to your workout repertoire will certainly give you the strength of one!

The Low-Down on Push Ups

Since this is an advanced technique, you may not be able to jump right in. To prepare, make sure to master the standard push up first. The Crouching Tiger Push Up is the perfect way to target your core and lower back in addition to your triceps, deltoids and trapezius. But if you haven’t already reached a certain level in these areas, the Crouching Tiger Push Up may not just be difficult; it could also lead to muscle injury or strain. So, make sure you consult an expert before getting into it yourself to make sure you’re ready, and that your technique is on point.

Pouncing Practice

  1. Start in the standard push-up position. Make sure your hands are placed a couple inches wider than the shoulder, and that your neck and back are in a straight line. Finally, tighten your core. You’re now in the starting position.
  2. Lower yourself until your chest almost hits the floor, then bend the knees to bring them up directly beneath your waist.
  3. Straightening the legs, push your backside up until your body forms a ‘v’ shape — this is where downward dog should look familiar, if you’re a yoga fan.
  4. Finally, you’ll roll your spine in a wave to move back into the starting position. 

For a better look at how it’s done, check out this video: 

A Better Build

The most obvious benefit of the Crouching Tiger Push Up and related exercises to your workout is the increased upper body strength. As discussed above, your core, lower back, and triceps, deltoids and trapezius, will all benefit. But, done right, this technique will also engage your hamstrings, glutes, and quads, for a true full-body workout. As an added bonus, the Crouching Tiger Push Up will not only build muscle; mobility and flexibility will also benefit.

Transforming Technique

For some, this exercise may be too difficult, or may irritate existing issues with the back and spine. But don’t let it disappoint you too much; there’s at least one variant that might make things easier. As you’re shifting into the downward dog position, you can let your knees rest on the ground to support you through the move.

On the other hand, for fitness enthusiasts who like to push their body to the limit the Crouching Tiger Push Up may be too easy. In that case, there are variants to turn up the heat. For example, you might alternate with other push up exercises such as the dive bomb pushup:

  1. Push back from your plank into the downward dog position.
  2. Slowly lower your head to the floor. Roll the back so that your face and front side run parallel to the floor. 
  3. Finish the rep by doing the same thing backwards, ending in the downward dog pose.

Crouching Tiger, Downward Dog

The Crouching Tiger Push Up earns its stripes for difficulty. While it may not be suited for the novice athlete, any aspiring martial artist or fitness guru will love this move for its targeted technique and full-body burn.