Bear Pushups

These aren’t just your ordinary pushups. Named for more than just the body’s movements in the exercise, these pushups can shred your upper body and give you the strength of a bear.

What Does That Mean

Also known as anti-crawling pushups, bear pushups are essentially decline pushups on parallel surfaces.

This is accomplished through specific shaping of the body in the bear pose, hence the name. They somewhat look like the athlete is about to start crawling, but never moves the legs.

Modern or Ancient?

Although there is some evidence tracing pushup-style exercises all the way back to the ancient era, most fitness gurus and historians believe that the pushup first came into popularity in the early 1900s

That’s the time when the term “pushup” was first used and pushups then became much more widely incorporated into exercise regimens from beginners to the military to bodybuilders (although bodybuilding didn’t take off until much later).


The bear pushup provides similar benefits to the incline bench press. That is to say that the primary targeted muscle groups are the pecs and the triceps followed closely by the anterior deltoids (the front of your shoulders).

While the bear pushup doesn’t provide as much benefit to the pecs as an incline press, the benefits to the triceps are increased and other benefits are also spread out among the abs, the forearms, and even to some extent the legs (primarily the calves) since the body relies on them for support in the bear position.

How to Do It

Prepare for this exercise by making sure that your clothes fit tightly enough to wear they will drag or get caught on the ground or hinder your range of motion. You will also want to be on a mat, maybe even an elevated platform that allows you to grip the “curb” or the edge of the platform.

Keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your legs supported by your toes firmly planted into the ground. Extend your arms directly out in front of your chest. Your arms should be perpendicular to the ground when fully extended and your chest should be parallel.

Although it can be tempting to straighten your legs, refrain from doing so, as that can risk arching your back, which can lead to a less-efficient workout as well as potential injuries, particularly for people with bad backs or previous back injuries.

You will then lower yourself until your nose in only an inch or so above the ground, push yourself back up, and repeat. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your body. Do not “chicken wing” and push your elbows out to the sides or you won’t have a good time.

Variations on the Bear Pushup

Pushups are one of the most versatile workouts available, in part because they are body-weight exercises that don’t require any additional weights. That said, there are countless styles of pushups from which to choose.

Once you’ve mastered the bear pushup, try increasing the decline more and more until you’re capable of performing standing pushups. Now that’s a feat of body mastery!


Whether pushups have been around for a century or more than a millenium, we don’t know. But we do know that they are a great exercise family that has earned the respect (and fear, in some cases) of plenty of athletes in the weightlifting community as well as the military.

Featured Article

Kneeling Hamstrings

Working out hard on the lower body has its benefits, including bigger muscles and improved speed.

Unfortunately, tight muscles often go hand-in-hand with that hard work. Kneeling Hamstrings help to alleviate the tension.

Physical therapists utilize this exercise to help patients who are struggling with too much tension in their hamstrings. That tension leads to all kinds of issues, up to and including nerve trouble. Its origins are in yoga, which focuses on lengthening and strengthening muscles. 

How to Kneel for a Stretch

This is a simple exercise that just about anyone can do. Here are the steps to stretch out with Kneeling Hamstrings. This is a wonderful exercise in part because it does not require any equipment to perform it.

  • Get down on one knee, preferably on a mat. 
  • Stretch the other leg out in front of you, with your heel on the ground and toes pointing towards the ceiling. 
  • Tighten the core and elongate the spine while you fold down from the hips. Your torso should come all the way down to your front leg.
  • Be careful not to round the back, and take a deep breath as you extend further into the stretch. Hands are reaching towards the lower foot.
  • Flex the front foot, then point it towards the ceiling in alternation. Go slowly so that you can feel each stretch deeply.
  • Switch sides and repeat with the other foot forward.

Get More out of your Hamstrings

The hamstrings are closely associated with the bones in the legs and the joints that are adjacent to this muscle. Muscle fibers change their lengths when they contract and release, as during exercise. This pattern of tightening and loosening is what makes the bones inside the legs move, and it’s how we move around at all.

When muscles are tight and tense, that’s because the muscles get stuck in their shortened state. Stretches like the Kneeling Hamstrings lengthen those muscle fibers. With time, stretching can actually lengthen the resting length of a muscle, as well as improve flexibility. That’s why it’s important to stretch when the muscles are a little warm. Before you do the Kneeling Hamstrings exercise, it’s a good idea to do a little warm-up to get those muscles warmer so that the fibers are longer. This can help you to get more out of the Kneeling Hamstrings, as this is a static exercise.

Useful for Everyone

Just about everyone who works out gets tight hamstrings from time to time. Naturally, athletes get a lot of tension in their hamstrings. However, even if you don’t work out you can benefit from this exercise. We all use our hamstrings a lot in everyday life while walking and moving through our days. Relieving the tension in the hamstrings is great for everyone!

Don’t ever force this stretch, instead breathe and allow it to come however it needs to come. It’s also important not to hold your breath, and keep breathing with long, deep breaths. Consistency is another important part of the Kneeling Hamstrings. If you do this once, you’re not going to get great results. Do it every day and you’ll feel the difference in your hamstrings. 

We all get tense! Whether you’re new to the gym or an experienced athlete, Kneeling Hamstrings can help you to get more out of your life through flexibility.

Wall ball

Wall ball exercises can provide a great aerobic addition to any workout with the goal of controlling weight.

No, this isn’t the game we all used to play as kids where you bounce a ball off the wall and tag each other. This is a much more effective way of burning calories and gaining muscle.

What Does it Mean to “Do Wall Balls?”

This phrase refers to the act of bouncing up from a squatting position, tossing a larger, softer version of a medicine ball at a wall, catching the ball as it falls, and repeating for a series of reps. There are plenty of ways to do wall balls, each varying in intensity, but this is what people tend to mean when they say, “wall balls.”

Not a Very Clear History

Human beings have been throwing things at other things since…well, since we learned how to throw things! This could potentially draw the history of wall balls all the way back to caveman days. Of course, this is all baseless speculation.

The official history of wall ball is much more recent, perhaps beginning as early as only a couple decades ago or perhaps going back more than 3,000 years to the creation of the first medicine ball. Nobody really knows.

Burn Fat and Tone Your Glutes

The key benefits of this exercise are more than just the ordinary aerobic benefits of burning more calories and cutting down on fat stores; they include strengthening your glutes (that would be your butt), thighs, calves, shoulders, and even pecs to some extent.

The Standard Wall Ball Procedure

You’ll want to start out about three to four feet away from the wall. Make sure you have ample space and can pick a wall that is connected directly to a ceiling and has no windows. You don’t want to throw the ball clear over the wall or straight through a glass window.

Once you’ve secured your workout space, pick up a medicine ball (it might help to start with a basketball or something light until your form is perfect, for safety reasons), and drop down into a squatting position.

Make sure to keep your back straight and the ball just about at chin height. Thrust yourself up from a squat, pushing the ball up into the air for it to bounce off the wall, catch the ball, and drop back down to starting position.

A Few Other Ideas

There are a couple of ways to do wall balls, although some are much more difficult. Of course, there are some that are easier, but those don’t work nearly the same number of muscle groups as the common wall balls will.

After a few weeks of solid wall ball workouts, try jumping up from the squatting position. This will significantly increase the difficulty of the workout.


Wall balls are not quite as effective a workout for building muscle as barbell squats; however, they are a ton more fun, can be done in groups for that socializing effect, and burn a lot more fat than any other barbell exercise. This makes them great complementary exercises for any workout routine.


One of the greatest ways to build strength in the back is through the use of the macebell.

This tool, though dangerous in untrained hands, can be a valuable addition to any weight-training regimen.

The Macebell: More than Just an Intimidating Title

The macebell looks kind of like a barbell with a kettlebell fixed on the end of it. More accurately, it looks like an ancient mace with no spikes. The primary purpose of training with a macebell is to increase strength in the back, though it has other benefits as well.

A Battle-Hardened Workout

If you’re wondering why the macebell looks like an ancient battle mace, the answer to that question is not going to surprise you. Thousands of years ago, ancient warriors didn’t have the same kind of workout and training equipment as we do today, but they did have their weapons.

Instead of going into a field and lifting rocks, like some of the Ancient Greeks would do, ancient Hindu warriors would train with their maces. They would swing wooden or stone maces behind their backs, squat with their weight, and much more to prepare them for all possible battle situations.

Upper-Body Focus

As demonstrated by the battle proficiency of the ancient Hindu macemen, exercises with the macebell serve to improve muscle coordination and control as well as increase muscle tone. Many macebell exercises are predominantly upper-body focused.

The Lap Squat with Ballistic Toss

Before doing any exercises with a macebell, you’ll want to make absolutely certain that you have ample room. Make sure to be at least four to six feet away from anybody or anything else. Not only would it be dangerous to them if you accidentally hit somebody, it could be dangerous for you as well.

The most common exercise is the lap squat with ballistic toss. This exercise is a little bit complex, so make sure to take a couple minutes to familiarize yourself proper form before beginning. Check out this video starting from the 2:12 mark:

Try this with something small, such as a TV remote or a drumstick before adding the weight, just to be certain that you’re doing it safely and correctly. Once you’re sure that you are, start with the squats and add in the ballistic tosses for a total of 8 to 12 reps, increasing weight when that becomes easy.

Plenty of Variety

There are plenty of different macebell exercises out there, so don’t give up on this workout implement just because this particular exercise isn’t your speed. There are also pendulums, rebel presses, uppercuts, and so many more!


When it comes to the macebell, don’t be turned off by its history as a weapon of war or by its intimidating name. Just focus on the exercise, put all that you have into it, and you’ll be well on your way to hitting your weight-loss or weight-gain goals.


Workouts with a roller, also called an ab wheel, can be some of the most fun, competitive, and challenging exercises you’ll ever do.

Starting from a standing position, rolling out to a full plank, and rolling back up is the dreamworld level of fitness reserved for instagram models; however, with a little practice, you can learn how to start on that path!

What Is It?

Rollers are exactly what they sound like: rollers. Typically, these contraptions take the form of small wheels with handles on each side for grip. Exercises that use the roller can be some of the most effective, but also some of the most challenging, ways to burn fat while strengthening your core.


Nobody knows for certain when the ab wheel first came into use as a workout implement, but we do know that they’ve been popular for decades. Where they started, we don’t know, but they are definitely here to stay.

Nowadays, a full standing rollout is all the craze, popularized by Instagram and other social media fitness models. While they might make it look as easy as a situp, it is far and away one of the most difficult exercises there are. Many long-time lifters can’t even do one!


There are some incredible benefits to using an ab wheel that you simply can’t get to the same extent elsewhere. These benefits include improved core tone, enhanced core control, and of course rock-hard six-pack abs, but it is certainly no one-and-done endeavor.

How to Do It

The most common ab wheel exercise is the roll-out. It’s suggested that you start on your knees for this, meaning you’ll want to have some soft padding to prevent any discomfort. Consider kneeling on a rolled-up yoga mat or wearing rollerblade-style knee pads.

The first step of the exercise to grip one handle in each hand and set the wheel on the ground just in front of your knees. It is absolutely critical that you keep your back perfectly straight or else you risk severe injury. An arched back can lead to muscle cramps or even tears.

Next, slowly wheel yourself away from your body without lifting your knees off the ground. You’ll quickly notice that it’s impossible for you to get even halfway; but, like learning to do that first pull-up, just go as far as you can and come back. With enough practice and dedication, you’ll get there!

Common Variations

Most people vary this exercise by starting and ending in a standing position. This is much, much harder and under no circumstances is it recommended for beginners. The difficulty and risks are simply too high.

Aside from starting and ending at a standing position, the athlete otherwise does all of the same steps as if she were starting from a kneeling position.


If you’re looking for a simple, yet incredibly challenging workout to help you set goals for yourself, look no further than the roller, a.k.a. the ab wheel. Not only will this exercise tool strengthen your core, it’ll also improve core control and flexibility.

Oh, and perhaps most importantly, it will be one incredible party trick!

Leg Curls

You’ve got two choices to build muscle in your hamstrings – seated or lying. Which is it going to be?

The two types of leg curls are both effective at isolating the hamstrings to work them and create muscle tone, and both require an exercise machine to do them.

Also known as the Hamstring Curl, this exercise involves lifting weights, either from a seated position or from a face-down lying position, with the legs. The level of weight determines the strength of the exercise, and it’s potent for building the hamstring muscles.  

Curling in Isolation

Leg Curls are an isolation exercise. Rather than work across a group of muscles, this exercise gets right to one specific area. It’s become increasingly popular to use compound muscle exercises to train more of the body at once to save time, but isolation exercises like this one are still potent and powerful. 

Isolation exercises target individual muscles in a way that broader exercises just can’t do. This is important if you are building towards a specific goal or need to shape just one part of the body. Weightlifters have been using Leg Curls to get right into the hamstrings for decades. It’s one of the best possible ways to bulk up the hamstrings.

Doubly Curly

With two ways to do leg curls, you need to know how to do them. 

Here are the steps for the Seated Leg Curl:

  • Set up the Leg Curl machine so that the back pads are firm and comfortable against your back. 
  • Place your legs on the bar so that it’s just beneath your calves, then set the lap bar so that it’s just above your knees, across your thighs.
  • Grab the side handles, then lift your legs, extending them up until they are parallel to the floor and straight out in front of you.
  • Still holding the side handles, pull the bar back towards you and down, going as far as you can with your legs. 
  • Slowly bring it back to the starting position and repeat.

Now for the Lying Leg Curl:

  • Set up the Leg Curl machine so that your abdomen is comfortable when you are lying face down. 
  • Feel the lever on the back of the machine, and adjust so that it sits just beneath your calf muscles when you’ve got your legs out straight.
  • Hold onto the front handles on the machine and focus.
  • Curl the lower legs up, pulling them as far as you can without your thighs coming off the pad. 
  • Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, then lower slowly back to the beginning position. 
  • Movements should be smooth all the way through. Lower the weight if you’re having to go towards jerking or using momentum to move the weights. 

Mix Your Curls

Though this is a machine exercise, there are a few variations possible without equipment. They are unusual and modern twists on the traditional Leg Curl. These use an exercise ball, sliders, or a suspension trainer. The standard Leg Curl is still the most popular and well known version of this exercise. 

Pushing weight on those hamstrings is a great way to sculpt the body. Find your machine and get going, either while sitting or standing.

Romanian Deadlifts

For those looking to improve their back and lower-body strength, The Romanian Deadlift may just be the way to go! 

This comprehensive exercise is perfect for working the back, glutes, and hamstrings, and is one that when performed correctly, can be both easy to do and highly effective. 

A Brief History

The Romanian deadlift, sometimes referred to as “RDL”, was named after Romanian Olympic Weightlifter Nicu Vlad. 

Elected to be a member of the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame, Vlad won a gold, silver, and bronze medal for Romania between 1984 and 1996. 

Vlad was seen doing his Romanian deadlift in the Olympic training hall, and his success made the exercise popular. 

The Romanian Deadlift 

While the exercise is technically not a deadlift, as it doesn’t involve lifting a weight off the ground, it is a great way to develop leg and back strength. 

Strength and resistance are key for this particular lift, as you won’t be starting from the bottom at each rep. Though this may be exhausting, it can create a more intense workout for your routine. 

Romanian Deadlift Exercise Prep

Getting ready to start? First:  

  1. Identify the amount of weight you’d like to use, and adjust your barbell accordingly. 
  2. Position yourself behind the barbell to prepare for the first set of repetitions. 

Performing The Exercise 

  1. Bend your knees slightly to grab the barbell. Make sure to keep your shins, back, and hips as straight as possible. 
  2. Push your hips forward to provide enough leverage to lift the bar. Remember, you don’t want to bend your back. 
  3. Carefully push your hips back, lowering the bar. You won’t be lowering it all the way to the floor; instead, bend your knees only slightly. 
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the desired number of repetitions. 

Positive Effects Of The Romanian Deadlift

The correct performance of this exercise can help strengthen each of the muscles involved in the process, and can even help resist lower back stress by helping work the hamstrings, lower back, and glutes all at the same time. 

Your hips can also benefit from the Romanian deadlift. Much of the exercise relies on the movement of your hips in and out, and this particular motion along with the resistance of the barbell weights can help strengthen the hip joint and supporting muscles. 

Switching Up The Exercise 

Looking for something a little different? 

  • Try the single-leg Romanian deadlift for stability and balance work. 
  • A trap bar with handles can also be used to do the Romanian deadlift. However, it’s important to keep in mind that with the trap bar, you’ll need to start the exercise from the floor and may not get as much weight training. 
  • If you don’t have access to a barbell, try using a pair of dumbbells to recreate the effect. 

Bring The Romanian Deadlift To Your Workout

The Romanian deadlift is a great option when it comes to maximizing back and lower-body workouts, the results of which will help you improve in the rest of your weight training!

Leg Extensions

Looking to add some resistance training into your exercise routine? Leg extensions are a great way to do just that while improving your lower-body strength. 

This exercise will help target your quadriceps and can greatly benefit your overall strength and stamina!

Where Leg Extensions Came From

The first real leg extension exercises came about as a result of a machine invented by Swedish doctor Gustav Zander. Zander brought his invention to the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, where his leg extension exercise machine won a gold medal. 

The machine didn’t really enter the mainstream until the 1970s, though, when Nautilus came out with a leg extension machine that quickly became popular with weightlifters. 

The Facts On The Leg Extension 

This exercise involves resistance weight training that is designed to focus on the quadriceps. Though not considered a total leg workout it is considered a great way to build strength in the upper legs. 

The user sits on the weight machine and, through a system of pulleys and cables, lifts a set of weights with their legs via a padded bar. 

Your Leg Extension Workout Prep

Getting ready to start? 

  1. Make sure that you have the proper equipment. Most gyms will have a leg extension machine at hand. 
  2. Determine the amount of weight you’d like to start with, and adjust the machine accordingly. 
  3. Sit comfortably on the machine with your legs under the pad to begin. Remember to keep your legs at a 90-degree angle throughout the exercise. 

Doing The Leg Extension Correctly

Once you’ve chosen your weight: 

  1. Hold the side bars with your hands. Make sure that your feet are pointed forward, and that the padded bar sits just on top of your lower leg. 
  2. With your quad muscles, extend your legs out straight. Keep your body still on the seat, and hold for a few moments. 
  3. Carefully lower the bar and weights back into position, taking care not to bring your legs past 90-degrees. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the desired number of reps. 

The Great Benefits Of Leg Extensions 

This exercise is a great one for beginners who are just starting out using machines, and is also good for rounding off the rest of your lower-body exercises. 

The weight training can help strengthen the quadriceps attachment for the knee, therefore supporting and strengthening the knee joint. At the same time, the quads get a great workout! 

Leg Extension Variants And Supplements

There are a few things that you can do to vary your leg extension exercises: 

  • Use different foot positioning to focus on specific parts of your thighs. Keep in mind that your foot position should not affect the angle of your legs. 
  • For more focus on side, try using only one leg to lift. 
  • If you don’t have access to a leg extension machine, consider using ankle weights or a resistance band to get a similar workout. 

Start Working The Thighs

This quad-focused exercise is great for both the beginner and the expert in strength-training. With multiple variations and a straightforward technique, this can certainly become a staple of your lower-body routine!

Hack Squats

In making sure that you’re getting an all-around workout, it’s important to make sure that you’re balancing your upper-body workouts with solid lower-body development. 

One great way to do this is by adding the hack squat to your regular exercise routine!

The Hack Squat Through History

The first reports of the hack squat come from Germany. In fact, the exercise was first known as “Hacke”, which means heel in German. 

It’s believed that the hack squat came from the traditional exercise where the heels were joined, something that was typically in much the way Prussian soldiers used to click their heels. 

Of course, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that the hack squat became a staple of the weightlifting world. It was popularized by George Hackenschmidt, who adopted the technique and used it for lower-body strength training and stamina improvement. 

What Is The Hack Squat? 

Sometimes called a “rear deadlift”, the hack squat is a variation on the traditional squat in which a barbell is held in the hand behind the legs. 

The squat, a typical strength-training exercise, focuses on the development of core strength, as well as the abdominal muscles. 

With the use of a barbell, this exercise takes the squat to the next level by modifying it to more intensely work the thighs, quads, and other upper-leg muscles. 

Hack Squat Preparations

To prep for the hack squat, you’ll want to: 

  • Make sure that you have the appropriate barbell equipment on hand. 
  • Identify the weights that will most benefit you for this exercise, and adjust your barbell accordingly. Keep in mind that it’s good to start with lighter weights, and then build up as your strength increases. 
  • Ensure your awareness of the space around you, whether in your own home or at the gym. As the barbells will be behind you, it’s important to keep in mind how much space you have. 

Dive In To The Hack Squat

Once you’re ready to go: 

  1. Stand straight while holding your barbell behind you. 
  2. Place your feet at shoulder width apart. 
  3. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back in mind; make sure to stay as straight as possible. Breathe in slowly. 
  4. Squeeze your thighs and press the heels of your feet into the floor to come back up. Breathe in slowly. 
  5. Repeat numbers 1-4 for your desired number of repetitions. 

The Hack Squat Can Boost Your Workout

This particular exercise is great for several muscle groups: 

  • The lower back 
  • The abdominal muscles 
  • Your upper and lower leg muscles  

This is a great way to get an overall lower-body workout, and can also help strengthen the tendons in your legs to help keep you strong for future workouts. 

Additionally, the correct performance of this exercise can help with overall stability. 

Getting The Most From The Hack Squat

There are a few ways to change up the Hack Squat. 

  • Rather than just using the barbells themselves, you can also use a Smith machine to help keep your squat balanced and steady. 
  • If you don’t have access to barbells, you can still get a great leg workout from performing the motion of the hack squat without weights. 

Strengthen Your Lower Body 

By adding the hack squat to your exercise routine, you’ll see an improvement in your stability and lower-body strength. Keeping a well-rounded and varied regiment that works your legs can both boost your well-being, and get you closer to your weightlifting goals!

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!