Exercises, and the methods you achieve strength and muscle growth, increasingly appear to be a somewhat circular in regard to popularity and use. Look no further than the resurgence of kettlebell workouts. Used to develop strength, conditioning, and grip by the Soviet army - with the basic movements such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk engaging the entire body at once and in a way that mimics real world activities - this useful weightlifting and conditioning instrument has since seen a massive jump in use throughout gym across the globe over the past few years. But what are some of the other old school exercises that can lead to big gains but have maybe fallen out of fashion? Here’s a list of four of our favourites:
A much more dynamic version of the traditional push-up, this modification has been used by Indian grapplers for centuries and will help build strength and flexibility in your chest, shoulders, back, hips and triceps all while getting your heart pumping. While it’s difficult to explain in words, start with your feet shoulder width apart, bend down and place your hands on the floor so you’re in a stance similar to Downward Dog in Yoga. From this position you’re effectively going to be making a swooping motion as you bring your head down and forward and follow through with your torso until your back is arched and your hips are lowered similar to a Cobra position in Yoga. Reverse the movements and return to the start position then begin again.
You may turn your nose up at this, associating it with girlie activities in the school yard rather than Rocky getting prepped to fight Apollo Creed, but if you want to burn a lot of calories in no time or keep your heartrate up between set at the gym, then jumping rope is a great exercise. Though you may be tempted to give up after a few stop-start trip-ups, by using the correct posture – neck relaxed, gaze forward, chest stuck out and shoulders low – you’ll be a master in no time.
No possibility of cheating, no way to cut corners, this is potentially the purest bicep exercise you can perform. What’s more, Arnie considered it to be the ultimate way of adding peak to his biceps to create height when flexed. This exercise requires you to be bending at the waist with a dumbbell hanging loosely in one hand. With a restricted movement that doesn’t move your upper arm, curl the dumbbell up to your shoulder and turn the weight away from you while squeezing the bicep. Reverse the movement back to the start.
If we’re going to look to old school exercises that are proven to work, then we may as well continue to look at the man who almost singlehandedly popularised working out and weightlifting. The Arnold, named after its inventor, is an alternative shoulder exercise that combines a lateral raise movement with a traditional shoulder press. Stand with two rubber hex or adjustable dumbbells positioned in front of your shoulder, with the palms facing towards you. Bring your elbows out to your sides while continuing to raise them outward, reversing your hand position as you press the dumbbells overhead until you end in a traditional press position with arms straight up. Reverse the movement back to starting position. What are some of your old school exercises you swear by?