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Five classic exercises to boost your strength

From the Arnold press to the Bulgarian split squat, these classic moves will give you explosive strength

Five great exercises to increase your strength.
Five great exercises to increase your strength. (Istockphoto)

Breaking the monotony of doing the same exercises week in and week out would not only add some fun to your workouts but would also lead to better results. Now most trainers and coaches sticking to practically the same set of exercises and movements. Many of these don’t involve some of the tried and tested old moves that have helped athletes get strong for decades. In this story, we dig through the workout archives to bring you five fun and effective movements that you ought to add to your arsenal. Also included are videos that show you how to do perform these moves correctly. How about trying three sets of 10 repetitions for each of these five exercises?

Landmine Press

This one looks very cool, and it also makes you use the barbell in a different way. The landmine press has plenty of variations and can be used as a shoulder exercise as well as a focused workout for the upper chest. Since it is a freestanding movement, it also involves your core and improves your stability. For the landmine press, you would need a barbell with plates loaded on one side, the other side rests on the floor wedged in a corner of a room. You could do this with one hand and make it a shoulder workout or employ two hands to work out your upper chest.

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Grab the end of the barbell where the weights are and then press it up using your hands. This could be done while standing upright thereby employing some push from your legs; or half kneeling which shifts the entire focus on one side of the body; or kneeling, which is usually great for the double handed landmine press to work the upper chest. Since the weight is anchored on one end, it also reduces chances of injury.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Eastern European nations have a long history of producing weightlifting champions. Their training methods were distinctly different from those employed by India and the West. The Bulgarian split squat is so called because Bulgarian weightlifting teams employed the movement in their strength training modules. The rear foot is planted on an elevated surface like a bench and the front foot is firmly on the floor a few feet ahead in a lunge position.

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The movement is a controlled lunge while maintaining your balance till the rear knee touches, or is just above, the floor. This workout is a quadriceps blaster but would also leave your glutes and butt burning. Do this with weights to make it more challenging.

Landmine Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

This is another great strength exercise, one that works your lower back and hamstrings. The beauty of this one is that it removes all chance of performing the deadlift by loading your preferred, stronger side as it is a single leg movement. Like with landmine press, load one end of the barbell with weights and push the other into a corner of a room against a wall.

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Get on to one leg and bend over and, with the same hand as the leg that is not grounded, reach down to the barbell (loaded side) resting on the floor. Grab the barbell tight and perform one leg deadlifts without bending the knee too much on your way down. This is a great move to improve your balance and stability while also boosting your strength.You can also do this with a dumbbell or a kettlebell

Arnold Press

The name should make it amply clear to you that this one is going to help gain strength and size around your shoulders. A modified single dumbbell military press made famous by the Arnold Schwarzenegger, this is a variation on the standard shoulder press with a greater range of motion and a twist. Starting from the top of a bicep curl position, push the dumbbell up while turning the arm into a complete press. Come back down turning the wrist along the way to top of bicep curl position with the inside of the fist facing you. My favourite way of doing this is on one knee.

Farmer’s Carry

This is the most functional of all the workouts on this list. To perform the farmer’s carry, grab a heavy kettlebell or dumbbell in each hand and start walking. It isn’t very different from walking with a heavy bag in each hand. This might not develop any particular muscle but will help improve your overall strength, functionality and cardiovascular health. The key is the weights should be heavy. It also improves grip strength.

Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.

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