The best exercises for you are probably some that you’re not doing. Complex workouts (those that work several muscles) are a more efficient use of your time than isolation exercise (those that work just one muscle in isolation).
And a mix of these exercises produces the best results. Here are seven exercises you need to be performing to get stronger and build a physique like Arnold.
Workout #7 – Standing Barbell Calf Raise
Using a barbell, place a comfortable weight on it and follow these instructions:
- Stand shoulder width apart.
- The barbell will be on your back, much like when performing a squat.
- Now, you want to use your calf muscles (behind your shins) to push you from a flat foot to your tip-toes.
Pay attention: By doing this, you’re engaging your calves. You can do this with a block under the front of your foot or on a flat surface. A block is used to provide a deeper range of motion.
Workout #6 – Rows
Rows are a great opportunity to engage a lot of your muscles. These include your middle back, deltoids, biceps, triceps, hamstring, and gluteus maximus.
And these are just a few of the muscles engaged. Remember that many of these work for stabilization.
Pay attention: You want to keep your back straight when performing a row, and rowing machines are an excellent choice when performing this exercise. You can also perform rows with dumbbells.
Workout #5 – Shoulder Press
Shoulder presses are hated by many fitness professionals because they’re tough. But no pain, no gain – right? There are shoulder press machines, which are self-explanatory, or you can use dumbbells or barbells.
Using a barbell, add your weight and follow these instructions:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Start with the dumbbells near your shoulders (palms facing away from you).
- Then push slowly until your elbows are fully extended, and the dumbbells are above your head.
My advice: If performed in a seated position, be sure to keep your back straight! Just watch this video and do it properly.
Workout #4 – Chin-ups
Chin-ups are another great exercise that engages several muscles, including your back, biceps, triceps, and chest. This is an obvious workout to perform, so instructions are not necessary.
We’ll just give you a few extra tips:
- Keep your lower body static when performing a chin-up.
- Pull-ups and chin-ups are different.
- Change your hand position to vary your workout.
Pay attention: Don’t get me wrong, most of the effort comes from your biceps and back, but the other muscles help stabilize your body. Several other muscles are engaged too.
Workout #3 – Deadlifts
Deadlifts require a barbell. Make sure that you start with a light weight until you have mastered your form correctly. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell on the floor in front of you.
From here, you will:
- Grab the bar, shoulder-width apart and arms vertical.
- Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar.
- Lift your chest, and straighten your back.
- Pull the bar against your legs, locking the knees and hips.
- Return to starting position.
Keep in mind: Deadlifts can cause back injuries when done improperly, so make sure to watch a few videos on how to perform a deadlift properly.
Workout #2 – Bench Press
If you’ve ever stepped foot in a gym, you’ve seen people bench press. This is one of the most recognized exercises in the world, and a lot of people do it wrong. People will arch their back to try and “impress” others as they strain themselves into a hernia with improper form.
The key to a good bench press is to pick a weight that is right for you!
Whether the weight is 50 pounds or 300 pounds, no one really cares. You need to leave your ego at the door. Your chest is the primary benefactor of a bench press, with the pectoralis, deltoids, and triceps being worked.
The triceps are used to extend the elbow. The position of your hands will also put less or more stress on the shoulders and other supporting muscles.
A basic flat bench press is performed with your:
- Feet flat on the floor
- Back straight on the bench
- Bar lowered to the chest
- Bar pushed up slowly and straight until full extension of the elbows
Remember to pause before lifting the bar back up, and when experimenting with heavier weight, ensure that you have a spotter that is willing to help you.
Pay attention: You can also perform a bench press on the squat rack for added protection. Just place the stops before your chest so that if you can’t lift the weight up, you can still wiggle out from under the barbell.
Workout #1 – Squats
Squats, the ultimate exercise. A proper squat will push your body to the limit, and it’s vital to any workout plan. It’s essential that a squat is done correctly, with the following tips in mind:
- Feet shoulder-width apart.
- Back straight the entire time.
- Avoid ass-to-grass squats.
Before we go any further, it’s important to remember that you need to break parallel during a squat, but your butt doesn’t have to go to the floor. When you go “ass-to-grass,” you’re putting more strain on your knees, and you won’t be able to handle heavier weight.
Squats are easy to mess up, so I recommend watching this video as a guide! I’m not sure anyone can explain squats better than what you’ll find in this video.
Remember: You can use a squat rack for added safety. Squat racks will have stops that you can use if you lose balance.