The definition of a classic can be rather difficult to determine. Ideally it is something that has been around for a while and has stood the test of time still being relevant now. There are classic cars, classic music, classic movies, and of course classic weight training exercises.
Some exercises were just so perfect that they are still relevant years later. Even with all the advances in training, new machines, and other equipment; sometimes the classics just can’t be replaced. With that being said, here are some of the best classic exercises for your routine.
The Top Timeless Classics
The Arnold Press – Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was the originator of this movement which he described as the ‘perfect shoulder exercise’. He is pretty darn correct about that. Yet, not a lot of people utilize this lift. One reason I think this exercise is so good is because it works the entire shoulder muscle and the rotator cuff. You start holding a pair of dumbbell at shoulder height, palms facing you, and elbows tight against your ribs. Press the weight upward and rotate your hands so you finish like a normal overhead press. Reverse the movement back to the starting position to finish a rep. This is a slow and controlled lift on the way up and down.
The Curl and Press – This movement was made popular by Dave Draper who was known for his great chest and biceps development. He liked to use this as a warm-up exercise and also as a transition between chest and biceps. You don’t go overly heavy but instead use a slow, controlled motion. Start on an incline bench with a pair of dumbbells you can curl for 8 to 10 reps. Perform an incline curl with both arms. Then rotate your wrists to a press position and do an incline press. Reverse the motion to the beginning to finish the move.
The Spider Curl – This one was made famous by Larry Scott. He won the first 2 Mr. Olympia’s and had incredible biceps and forearms from using exercises like these. Basically you do a slow preacher curl but on the opposite side of the bench. Your arm is vertical for the motion and since it is pressed against the flat bench you get an incredible stretch at the bottom and better contraction at the top than a regular preacher curl gives you.
The Sissy Squat – Oddly these are really hard. Back in the day this was created by Vince Gironda but Tom Platz and his massive quads really used this one well. Grab a dumbbell or weight plate (25-45lbs) and hold it against your chest. With your other hand grab onto the frame of a squat rack or power cage. Place your feet shoulder width apart you basically do a front squat but you lean back and let your heels come off the ground. It is a very unique movement that provides an incredible stretch in your quads at the bottom. A lot of old school bodybuilders would do this as a finishing exercise.
Incline Dumbbell Curls – This was a Lou Ferrigno favorite for size. You sit back on an incline bench at about a 45 degree angle. Start with your arms hanging straight down. Then do bicep curls. You can also supinate your wrists for a different feel. You get a great stretch as well as contraction doing curls this way but hardly anyone does them this way anymore.