You can achieve notoriety in strength sports by winning championships and setting world records — but sometimes, an athlete etches their name into the history books by creating or popularizing a movement that is so effective and essential to the craft that, soon enough, it bears their name.
- Arnold Press
- Svend Press
- JM Press
- Klokov Press
- Lü Raise
- Meadows Row
- Kroc Row
- Pendlay Row
- Scott Curl
- Zottman Curl
Arnold Schwarzenegger brought the Arnold press into existence as a way to add more size to his shoulders. The move itself involves rotating the dumbbells during a standard shoulder press to target all three heads of the deltoid.
Pressing movements normally target the front delts, but his version hit his side and rear delts as well. Because of this, the entire area saw positive results for Arnold, and he went on to win seven Mr. Olympia titles with the move as a mainstay in his training.
How to Do the Arnold Press
To do the Arnold press, sit on a bench (or stand) with dumbells in each hand. For the starting position, keep your palms facing your shoulders as if you’re at the top of a curl.
From there, press the dumbbells over your head, rotating your arms so you’re fully extended at the top with your palms facing away from your body. To finish, bring the dumbells back down and rotate to the starting position with your palms facing your shoulders.
The Svend press is a simple movement that only requires up to 20 pounds. So it may be a surprise that 2001 World’s Strongest Man Svend Karlsen — who once benched 573 pounds — is credited as the inventor of the exercise.
The strongman, powerlifter, and bodybuilder found that holding two small plates (such as 10-pound plates) together and pressing straight ahead not only increased his chest size, but it was also easy on the joints and helped him recruit the chest and triceps in a way that he couldn’t with other movements.
How to Do the Svend Press
Stand straight up and grab two (light) weight plates. Press the plates flat together and hold them against your chest, with your palms facing each other and fingers pointing forward.
Next, extend your arms straight out in front of you, holding the plates together throughout. Once your arms are fully extended, bring the plates back to your chest.
J.M. Blakley is a coach and was at one time a bench press specialist. According to Open Powerlifting, his best raw bench was 212.5 kilograms (486 pounds). He also pressed 315.5 kilograms (710 pounds) in a multi-ply bench shirt.
Blakley wanted to work the triceps in a way that assisted with his lockout at the top of the bench press attempt. Thus, he combined a close-grip bench press with a lying triceps extension for a move that would soon become known as the JM press.
This is a very specific way to improve the lockout at the top of a press. So, powerlifters, strongwomen, and strongmen can benefit from adding it to their repertoire. Bodybuilders may see some size from using it as well.
How to Do the JM Press
Put your body into a position to perform a typical barbell bench press, but keep your hands in a narrow grip, similar to that of a lying triceps extension.
As you lower the bar to your chest, flare your elbows out to a 45-degree angle, keeping your shoulders in and elbows up throughout. The bar should be in line with your chin. Once the bar is at the bottom of the move, drive the weight straight up.
Olympic weightlifting great Dmitry Klokov found that having a strong back, stable shoulders, and the ability to control weight at the top of a press were all keys for a heavier snatch. By taking a bar loaded with weight off the rack at shoulder height and pressing it up from behind the head, he was able to work on all three points in one move.
The Klokov press looks like a traditional behind-the-neck press with a snatch grip, but describing it is much easier than doing it, especially with heavy weight. While Klokov created this move for the sport of weightlifting, athletes in other disciplines would be wise to add this to their shoulder press routines.
How to Do the Klokov Press
Unrack a lightly loaded barbell from a squat or power rack with the bar on your upper traps. Slide your hands out to a wide snatch grip. Pull your elbows downward under the barbell.
Tuck your chin, tilt your head forward slightly, and press the barbell straight upward until your elbows are locked. The bar should fixate directly above your upper back.
Staying in the world of weightlifting, Lü Xiaojun has been competing in his sport since 2004, and he’s already preparing to compete in the 2024 Olympics. To stay competitive with healthy shoulders for two decades is a testament to his efforts and preparation — and utilizing the Lü raise played a big part in his longevity.
[Related: Take Your Olympic Lifting Up a Notch With the Power Snatch]
In the video, you can see that he is lifting 10-kilogram plates out as if he is doing lateral raises, but he continues until the weight is completely overhead. He then controls the negative to return to the starting position. This helps with range of motion, flexibility, strength, stability, and overall shoulder health.
How to Do the Lü Raise
Start with a pair of light dumbbells or small change plates with your arms down at your sides, palms facing inward.
Perform a standard lateral raise, but then continue to elevate your arms past parallel to the floor. Raise your arms as high as you can above your head, ideally until they’re perpendicular to the floor.
As you raise your arms, rotate them such that your palms are pointing out to the sides at the top.
The Meadows row is named after the late bodybuilder and coach, John Meadows. It’s a simple one-arm row, but instead of using a dumbbell, the lifter uses the end of a barbell with weight on it. The grip should also be across your body instead of in line with it. Meadows found this was a better way to develop the upper back and rear delts.
The Meadows row can also be performed on a seated calf raise machine if a barbell and landmine aren’t available. Pulling with lighter weight and maximizing the contraction at the top is what makes it so beneficial. Aside from the bodybuilding benefits, powerlifters may notice that it can be a great accessory movement for the deadlift.
How to Do the Meadows Row
First, load your preferred weight onto a landmine setup, being cautious about going lighter since this is a single-arm exercise. Then, in a staggered stance, have your lead foot (the left, for example) be perpendicular to the bar and bend over at the waist.
Use an overhand grip with your opposite hand (the right) to grab the sleeve of the bar and row the weight up so your elbow ends up at your chest.
Janae Marie Kroc is known today as a pioneer for transgender athletes. Another claim to fame is that Kroc is the inventor of the Kroc row, a movement designed to improve power, explosiveness, and upper back development. The technique is similar to a single-arm row on a bench, but you can utilize your working side and hips to help you explode the weight up.
At one point, Kroc could pull up to 310 pounds in this fashion, and even had a custom dumbbell for such a purpose. It will be hard to find one of those in the health club, but you can certainly use whatever heavy dumbbell you have in your gym to make the most out of the movement. The cheating and explosiveness are by design because it allows you to handle more weight under control.
How to Do the Kroc Row
Like in a normal dumbbell row, place your non-rowing hand and your same-side knee on a bench, with your opposite foot planted on the ground. Grab a dumbbell with your free hand and let your arm now hang freely, keeping your torso perpendicular to the ground. Brace your core and row the dumbbell to your side until it touches your hip.
For the Kroc variation, you won’t pause at the top of the row. Once you feel your muscles fatigue, twist your torso slightly to force a few more reps.
The bent-over row has its benefits, but some gymgoers cheat the form by using their momentum to lift heavier weight. By starting each rep from the floor, the Pendlay row — pioneered by the late USA Weightlifting coach Glenn Pendlay — keeps you honest and helps improve your back development.
The strength gained from the move can improve your deadlift, snatch, and cleans as well. There are alternatives and variations to throw in as well, such as placing the weight on blocks or doing it from a deficit position.
How to Do the Pendlay Row
Grab a barbell on the floor with a grip that is slightly wider than shoulder width. Set your hips as you would for a deadlift, but a little higher. Use your lats to pull the barbell to the base of your chest, making sure not to elevate your shoulders. Return the bar to the floor, reset your body, and repeat for controlled, strict reps.
In 1965, Larry Scott became the inaugural Mr. Olympia, thanks in part to his phenomenal biceps development. When the Idaho native was asked about the key to his success, he credited performing curls while his upper arms were braced against a bench.
This became known as the Scott curl, but the more popular name for it is the preacher curl because of how it appears the lifter is standing or sitting behind a preacher’s pulpit. The key difference is Scott’s version typically employs the vertical side of a preacher curl bench rather than the angled side. Either way, it works and lifters who want bigger and stronger biceps should be doing more of them.
How to Do the Scott Curl
Set up on the vertical side of a preacher curl bench with a dumbbell in your hand. The pad on the bench should be in line with the bottom of your pec. With your palm facing out, extend your arm all the way down and curl the weight back up.
Zottman curls are named after George Zottman, an exhibition strongman from Philadelphia, PA, in the late 19th century, known for his 19-inch biceps and ability to clean and press 175-pound dumbbells.
To perform his namesake exercise, just curl a dumbbell up as usual, and then twist it so your palm faces down and lower it back to your side. The exercise builds biceps while also working on your grip and forearm development.
How to Do the Zottman Curl
Stand with two dumbells in your hands, palms facing out. Then, curl the weights up so your palms are facing your shoulders as you normally would.
At the top of the curl, rotate your wrists so your palms are now facing down and lower the weight back to your thighs. Then, rotate the wrists again so your palms are facing out before starting the next rep.
More Training Content
If you’re interested in learning more ways to grow and strengthen your body, check out these other articles from BarBend:
- Everything You Need to Know to Build Your First Workout
- The Best Bodybuilding Programs for All Experience Levels
- These Researchers Reveal the Right Way to Train for More Muscle Mass
Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons | Public Domain