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The Ahren's Press!

Did you know that there is more than one kind of hammer? There’s the standard Claw Hammer, a Ball Peen Hammer, Rubber Mallet, Sledge hammer, Forging Hammer, etc. And there are tools that fulfill the same purpose, but do it differently, like a nail gun. It’s probably true that you can use most hammers, to do most hammer-related jobs. But it’s nice to have the RIGHT one.

If we equate shoulder exercises with hammers, we’ll find that all of them do the job, but some of them do it with more finesse, and some with just sheer crushing brutality. Overhead presses are my go to, because I think they have the most carryover to everyday life. So, I’d like to introduce a new over head press variation you might want to add to your shoulder workouts.

It’s called the Ahren’s Press. Named for Muscle Beach legend Chuck Ahrens. Like many legends, much of what has been written about him is largely unsubstantiated. He never, as far as anyone knows, competed in strength or physique sports. And he is famous for being shy, rarely taking off his shirt even in the warm California Sun. But we do have photos of a man with massive shoulders, performing seemingly incredible feats of strength.

So, the press named after him is similarly legendary. The story goes that he invented it because the dumbbells he used were to big to press straight up, so he pressed them up and out at an angle. Regardless of the origin of this movement, it is a fantastic shoulder builder, hitting the Medial heads of the deltoid especially hard.

Here’s how to do it:

Sit on a bench. (You can do them standing, but I feel it’s easier to feel them seated) Bring the dumbbells up to the shoulders. Press them up and out, at about a 40 degree angle (Not quite diagonal) You’ll want to go slower with this than in a standard pressing action. Just as slowly, return the dumbbells to the starting position. Rinse and repeat!

I like to put this toward the end of a shoulder workout, and go lighter with the load. I have done them as my first lift, and the rest of the workout suffered, as they tend to fry the muscles involved.

Try adding this move to your workouts! Let us know how it goes!

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