Looking to switch up your fitness routine?
Try an Alphabet Workout!
Do one exercises from each letter of the alphabet, or pick one letter and do as many exercises as you can that start with it.
Without any further ado, let’s jump into an (almost) complete list of exercises that start with I.
Some of the best exercises that start with the letter I are:
- Iron Cross
- Inverted Shoulder Press
- Incline Dumbbell Press
- Incline Dumbbell Fly
- Inverted Row
- Isometric Exercises
While there aren’t that many exercises that start specifically with the letter “I”, there are a large number of regular exercises that you can alter by adding either an inclined apparatus or movement, inverting your position, or by implementing an isometric component to it.
Let’s take a look at them, how to perform them, and why they deserve a spot on this list!
1. Iron Cross
This full-body compound exercise is excellent for hitting every major muscle group. You do not have to use heavy weights to get the full effect of this exercise and you can even do it with just your body weight as a warmup exercise
- Hold each dumbbell with a neutral grip straight out in front of you at shoulder height, feet approximately shoulder-width apart
- Keeping the dumbbells parallel to the floor, drop into a narrow squat (do not let your knees go past your toes). As you push out of the squat into a standing position, simultaneously open your arms into a “T” shape.
- Bring the dumbbells back in front of you and repeat the exercise
2. Inverted Shoulder Press
This bodyweight exercise challenges not only your strength, but also coordination, balance, and flexibility. You may choose to use a bench (as we will for this example) or perform it without.
This is also a great exercise for those looking to add a handstand to their exercise routine.
- Starting in a pushup position, place your feet on the bench behind you. Make sure that your hands are in line with your shoulders
- Straighten your legs and drive your hips into the air (think downward dog position), bending them at a 90-degree angle. Extend your arms fully, locking your elbows
- Without altering your lower body form and keeping your core engaged, bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, lowering your upper body until your head almost touches the floor. Hold for a count and then push out of it until your arms are once again completely straight
- Lower Back
3. Incline Dumbbell Press
Designed to build chest size and strength, the incline dumbbell press focuses on the upper portion of your chest and the front of your shoulders.
Ideally, you want to set your bench at a 30-45 degree angle. You may also perform a similar version of this exercise with a barbell (and rack)
- With your bench already positioned at the desired angle, lean back so your back is flat against the bench. Holding a pair of dumbbells with your hands shoulder height, keep your elbows bent and angled down towards your ribs.
- Engage your core as you press the weight over your chest until your arms are perpendicular to the floor.
- As you reverse the movement slowly lower the weights back down to chest height. On the eccentric movement, aim to have your elbows come down at a 45-degree angle. Do not let them flare out to the sides
4. Incline Dumbbell Fly
While the setup for the incline dumbbell fly is similar to the incline dumbbell press, and some of the muscles worked are similar, there is a different focus on the movement and the area of the chest.
- Position the bench between a 30 to a 45-degree angle. Sitting on the bench with your back and feet flat, hold the dumbbells out in front of your chest with your arms slightly bent. Hold the dumbbells with your palms facing each other (neutral grip).
- Slowly begin to lower the dumbbells simultaneously in an arc-like movement (imagine having your arms wrapped around a giant beach ball or giving a tree a hug) until you feel a light stretch across your chest and shoulders (Imagine being Hulk Hogan and ripping your shirt apart)
- Do not allow the weights to go any lower than parallel with your chest. Using the same tempo, raise the weights back to the starting position while maintaining the same arc-like movement
- Pectoralis Major
- Deltoid (specific focus on the anterior deltoid)
- Serratus Anterior
- Rotator Cuff
5. Inverted Row
For those who struggle with doing pull-ups (and there are lots out there), the inverted row is a great alternative, placing your body in a horizontal position rather than a vertical one.
One of the great things about this type of row exercise is that it uses just your body weight (and a bar). It also incorporates lower body muscles, whereas a traditional pull-up does not.
- This exercise can be performed using either a squat rack, Smith machine or TRX
- Set the squat rack or Smith machine bar at waist height. Lie down underneath the bar, holding it with an overhand grip and your arms fully extended, shoulder-width apart.
- Hover your upper body off the ground, allowing just your heels to be in contact with the floor
- Engage your core and glutes and keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders through to your feet
- Leading with your chest, pull yourself upward until your chest almost touches the bar. At the peak of your lift, pause for a count, making sure that your shoulder blades are retracted before slowly lowering to your starting position.
- Latissimus dorsi
- Teres minor
- Erector spinae
- Posterior deltoids
6. Isometric Exercises & Holds
Most people will not find isometric exercises as exciting and enjoyable as their regular workouts, but there are a number of strength, flexibility, mobility, and stability benefits from incorporating isometric exercises into your workout routine.
For those who are unaware, an isometric exercise in simple terms means the middle portion of the exercise when the muscle is contracted but there is no movement.
Essentially, it is like taking a long pause during the toughest part of the exercise movement, increasing the time your muscles are under tension.
Some examples of adding isometrics to your regular exercises are
Squats – Holding the lowest point of your squat for a longer period of time before pressing out of it
Split Squat – An isometric split squat will target the glutes, hamstrings, and quad muscles in both legs and will help improve athletic performance
Bench Press – Holding the barbell either at the midpoint or lowest point (close to your chest)
Hollow Hold – Targeting a number of core muscle groups, performing a hollow hold will help to improve posture, balance, and stability
Pull-Up – Isometric pull-ups can be performed at three different stages, the high, middle, and lowest points. As your back and arm muscles will constantly be firing, holding form at each point will help improve form, build strength and increase endurance. (See more of the amazing results from pull-ups.)
Plank – One of the most popular and simplest, yet effective isometric exercises, the plank will help improve core strength and stability while helping to improve posture and alleviate back pain.
With a simple change of body or equipment position, you now have a great way to alter many of your favorite exercises.
Try them inclined, inverted, or isometric-ized!
And for more great alphabet workouts, see exercises that start with:
Hope this helps!