The ice cream maker, an intriguing yet somewhat overlooked callisthenics exercise, seldom garners attention within the realm of bodyweight workouts.
Many wonder whether it’s worth the effort, often receiving vague responses. This uncertainty arises from its intermediate nature—it lacks the awe factor of advanced skills like the front lever, yet it’s not as ubiquitous as basic exercises like pull-ups, which are essential prerequisites.
However, ice cream maker pull-ups hold significant value and are a lot more than mere transitional movements. Doing this exercise regularly can work wonders for your arms, abs, and lats.
So, in this article, we delve into why they should earn a place in your workout routine and offer guidance on proper execution and incorporation.
Table of Contents
What Is The Ice Cream Maker?
No, we’re not talking about the local ice cream vendor down the road!
The ice cream maker is a versatile addition to your workout routine with significant benefits. Trainer Don Saladino, known for working with stars like Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, recommends this bodyweight move for its remarkable impact on arms, abs, and lats. It serves as an excellent progression toward mastering back and front levers.
To perform the exercise, all you need is a pull-up bar and some hangtime. Don Saladino emphasises maintaining a strong position throughout the exercise, focusing on the axis of rotation through your elbows.
As you progress, you can make it more challenging by extending your legs. Begin with 4 sets of 5 reps to incorporate ice cream makers into your upper body workout. This exercise offers a delightful twist to your routine, working multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
Why Should You Do The Ice Cream Maker Exercise
Ice cream makers, combining elements of pull-ups and hollow body rocks, engage multiple muscle groups: chest, traps, biceps, shoulders, obliques, abs, mid-back, triceps, and lats. Widely used in gymnastics, callisthenics, and CrossFit, they offer impressive overall fitness benefits, though they may not isolate specific muscles for rapid strength gains.
However, they provide excellent efficiency in your workout routine. If you’re aiming for challenging callisthenics skills like the front lever, ice cream makers become even more valuable.
Ice Cream Makers Prerequisites
Before attempting ice cream makers, it’s crucial to ensure you’re adequately prepared for the challenges they pose. While not an extremely advanced exercise, the hanging and rocking elements require caution. Here are the prerequisites you should meet to embark on this journey:
Wide Grip Pull-Ups:
- Perform three sets with a minimum of 8 reps per set
- Aim for excellence with 12 reps per set
Hanging Leg Raises:
- Execute three sets, mirroring the reps criteria mentioned for pull-ups
Hollow Body Holds or Rocks:
- Opt for either three sets of 30-second hollow body holds
- Alternatively, go for three sets of 12-rep hollow body rocks
Meeting these requirements ensures you possess the foundational strength and stability needed to engage in ice cream maker exercises safely and effectively. If you can’t meet these benchmarks, it’s advisable to spend more time honing your basic strength and core stability.
However, if you do meet these prerequisites, you’re well-prepared to continue learning about ice cream makers and their benefits. Proceed with confidence!
Performing The Ice Cream Maker Exercise – A Step-by-step Guide
Ice cream makers, a compound exercise combining pull-ups and body positioning, require proper form and technique for effective execution. Let’s break down the process step by step.
Equipment: Prepare Your Pull-Up Bar
- Ensure you have a stable pull-up bar (recommended) or parallel bars/rings
- Position yourself as you would for a pull-up or chin-up
Grip And Hand Placement:
- Grab the bar with a pronated grip (palms facing away from you)
- Maintain shoulder-width hand spacing
- Initiate the motion by pulling yourself up
- Aim to bring your chin to the bar
- Keep your body straight; avoid arching or hollowing at this stage
Transition To Parallel Position:
- While straightening your arms, work on bringing your body parallel to the floor
- If you’re attempting an easier variation, like tuck ice cream makers, tuck your legs closer to your body before this step
Avoid The Front Lever:
- Note that the goal isn’t to maintain the horizontal body position (that’s the front lever, a more advanced move)
- Lower yourself back down while contracting your arms, completing one repetition
- Maintain control throughout the movement
Repetitions And Progression:
- Continue the motion for additional repetitions
- Gradually increase the number of reps as you build strength and proficiency
Mastering Ice Cream Makers: Key Takeaways
- Ice cream makers require a pull-up bar or suitable equipment
- Maintain a shoulder-width, pronated grip on the bar
- Begin with a pull-up, bringing your chin to the bar
- Transition into a parallel body position by straightening your arms
- Avoid the front lever position; instead, focus on controlled movement
- Gradually increase repetitions for improved strength and skill
By following these steps and practising consistently, you’ll master the ice cream maker exercise and enhance your overall fitness and callisthenics abilities.
Ice Cream Makers Alternative
By now, you’ve probably gathered that this isn’t a straightforward exercise. In fact, it’s highly likely that you may initially struggle with it, even if you meet the prerequisites. So, what’s the solution? Opt for the easier variations, commonly known as progressions.
There are two accessible variants of ice cream makers we can suggest: the tuck ice cream makers and the one-leg ice cream makers. Similar to the standard (and comparatively more challenging) version, these can be performed on the pull-up bar or, for added variety, on parallel bars or even the Olympic rings. The rings, while more demanding, can provide an extra challenge for those willing to take it on.
To Sum Up
Mastering the “Ice Cream Maker” exercise offers a sweet payoff for your fitness journey.
With its versatile benefits for arms, abs, and lats, it’s a valuable addition to any workout routine. Whether you’re a beginner or seeking to tackle advanced callisthenics skills, this move is worth the effort.
So, don’t hesitate to dive in, starting with the basics and working your way up to more challenging variations. In just a few sets, you can serve your upper body a delicious scoop of strength and endurance.
Get ready to enjoy the sweet results!
Founder of www.calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.