What Is a Chronograph Watch?
The chronograph watch has always been somewhat of a pinnacle in wristwatch technology.
Dubbed the ‘tool watch,’ these expert watches are for the man who needs everything at his disposal. When the clock is ticking, you’re keeping score. When the minutes go by, you’re keeping watch.
At the very heart of it, a chronograph watch is basically any old timepiece that has a stopwatch in addition to just telling the time. Not that fancy, right? Wrong.
While a chronograph watch has dials that keep track of seconds, minutes, and hours, it’s because of these intricacies that make these timepieces so heavily coveted. Whether through the allure, appeal, or aesthetics, there is a chronograph watch for every gentleman.
Nordgreen PioneerThe Nordgreen Pioneer is a modern chronograph watch for the 21st century gentleman. Just for Black Friday 2020, Next Luxury readers can get a 35% discount from November 20 to December 1, using the discount code NEXTL35 at checkout.
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What Is a Chronograph Watch?
A chronograph watch is a special type of watch that works as both a display watch for telling the time, and a stopwatch for timing things.
When it comes down to brass tax, the chronograph has a myriad of use cases. From workouts to figuring out just how long it takes to fill up with gas. Whatever you plan to use it for, you’re guaranteed to find the same function throughout the entire array of options on the market.
Kickstart the chronograph by pressing the button at the 2 o’clock mark. To stop it, press the button again. Then when you’re ready to reset it back to zero, push the 4 o’clock button. Simple.
Most chronographs display three dials for registering how much time has elapsed. The second dial, often referred to as a sub-second dial, generally sports a minute dial and an hour dial.
However, positions may vary from brand to brand. Take the Pioneer Chronograph from Nordgreen. The dual sub-dials sit opposite each other at 9 and 3 o’clock.
The term used to describe wristwatch additions like a chronograph is called a ‘complication,’ named because of the added level of difficulty and mechanics added to a traditional mechanical watch.
Here’s where things get more interesting. Almost every chronograph watch you can find will have a tachymeter on the bezel.
To put it simply, a tachymeter is used to measure speed based on time traveled over a fixed distance, or distance based on speed. Not good with numbers? Don’t worry; there’s an easy way to figure it out.
The formula is T = 3600/t. T represents the numbers on the tachymeter’s scale, and t represents the time measured in seconds by the all-important chronograph function. 3600 is the number of seconds in one hour.
Now that we have all that, let’s measure speed. If, for example, it takes you 30 seconds to travel one mile, the corresponding number on the tachymeter is 120. That means you’re traveling 120 miles per hour.
You need to know your speed to measure distance with a tachymeter. Firstly, start at zero seconds, and stop once the tachymeter indicates your traveling speed.
For example, if you’re moving along at 60mph, every time it hits 60 on the tachymeter, that means you’ve traveled one mile.
Things do get a bit tricky for lower speeds, so your best bet is to multiply the rate by two, then divide at the end once you’ve got your number.
Because nobody likes working decimals, if it’s your first time with a chronograph, don’t worry. As with most things like this, practice makes perfect.
History of the Chronograph Watch
The story begins in 1816, when Louis Moinet invented the very first chronograph. The stopwatch would be crucial to early discoveries of the great unknown and was used to track astrological movements.
It wasn’t until 1821 when Frenchman Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec created the first widely available chronograph. Its inception came about when King Louis XVIII requested the device to time the horse races he loved to watch.
The early days of chronographs saw dials made of paper and dropped with ink to number them. Though rudimentary compared to today’s standards, this how the name chronograph was born.
Chronograph comes from the Greek words chronos (time) and graph (writer). Together they literally translate to “time writer.”
It would not be until the early 20th century that chronographs made their way to the people’s wrists. Previously kept in pockets, it would take the Swiss watchmaker Longines to popularize the first chronograph wristwatch in 1913.
It didn’t take long before it caught the eye of adventurers, pilots, and navigators of all kinds. However, early advertisements took it upon themselves to revive history and market it towards horse racing, just as it was initially intended.
Many chronographs celebrate history in their unique ways. The Nordgreen Pioneer shows its admiration for the Danish tradition of Science for Humanity. Using hands indicated by the red tips, this minimal and sustainable watch represents the same red tips on wind turbines.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Chronograph Watch
When selecting a chronograph, you need to take into consideration how you plan on using it.
While you can certainly choose one purely based on aesthetics, you need to understand the different attributes of chronograph wristwatches in order to choose the right one.
Telling the time
Many brands take it upon themselves to get highly creative with the design of the watch face, and some may have gotten a little carried away. While you can go for a minimal design like that of the Pioneer, other watches out there may not be so easy to read.
Some designers, like Wegner, have omitted a dial for the sake of design. Some luxury watches can so far as to add lunar phase modules and other more complicated features.
Something that must be considered before purchase, what do you need from your wristwatch?
Though the chronograph features may seem a little complicated, the intricacies of watchmaking are far more complex.
With movements coming in varying styles and constructions, watchmakers can offer you more options than you know what to do with. For example, the Nordgreen Pioneer features a Japanese quartz Miyota 6S21 movement.
First invented in Japan back in the late 1960s, Japanese quartz movements are some of the most accurate. Made famous because of its automatic functionality, meaning it doesn’t require winding as other mechanisms do.
Powered by a single battery and a piece of crystal quartz, the battery sends an electrical signal through the quartz, making it vibrate. This vibration then pulses to make the hands move consistently and accurately.
The Miyota 6S21 movement is accurate to ±20 sec per month and has a battery life of about three years.
The watch case
Character, taste, style. All these words conjure up several connotations depending on who you’re talking to. This is why, when it comes to choosing a chronograph, size matters.
While modern aesthetics have gravitated towards big and bulky watch cases, the Nordgreen Pioneer remains subtle, even with a 42mm case size. Measuring only 12mm thick, it’s almost 150% the thickness of their other watches. Much bigger considering its Scandinavian design, the look is crafted from 316L crystalless steel.
Your average wristwatch ranges between 37-39mm, with chronographs usually measuring anywhere between 40mm and 45mm. Ultimately the correct size comes down to individual preferences, though Next Luxury reckons the sweet spot is the 42mm case.
Straps, bands, and bracelets
There are several different ways to wrap a watch around your wrist, from width to thickness to material choices and design. Though the width of your watch strap or bracelet will depend on the case diameter and lug width, customization is ever-present through a selection of different band styles.
For example, the Nordgreen Pioneer offers a range of additional leather straps, including vegan leather options and mesh straps, all at 20mm. Though for the full chronograph experience, we recommend the 3-link stainless-steel strap version.
Side note: don’t forget to consider the size of the lugs. These are the metal extensions where the watch case attaches to the bracelet or strap. While they’re not factored into the case diameter, they do stick out much further.
Remember to leave some breathing room, as the lugs can slightly elongate the height of the watch. Lugs that extend out over your wrist tend to be uncomfortable to wear, so watch out for that.
Dials on dials
Not every watch will have the option of multiple dial colors. Most will feature either a black or white dial, depending on the design. While others may not feature a dial at all, opting instead for an exposed look straight through to the mechanics and hardware. The Pioneer does offer either a black, white, or Navy-blue dial, with the latter being the most eye-catching of the three.
The glass on watch faces is equally as crucial as the dial that sits below. Called crystals, watch glass is made from a bunch of different materials.
A majority of watches are crafted using sapphire, acrylic, or minerals. Sapphire crystals are second only to diamonds in toughness, making them highly scratch-resistant.
Nordgreen uses domed sapphire crystal for the Pioneer watch glass for these exact reasons. Acrylic faces or crystals are found mostly on the more affordable end of the spectrum for wristwatches, which leaves them open to scratches.
Mineral crystals are treated with chemicals or heat to improve the shatter and scratch-resistance of the glass. While certainly not as durable as sapphire, they are still a superb middle-range choice.
Chronograph Watches aren’t typically designed for underwater use. That’s a job for their dive watch counterparts. That doesn’t mean your new timepiece will fall apart in the rain. It just means you have to be conscious of that all-important water resistance rating.
Rated up to 5 ATM for rain resistance, the Nordgreen Pioneer can survive a depth of up to 50 meters. While that is super deep, we don’t recommend diving with a non-diver’s watch. This is different from an IPX rating, which measures how much water exposure a product can handle.
These are the ATM ratings:
- 1 ATM means a device can withstand a depth of 10 meters
- 3 ATM means a device can withstand depths of 30 meters
- 5 ATM means a device can withstand depths of 50 meters
- 10 ATM means a device can withstand depths of 100 meters
These are the IPX ratings:
- IPX-0 offers no protection against water whatsoever.
- IPX-1 protects against dripping from above for up to 10 minutes.
- IPX-2 protects against dripping from any direction for up to 10 minutes.
- IPX-3 protects against spraying water from any direction for up to five minutes.
- IPX-4 offers protection from splashes from any direction for at least five minutes.
- IPX-5 protects from large sprays, 12.5 liters per minute, from any direction for up to three minutes.
- IPX-6 offers protection for larger sprays, 100 liters per minute, from any direction for up to three minutes.
- IPX-7 allows protection against complete submersion, up to one meter of water for 30 minutes.
- IPX-8 is the highest grade of water resistance, although its specifications are wholly dependent on the manufacturer. Typically, ‘waterproof’ products will have an IPX7 or IPX8 rating.
The Nordgreen Pioneer Chronograph Wristwatch
The Nordgreen Pioneer is an elegant men’s chronograph watch designed by Danish designer Jakob Wagner. It combines traditional chronograph elements with a clean modern design inspired by the sustainable future we all, and in particular the Danes, aspire to. The Pioneer is available in with a range of straps and a range of dial colors. Whatever your personal style is, there’s a Nordgreen Pioneer to match.
Next Luxury readers can get a 35% discount from November 20 to December 1, using the discount code NEXTL35 at checkout.
The 32 Best Christmas Gifts for Men in 2021 – Editor’s Choice
Your quest for the perfect Christmas present is over. Our list of The Best Gifts for Men in 2020 is sure to make all of his wishes come true this holiday season.
Finding a Christmas gift idea for a guy with a refined taste and an appreciation for the finer things in life can be tough during a typical holiday season. Couple that with 2020’s turmoil and the fact that Black Friday ads bombard you every day of the week – a month ahead of schedule – and this year can be downright impossible.
Instead of guessing which Christmas gift he wants or rummaging through every single Black Friday ad, we here at Next Luxury are trying to point you in the right direction with this gift guide. This list of Christmas present ideas is sure to make your guy smile. Here is our list of the Best Christmas Gifts for Men in 2020.
Trust us; he’ll thank you.
The Best Christmas Gifts for Men in 2020: Watches
Men love watches. Other than footwear, rings, and cufflinks, watches are the only way to accessorize ourselves and express our tastes. In fact, watches are so important to the guys at Next Luxury that we couldn’t lump them in with EDC or style. Here are our favorite choices for 2020.
1. Nordgreen Pioneer
Get a 15% discount using the discount code NEXTL at checkout
If you’re shopping for a special guy that prefers a more minimalist, Bauhaus-meets-Scandinavian-type design, check out Nordgreen’s Pioneer Chronograph watch. This Danish-designed, Japanese quartz-powered chronograph is 42mm wide, and comes with a white, black, or blue dial. You’ll also have the choice of a silver, rose gold, or brushed case, as well as a wide variety of straps and bracelets.
2. Omega SpeedmasterCheck Price
To refer to a watch as timeless might seem like an oxymoron, but the Speedmaster is truly a classic. While the design has evolved a bit since its original release in 1957, this chronograph still has the classic feel your guy will love.
3. Rolex ExplorerCheck Price
As the quintessential field watch, the Rolex Explorer is on almost any horology enthusiast’s Grail list. If your guy has a subdued style but prefers the finer things in life, the Explorer will look great on his wrist.
4. Orient Mako IICheck Price
Orient proves over and over again that great watches don’t need to break the bank. This awesome diver has everything your guy would expect from a high-end watch except for the killer price tag.
5. Seiko SNA411 FlightmasterCheck Price
The Seiko Flightmaster is literally a modern-day classic. It’s a quartz-powered pilot’s watch with incredible styling, an ultra-functional (if not overly complicated) slide-rule bezel, and dual-zone or alarm functionality. It’s the perfect gift for aviation and horology enthusiasts.
The Best Christmas Gifts for Men in 2020: Tech
Technology products fly off the shelves during the holiday seasons. You can often find incredible deals on some really great products. If your guy appreciates quality tech gear, be sure to check one of these top picks off his Christmas List.Check Price
If you’re looking for a Christmas gift idea for an audiophile, you simply can’t go wrong with a high-quality pair of headphones. The WH1000XM3 produces premium sound quality for music, gaming, or podcasts with up to 30 hours of battery life. They’re Alexa-enabled and feature top-notch noise-canceling technology.
7. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear HeadphonesCheck Price
For guys that prefer in-ear headphones, the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Headphones are the perfect Christmas gift idea. These wireless buds create an unrivaled, top-quality stereo sound for up to 7 hours on one charge. Place them back in the automatically charging carrying case to recharge them for up to 28 hours of listening.
8. PlayStation 5Check Price
Even refined guys can be gamers, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to deliver exactly what he wants (but might be too embarrassed to ask for). While the release date for the PS 5 isn’t until mid-November, Black Friday deals are sure to pop up with packages and game bundles.
9. Xbox Series X
With a similar mid-November release date as the PS5, Microsoft fans will be pining for the new Xbox Series X. While these consoles may be challenging to come by at first, the packages and deals will surely save you some money when putting together the perfect gaming kit for your guy.
10. Apple Watch Series 6Check Price
If the guy you’re shopping for enjoys Apple products and fresh tech, giving him the Apple Watch Series 6 this holiday season would be a great Christmas present. It has all of the fitness-first features you’d expect from an Apple watch, and the GPS model lets you take calls and reply to texts from your wrist when you connect it to your iPhone.
11. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3Check Price
If you’re shopping for an Android guy, be sure to check out the Galaxy Watch 3 from Samsung. This watch has fantastic styling, a long-lasting battery, and all the fitness and health features you can ask for. You can call, text, or stream music from your watch as well.
12. Google Pixel 4aCheck Price
If you really want to knock his tech-loving socks off this year, slip a Google Pixel 4a under his Balsam Fir. You can buy an unlocked version directly from Google, complete with dual 12-megapixel cameras, Night Sight, HDR+, and automatically adjusting power-usage.
The Best Christmas Gifts for Men in 2020: Everyday Carry
Men have been in love with everyday carry items since before anyone realized they could shorten it to “EDC.” A cool gift from this list will show you care about what he cares about.
13. Spyderco ParaMilitary G-10Check Price
If you’ve ever heard your favorite guy utter the words “high-speed, low-drag,” he wants this knife. Tactical enthusiasts and everyday heroes will love the ParaMilitary’s awesome styling, reliable build, and razor-sharp edge.
14. Robert David Laguiole Folding KnifeCheck Price
When your guy’s taste and style leans more mature and distinguished, his pocket knife needs to reflect it. This folding knife from Laguiole is one of the best gentleman’s knives available, making it a great gift idea without blowing your holiday budget.
15. The Ridge Wallet
It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of The Ridge Wallet at Next Luxury; it’s an outstanding product. If your guy wants to keep his cards and cash organized and safe in his front pocket, get him The Ridge.
16. Red Wing Heritage Card HolderCheck Price
For a rugged and refined man, the Red Wing Heritage Card Holder offers an excellent front pocket-carry leather wallet option. It’s tough, durable, simple, and attractive. This wallet can carry up to 20 cards and cash, and Red Wing makes this leather wallet with the same craftsmanship as the company’s legendary boots.
17. Streamlight MicrostreamCheck Price
No EDC enthusiast’s collection is complete without a bomb-proof pocket flashlight. Streamlight’s Microstream is rechargeable and produces 250 lumens of light with a 68-meter beam distance. It will fit easily in your favorite guy’s pocket, and it’s light enough that he’ll forget it’s there.
18. Leatherman SurgeCheck Price
When it comes to EDC, there’s nothing that can trump a Leatherman. The Surge is an incredible piece of kit, with 21 tools, including pliers, screwdrivers, scissors, knives, and a bottle opener. Best of all, all the tools are one-hand accessible – a huge improvement over the multi-tools of old.
The Best Christmas Gifts for Men in 2020: Style
Classic items never go out of style. These top style gifts will have your guy looking, feeling great, and thanking you for noticing his fashion sense.
19. Lands’ End Leather GlovesCheck Price
When the cold weather hits, a great pair of leather gloves can make a world of difference. Don’t let your guy grab that cold steering wheel without a pair of leather gloves from Land’s End. These gloves are full-grain leather with a cashmere lining for the ultimate plush comfort.
20. Biddy Murphy Wool ScarfCheck Price
If you want your favorite guy to stand out in a crowd for the right reasons, check out the Biddy Murphy Wool Scarf for a unique gift idea. Biddy Murphy makes these scarves from 100 percent lambswool, and the craftsmanship is second to none. There are a few different choices, so be sure to choose the one that fits your guy’s style the best.
21. J. Crew Ludlow BlazerCheck Price
No guy’s wardrobe is complete without a great blazer or sport coat. The Ludlow from J.Crew is a great choice, with its wool-cotton blend and slim, modern fit. It’s a double-vent design with a two-button closure, and you can get it in a few different colors on J.Crew’s site.
22. The Captain Boot from Thursday Boot Co.Check Price
Thursday Boots are relatively new to the boot world, but they’re taking it by storm. The Captain is their most popular boot, with its classic styling and incredible value. If your guy is in the market for a great pair of boots, and you don’t want to break the bank to buy them, check out The Captain from Thursday Boot Co.
23. The Cary Briefcase from Stuart & Lau
Every guy can appreciate a great bag, and the Stuart and Lau Cary Briefcase certainly fits the mold. Whether your guy commutes to the office or creates content in a coffee shop booth, The Cary Briefcase will ensure he looks stylish while doing it.
24. Deejo Pocket Knives
While we recognize that a pocket knife should fall under the EDC category, these knives from Deejo are so much more than that. These high-quality knives make the ideal personalized gift. With custom blade etchings and engravings, it’s the perfect Christmas gift idea with plenty of style. The chances of him hiding it away in his pocket are slim. Read our hands-on review of the Deejo pocket knife here.
The Best Christmas Gifts for Men in 2020: Grooming
Your guy’s grooming matters, and there are a lot of great products that can make his routine better and smoother — like his skin after you purchase some of these products.
25. Beardbrand Beard Care ProductsCheck Price
Let’s face it: Your guy’s beard is basically a family member growing on his face. He loves it, and so do the guys at Beardbrand. They offer styling balms, beard oil, scissors, brushes, combs, and other beard care essentials for your guy’s facial hair needs.
26. Tiege Hanley Level 1 SystemCheck Price
If your guy’s skincare routine has been lacking, getting him jumpstarted with the Tiege Hanley Level 1 System is a perfect gift set for the holiday season. This kit includes a daily face wash, exfoliating scrub, moisturizer, and acne cream. Tiege Hanley formulates these products specifically for men, and chances are, your guy wants them.
27. Manscaped Perfect PackageCheck Price
While this is a list of gifts for men, you might be performing a Christmas Miracle for yourself with this great gift set. The Manscaped Perfect Package 2.0 has everything your guy needs to tackle body hair management, including clippers, scissors, and body wash.
The Best Christmas Gifts for Men in 2020: Food and Drink
We know you’re looking forward to enjoying some of these food and drink products with your guy, but please wait until he opens them first! Here are our favorite food and drink gifts for 2020.
28. Northern Brewer Premium Craft Brewery Starter KitCheck Price
If your beer lover doesn’t already have his own home-brew kit, he wants one. Make his holiday season with the Northern Brewer Premium Craft Brewery Starter Kit. It has everything he needs to get started creating his own microbrews, and if you’re lucky, he’ll share a beer with you.
29. The Dead Rabbit Mixology & MayhemCheck Price
If you’re targeting a cocktail enthusiast this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with a boozy book. The Dead Rabbit Mixology & Mayhem by Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry, and Jillian Vose details some of this incredible bar’s coolest secrets, and the illustrations are next level.
30. Man Crate Hickory Grilling Crate
Barbecue and smoking enthusiasts alike appreciate a well-curated kit for their next backyard masterpiece. This great gift set includes a smoker box, hickory chips, and all the rubs and sauces your guy needs to put together a fantastic smoked meal.
31. Norlan Whisky Glass SetCheck Price
Whether your favorite guy spells it with an E or not, he loves whiskey. Give him the perfect holiday gift vessel for enjoying his favorite drink with the Norlan Whisky Glass Set. This whiskey glass set comes in pairs of two, so don’t be surprised if he asks you to sit down and enjoy a holiday spirit with him.
32. Cholula Hot Sauce Variety Pack Gift BoxCheck Price
The Cholula Hot Sauce Variety Pack might be the perfect gift for your spicy-loving fella. This unique gift idea comes with six of Cholula’s famous hot sauces, including Original, Chili-Lime, Green Pepper, Sweet Habanero, Chipotle, and Chili-Garlic.
10 Best Shoulder Exercises for Men
Our shoulders are an essential part of our body. Because of our shoulders, we can move accordingly. They also help our bodies with pushing, pulling, and lifting motions. Therefore, it is important to take care of our shoulders and keep them as strong as possible.
When we neglect our shoulders, we might find that we don’t have enough strength to do the pushing, pulling, and lifting chores we need to do. For this reason, it is important to engage ourselves in shoulder workouts so that the strength and power of our shoulders can be developed and maximized to the fullest.
Shoulder workouts are often ignored except by people who know their importance. As you read this article, we assume that you are one of those lucky few who already know the essentials of keeping your shoulders moving and strong. The following content discusses the different shoulder workouts you can try, whether at the gym or in the comfort of your own home.
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1. Barbell Overhead Press
This overhead press works most of your body, including your shoulders. It helps strengthen your core as well as build body mass. It further improves other deficiencies that you may have with your upper body strength, allowing you to do more repetitions for other exercises that you normally could not do.
- Set the bar in a rack and hold it just slightly outside of your shoulder width. Stand with feet apart at shoulder width and engage your core
- Push the barbell up while pushing your head forward and squeezing your shoulder blades as the bar passes through your face and at the peak
- Carefully lower down the barbell
2. Half-Kneeling Archer Row
Normally a great-up warm-up exercise, the half-kneeling archer row is the perfect addition to any shoulder workout you have in mind. You open your chest while you promote external shoulder rotation for both arms.
- With your left knee on the ground, grip the ends of a resistance band in each hand. Breathe and engage your core and glutes
- Raise your arm just a little bit over your shoulder and look at it while tightening your back muscles. Make sure that you keep your right arm straight
- Bring your left hand close to your right elbow as if shooting an arrow. Squeeze your back and shoulder muscles as you do this part
- Return to the original position and repeat
Rest: 1 minute in between sets
3. Arnold Press
If you want that Arnold Schwarzenegger bulk, you might consider adding Arnold Press in your shoulder workouts. This exercise is actually named after the famed politician, actor, and of course, bodybuilder himself!
- Hold a dumbbell for each hand at shoulder height. Make sure that your elbows are bent, and palms face your body
- In one fluid motion, bring your elbows out to the sides while rotating your hands so that the palms are facing forward
- From the side, continue pressing the dumbbells overhead. Your arms should be straight, and your biceps are somewhat level with your ears
- Hold the position for a while and return to your original position by reversing the motion you just did
Rest: 1 minute in between sets
4. Front Raise
Front raise is a beginner exercise that targets your anterior deltoid, which is used in shoulder flexion. It strengthens your shoulders and also works your pecs. It further defines your shoulders in the front and side area.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Straighten your back and keep it straight during the entire course of the exercise
- Hold the weights (dumbbells) on each hand and let your arms hang down
- Engage your abs
- Lift the dumbbells up while inhaling and arms out front keeping palms face down. You may keep your elbows slightly bent to reduce stress on your joints
- Stop lifting once the dumbbells reach shoulder level, and it is parallel to the floor
- Slowly return the dumbbells down to its starting position while exhaling
Rest: 1 minute in between sets
5. Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise
The bent-over dumbbell lateral raise helps your shoulder muscles by targeting your posterior deltoid, which is the back of your shoulders. It further works some of the large muscles in your back. It is a great addition to your shoulder workout routine. You can perform this exercise while standing or sitting.
- Grab a dumbbell for each hand
- For the formation, bend over until the upper body is somewhat in line with the floor. Keep your gaze fixed on the floor while your knees are slightly bent, your back straight, and your chest out
- Keep your elbows straight but not engaged and let the dumbbells hang with palms facing each other
- Raise both dumbbells up and out to your sides until the arms are parallel to the floor and about the same level as your shoulders
- Slowly return the dumbbells down to its original position and repeat
Rest: 1 minute in between sets
6. Standing Barbell Shrugs
Barbell shrugs primarily target your trapezius muscles, which are the muscles in your upper back. However, it doesn’t mean that this shoulder exercise isn’t helpful to your shoulders at all. So, if you want your shoulders more stabilized, this exercise should be added to your shoulder workout routine.
- Stand straight with your feet at shoulder-width apart
- Bend your knees, place your hands just outside your thighs and hold the barbell in an overhand grip. Bring the barbell to waist level
- Lift your shoulders straight like shrugging and hold the barbell up for one to two seconds
- Lower the barbell to its original position
Rest: 1 minute in between sets
7. Face Pull
The face pull targets your rear deltoids. It also helps your rhomboids and middle trapezius. Both these muscles with shoulder movements as well.
- Hang a resistance band on an overhead attachment pole that is high enough for you to do this routine
- Palms facing in, hold each side of the band on each hand
- While squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly pull the bands going to your shoulders
- Hold the position for a few seconds and return to your starting point
Rest: 1 minute in between sets
8. High Pull
The High Pull involves your body’s major muscle groups, especially the glutes, hamstrings, and back. It also targets your traps. If you want a total shoulder workout, this is the exercise for you. The high pull will place enough stress on your shoulders, eliciting muscle growth, which improves your structure and posture.
- With hands wide apart from each other and palms facing downward, hold the bar and place it in front of your thighs
- Bend your knees and waist. The barbell should hang slightly above your knees
- Extend your hips in one sudden smooth motion as if you are jumping and pull the bar high up to your shoulder level. Make sure that your elbows are wide apart
- Hold for a couple of seconds before returning to your starting position
9. Trap Raise
Strong traps help make your shoulder area stronger. It absorbs any shock or blows intended for the shoulders. It also reduces the risk of possible neck and shoulder injuries.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand
- Let the dumbbells hang down on each side and your palms facing together
- Pull in your shoulder blades and raise the dumbbells straight out. Your arms will be parallel to the floor
- Hold this position for a couple of seconds before going back to your starting position
Rest: 1 minute in between sets
10. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press is one of the shoulder workouts that you should never cross off your list. It targets the entire deltoid muscles. You can say that it is a complete shoulder exercise in itself.
- Position yourself on a low-back bench
- Hold a dumbbell on each hand. Raise both dumbbells on shoulder level with palms facing front
- While maintaining a straight spine and head, lift the dumbbells over your head close to each other. Make sure that they are close to each other but not touching
- Keep your arms straight and hold the position for 2-3 seconds
- Slowly return to your starting position
Rest: 1 minute between sets
Shoulder Workout FAQs
How often should I do shoulder workouts?
When you ask fitness gurus and enthusiasts how often they are doing shoulder workouts, you will get varied answers. However, the recommended frequency of doing shoulder workouts is between 2-3 times a week, with at least one day of rest in between sessions. You should also begin your program with light to moderate weights and gradually increase the duration and intensity as you go along. This is done to prevent shoulder injuries.
Is it possible to increase the size of my shoulders?
Yes! You can definitely increase your shoulder size with the right exercise combination. The best exercises that help increase your shoulder strength are the ones with a primary focus on the deltoids. However, you still need to keep the balance within your body and perform various full-range exercises. In the meantime, the recommended exercises to help increase your shoulder size are the barbell shrugs, face pulls, bent-over lateral raise, and front raise, among many others.
How can I best avoid shoulder injuries when working out?
Improper techniques and body mechanics cause common shoulder injuries. Sometimes, recklessness is also to blame whenever injuries occur. To help prevent shoulder injuries while exercising, follow these important tips:
- Control your movements. Being in control of your movement will significantly decrease injuries as you have the power over how you move, and the exercise tools you are using.
- Plan your routines carefully. If you aim to tone your shoulder muscles, it is recommended that you use lighter weights but with more repetitions. On the other hand, if you want to build up your shoulder muscles, use heavier weights with fewer repetitions.
- Practice proper breathing. Exercising isn’t only about your movements, but it is also about your breathing. Inhaling and exhaling during exercises plays a key role in keeping your body fit and healthy and preventing fainting spells caused by a lack of oxygen while working out.
- Allow resting periods. All exercises need resting periods in between sets as well as in between sessions. This is to provide your muscles with a way to replenish the energy lost while exercising. Since your body breaks down glycogen when you exercise, you need to restore your energy by resting. Overworking your muscles will do more harm than good. You need to know when to rest and when to go on.
- Do not forget your warm-up exercises. Warm-ups are recommended for a reason. They prepare your body for a more rigorous exercise routine. Moreover, stretches and other warm-up exercises help your muscles work better during shoulder workouts. It also prevents injuries as well as muscle soreness once the workout is over. Make a habit of doing warm-up exercises every time you start your shoulder workouts or any exercise routine for that matter.
60 Concrete Patio Ideas – Unique Backyard Retreats
A concrete patio can be an unimportant addition to a home’s property or nothing short of an awesome entertaining space, depending on one’s creative insight and eye for potential, of course.
More than just a catchall for mismatched lawn furniture, children’s toys, and the odd barbecue, a concrete patio can set the stage for entertaining and bonding with loved ones, as well as taking some much-needed R&R time.
Landscapers and exterior designers alike, as well as savvy homeowners, have been taking an interest in the concrete patio’s potential in recent decades, and the results have been truly awe-inspiring. A survey provided by the National Association of Home Builders stated that concrete was the most popular choice for patio material in 2012, with poured concrete being the most oft-used outdoor component in upscale home construction. With more design versatility than ever before, the concrete patio continues to attract the eye of homeowners and elite outdoor planners.
Durability and adaptability are the key qualities that make a concrete patio so desirable, and upgrading your outdoor space with a well-crafted concrete patio is more than just an investment, but a lifetime’s worth of luxurious enjoyment. No matter the weather or terrain, these concrete patio ideas ensure years of lounging, dining, and entertaining, with minimal upkeep.
We’ve put together 10 categories of concrete patio ideas for you to take a look at. Whether you need the inspiration to start a project or just want to spruce up the patio you already have, you’ll find a touch or two that you can take with you.
1. Small Concrete Patio Ideas
Not everyone has the space to create a backyard that looks like it’s lifted from a magazine page. If you only have a small backyard or space to create a patio, pouring concrete can be an attractive and affordable option.
One of the great things about concrete patios is that you can pour one just about anywhere in your yard, steep grades aside. If you only have a small space that you can use for a patio, you can even mix the cement bags on-site and pour the patio by the wheelbarrow full.
Small concrete patios can be an awesome way to make use of an otherwise empty or awkward space. Check out these images to get an idea of how you can make a small patio work for you in your yard.
2. Concrete and Wood Patio Ideas
While concrete is a great material for creating patio spaces and walkways, it tends to lack an inviting nature. Whether it’s due to the rough material or the cold color, sometimes these patios just lack something.
Bringing some warmth into a concrete patio space with some wood materials, fencing, benches, or other accents is a great way to make a cold concrete space feel a little more relaxing and casual. A stained wooden bench can provide contrast against a gray patio, making the chair pop while also toning down the frigid personality concrete often has.
There are a lot of ways to integrate some wood into your patio design. You can create built-in benches, buy wooden furniture, build pergolas overhead, or butt the patio up to a wooden structure like a house or fence. Consider some of the ideas below while keeping your patio area in mind, and see if a wooden accent would be possible for you.
3. Concrete Garden Patio Ideas
One of the best ways to liven up a concrete patio is by using plants and garden beds. These green spaces not only contrast the concrete, but they also provide a relaxing environment for you to take in the fresh air. There are few better ways to burn some daylight than with a good book in the garden.
Concrete is especially ideal for garden spaces as it can be poured to take nearly any shape. This means that you can create winding pathways, garden beds, and other shapes that fit into the garden aesthetic. While the material itself may not feel natural, it can adapt to fit the space, so it doesn’t have to be a distraction either.
Whether you have a traditional garden space, a winding backyard pathway through the trees, or a small patio that you’d like to brighten up, mixing plants and concrete might be the right idea. If you’re looking to create some privacy for your patio, look for tall potted shrubs that you can situate around the edges. You’ll be able to enjoy some fresh air with friends without your neighbors peering over the fence at you.
The pictures below will show you how tranquil and relaxing you can make your backyard patio space feel.
4. Seating and Dining Areas
Not everyone has a deck in their backyard for entertaining and dining, and they may feel the ordeal of building one is over their head. The great thing about concrete patios is that they just take a little planning and sweat equity to pull off. Pouring a concrete patio in your empty backyard might be the easiest way to create a dry, level space for a table and chairs set or some lounge chairs.
You can make these slabs as simple or as complex as you’d like. The main goal is to have a designated space in your yard for furniture without sinking into the mud or tearing up the grass. Some simple carpentry skills, a wheelbarrow, a garden hose, and some basic tools will have you well on your way to creating a perfect spot to enjoy some barbecue with friends.
5. Concrete Patios with Firepits
There’s hardly a more enjoyable way to spend a summer night than with good friends around an open fire. You don’t have to pack the car with your tent and sleeping bag to enjoy the heat of a fire pit. Making a fire pit the center of your patio is a great way to gather everyone around for a toast and a laugh.
There are several ways to design and build fire pits, but you need to choose one that compliments your concrete patio. You can do this with cinderblocks, bricks, or by using forms and pouring concrete. Whatever your choice of fire pit material, this can be a great addition to a patio.
There are a few things to keep in mind when building a fire pit. Paver base makes a great foundation for fire pits, as it can become very hard and stable when packed but will drain during rainy weather. Gravel may seem like a good material for a fire pit base, but you should know some stones may have water trapped inside of them that may expand when heated. This can cause chunks of rock to take flight and could actually hurt you.
Using a metal barrier like this Garden Treasures 36″ Galvanized Fire Ring is ideal for keeping your fire stable and safe. They can be dug into the ground and filled with paver base before the remaining structure of the fire pit is built. Grab some inspiration from the pictures below.
6. Tiered Concrete Patio Ideas
If your backyard space is sloped, you might be frustrated into thinking your options are limited. The truth is that you can use a tiered-design idea to make several levels in your backyard that each serve a different function.
There are many ways to make a tiered concrete patio area look amazing. By creating a tier for cooking, a tier for dining, and a tier for lounging, you’ve created options. Your guests can now choose from 3 distinct spaces to enjoy, and you’ve avoided pouring one large patio that can feel more like a parking lot than your backyard getaway.
While you can connect the tiers with a narrow set of stairs, consider full-width steps. Steps the entire width of the patio look like waterfalls and break the spaces up without separating them. If you would like to use the stairs idea, consider flanking either side with a raised garden bed or accent feature that will pull the look together but still define the patio tiers from one another.
If you need some ideas to pull a few styling cues from, the images below contain some great examples of perfectly executed tiered patios.
7. Ideas for Concrete Pavers and Individual Pads
Not all concrete patios are poured as one large slab. There are other options that can make a project easier and more affordable. Concrete pavers and small, individual pads can provide a more unique style than a large slab stretched out across the yard.
There are some really cool ways of pulling this look off, and you should check out the ideas below to develop a plan as to what you’d like your patio to look like. Individual pads can be poured separately, anywhere from a few inches to a few feet apart. What this does is allow you to use stones, gravel, or grass to create borders around the pads and frame them in place. These pads provide flat surfaces for chairs and tables to sit on without rocking, but also create some visual interest between the pads to help your patio stand out.
Aside from pouring individual pads, you can also use concrete pavers to accomplish something similar. Pavers come in various shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find something that works for your design idea. The downside is that large pavers can be very heavy, so line up some help or throw on your back brace before you dig in.
8. Concrete Pool Patio Ideas
Backyard pool and patios are meant for parties, barbecues, and hot-day hang-outs. Being able to take a dip in the pool is a great way to cool off and keep the party going when the sun’s beating down. By creating a backyard pool and concrete patio space, you and your guests will be able to enjoy the ideal summer oasis.
No one wants to stand and bake like a worm in the hot sun. The key to a great concrete pool patio is having plenty of seating for your guests. Consider a few matching table-and-chair sets, complete with umbrellas. Not everyone will want to swim, so providing all the necessary seats and tables with shade is paramount to ensuring your friends’ enjoyment.
Take a look through these concrete pool patio ideas before you try to pull off the ultimate backyard bash. A few styling cues from these awesome patios and you’ll have the inspiration you need to throw an awesome summer banger.
9. Covered Patio Ideas
Providing some refuge from the sun and other elements may be the best way to get the most use out of your patio space. By creating a covered or shady space to hang out under, you can enjoy the patio year-round and in nearly any weather condition.
Gazebos and covered porches will protect your patio space the most from the elements. They’re expensive to build but they’re perfect if you’re trying to create an outdoor space with a living-room personality. There are several ideas in the photos below that you can rob an idea or two from.
Pergolas are only really effective at shading the sun for a few hours a day but they’re still worth considering for several reasons. You can usually construct a pergola for less money than a gazebo, which will allow you to spend a little more of your budget on furniture or lighting. Also, you might not want to block out the sun completely, so you can design and orient a pergola to allow sun during particular hours of the day during the summer months. You can also outfit a pergola with a sunshade if you’re looking to get a little more protection from the sun than the bare frame offers.
10. Stamped Concrete Patios
If you like the idea of a concrete patio but don’t really enjoy the look of a plain slab, there’s a great option available that you should check into. Stamped patios are solid slabs, but have patterns literally stamped into the wet concrete to provide a particular look. These patterns can look like natural stone, pavers, bricks, or a combination of patterns to create the desired look.
If you’re planning a large patio area but you’re concerned that it will look more like a parking lot than the perfectly planned party-space you had in mind, a stamped pattern might be just the ticket for you. These patterns break up wide-open patio designs, create flow, and can accent a sitting or fire pit area.
Look through the pictures below to see what type of effect a stamped pattern can do for a patio space. Try picturing these spaces as plain slabs to really appreciate how much interest the patterns create underfoot.
Concrete Patio FAQs
How do I maintain my concrete patio?
Concrete is super strong and durable but does require a little bit of maintenance. Due to its porous nature, concrete should be cleaned and sealed every one to three years. If you maintain it properly, a concrete patio can last up to 30 years.
Is it okay if it rains after I pour my concrete?
When concrete cures, it’s actually the end of a chemical reaction, not the evaporation of the water. If concrete dries too quickly, it can actually weaken the reaction and bond. What you don’t want is excess water in the mixture as that will affect the chemical reaction as well. Rain will not penetrate into poured concrete, so yes, it’s okay if it rains after you pour your slab.