Health and Wellness

5 Underestimated Exercises You Should Do More Often

By : Eric Bogy

Have you ever been in the gym and looked at what other people are doing?  I mean, really looked and paid attention?  If you did, you would notice that everyone seems to be performing very similar workouts, using very similar exercises.


Bench press, barbell squat, curls press-downs, and planks are just a few of the usual suspects that you will probably see—and rightfully so.  However, there are a several underestimated exercises that you should do more often:


1.Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

Using a neutral grip (palms facing your ribs) takes a lot of the strain off of your shoulders, so it’s perfect for developing lean muscle mass and strength in your chest, shoulders, and triceps.  It is also great for adding some pounds to your bench press.


When performing a neutral grip dumbbell press:

  • Lie down on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor and the dumbbells extended.
  • Rotate the dumbbells until your palms are facing inward towards your ribs.
  • While keeping your shoulders tight to your rib cage, lower the dumbbells to your side.
  • Return to the starting position.

2.Weighted Jump Squat

Most of us are familiar with the power that can be accumulated by performing Olympic lifts (cleans, snatches, and jerks).  The issue here is that it can take a long time to become proficient at these exercises.


If you are looking for an easy way to increase power, explosiveness, and athleticism; just add some moderate resistance to your jump squats.  Performing weighted jump squats is simple and doesn’t consume a lot of time to master.


When performing a weighted jump squat:

  • Wear a weighted vest or hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
  • While maintaining good postural alignment, squat down and explosively jump into the air.
  • Get full hip extension and softly land and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 3-5 reps.


3.Bulgarian Split Squat

This is a great exercise to add into your fitness program because it benefits a wide spectrum of users.

They are perfect to perform in a bodyweight only program.  If you’re in the “bigger and stronger” business, Bulgarian split squats work well as a substitute for barbell squats for those with back issues.  They can also be used to improve balance and stability.

When performing Bulgarian split squats:

  • Stand in front of a flat bench one stride length away.
  • Extend one leg behind you and place it on the top of the bench.
  • While maintaining good postural alignment, squat down until your knee almost touches the floor.
  • Return to the starting position.

If resistance is required, then you can hold a pair of dumbbells or put on a weighted vest.


4.Plank Row With Resistance Band

Adding a band row to a plank is just taking something great and making it even better.  By adding in a rowing motion, you are now adding some concentric and eccentric contractions to the king of isometric exercises.


The rowing motion adds the difficulty of keeping your body stable while in the plank position.  Every time your arm extends and contracts, it continuously keeps your body unstable.  This forces you to work harder as you constantly adjust to the varying resistance of the band.


When performing a plank row with a resistance band:

  • Attach a resistance band to a secure object.
  • Get into the forearm plank position in front of the band.
  • Grab the band and pull it towards you until your hand is in line with your shoulder.
  • Return to the starting position with your arm fully extended.
  • While performing the rowing motion, keep your hips square with the floor and maintain proper alignment.
  • Complete 10-15 reps, then repeat with the opposite arm.

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Although it’s not an individual exercise, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is constantly underestimated.  HIIT has been proven over and over to be one of the most effective exercise modalities in fitness.


HIIT can effectively be done in as little as 4 minutes using the Tabata protocol.  The real reason it gets underestimated is because of what happens after your workout.  Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) occurs when your body tries to restore oxygen levels from HIIT.

EPOC continues to burn calories while working to recover and can last for up to 24 hours after you have completed your workout.


HIIT workouts can accommodate just about any exercise you can think off.  While calisthenics exercises are commonly used, HIIT workouts can be centered around stationary equipment like the rower, treadmill, or elliptical machine.


When performing HIIT on an elliptical machine, try this:

  • 5 minutes warm-up (light effort using light resistance).
  • 20 seconds max effort (go as hard as possible using heavy resistance).
  • 10 seconds moderate effort.
  • 20 seconds max effort.
  • 10 seconds moderate effort.
  • 20 seconds max effort.
  • 10 seconds moderate effort.
  • 20 seconds max effort.
  • 10 seconds moderate effort.
  • Repeat one more time, then perform a 3-minute cool down using very light effort.

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