Many people get into the habit of doing the same exercises in the gym, day in, day out. And while any form of activity is good for you, it can cause you to plateau.
In this post, we take a look at some uncommon exercises that can really help you build strength and endurance. Check them out below.
Smith Machine Calf Raise
How many times per week do you train your calves? If you’re like the majority of gym-goers, the answer is zero. You don’t train them at all.
That’s a problem, though. Not only are your calves among the most-used parts of your body, but they also add balance to your physique. Having a massive chest and small calves doesn’t look good.
One way to train calves is to get on the Smith machine. Load up the bar with a heavy weight and then place your feet on the edge of a block. Then allow them to drop down below parallel before activating your calves to lift the weight.
You’ve probably done a few standing “good mornings” if you’re a long-time gym-goer to target the lower back. Chances are, though, that you’ve never done this exercise sitting down.
The movement is actually quite popular among the athletic community. By sitting down, you can target a portion of the hyperextension movement that you can’t while you stand up. Just make sure that you use a low weight to start with. You don’t want to injure the hip joint.
Pistol squats look easy, but they are notoriously difficult to get right. You have to nail your balance and build massive strength in each leg individually. It’s not easy to hoist yourself into the air just using one leg. Learn how to pistol squat with this in depth article.
The farmer’s walk is an old-school favorite, but one of the best ways to build strength across the body. What’s nice about this movement is that you’re actually walking while you are doing it. It builds functional strength that you don’t get if you just use the leg press. Pick a weight that lets you take between 50 and 100 steps before dropping it.
Banded Skull Crushers
Lying back on a bench and doing a few barbell skull crushers is a great way for building strength in the triceps. However, there’s another way to do the exercise: use bands instead. These increase the difficulty of the movement towards the top, providing a nice contrast to barbells, which make it more difficult at the bottom.
Barbell Hip Thrusts
The type of exercises people do in the gym tends to change with the fashion. Unfortunately, this rarely has anything to do with how our bodies actually work.
One example of this is the plight of the hip thrust. This exercise was exceedingly common in the past, but now you rarely see it. It’s important because it strengthens the trunk and helps to reduce knee pain. To perform the exercise, rest your shoulders on a bench and lay a barbell over your hips. Then push through your heels and hips to lift it upwards.