It is not uncommon to see most people in the gym performing the same exercises day after day, week after week, year after year. This is one of the most common reasons people never see results and quit. Even some of the more experienced gym rats end up falling into the rut of performing the same movements. So, with that in mind I want to cover some of the more effective and unusual exercises that should help blast through plateaus and add a lot of fun to your next routine.
Muscles Emphasized: Hamstrings, Glutes, and Low Back
1. Place the bar along the rear delts. This is lower than with the squat, but to prevent rolling of the bar during the movement.
2. Arms should be placed wide to promote bending of the hips.
3. Chest should be tall and a curve should be placed in the low back.
4. Soft bend in the knees.
1. Stick the butt back thinking of bending at the hips.
2. Shift the weight back towards the heels.
3. Keep the chest elevated and don't lose the curve in the low back.
1. Think of pushing through the heels and thrusting the hips forward.
2. Keep the chest tall and the curve in the low back should never be lost.
3. At the top you won't be completely upright, but have a slight lean.
Muscles Empahsized: Hamstrings and Glutes
1. This can be done by either placing your feet under a stable piece of equipment or have a partner hold the ankles.
2. Have the body completely in line with the eyes straight ahead.
3. Have hands up as when lowering most will reach a point where the hit a free fall.
1. Concentrating on pulling with the hamstrings by placing force against the support on the ankles.
2. Keep the body aligned and do not bend at the hips.
3. Catch the body once your are unable to control the lowering.
1. Depending upon level of strength, one can push with the hands to get yourself up or once strength has increased one can pull themselves back up using their hamstrings.
Muscles Emphasized: Low Back, Glutes, and Hamstrings
1. It is unfortunate that most gyms do not have a reverse hyperextension machine. If this is the case you can try to replicate the movement by using an elevated platform. Make sure it is stable.
2. Place the torso on the bench with the hips right at the edge so that the hips can rotate during the movement.
3. Legs should be kept straight.
4. Weight can be placed in between the ankles if using another apparatus.
1. Keep the legs almost completely straight.
2. Pull by squeezing the butt cheeks and pulling with the hamstrings.
3. Pull the lower body up till the legs are equal to the upper body.
1. The reverse of the raising.
2. Make sure to perform the lowering under control.
3. Utilize full range of motion.
Muscles Emphasized: Deltoids, Obliques, and Latissimus Dorsi
1. This can be done using a dumbbell, barbell (as pictured), or a kettlebell. Start with a dumbbell if this is your first time.
2. Holding the dumbbell by the shoulder with one hand, place the feet slightly wider than hip width.
3. The opposite leg should be slightly bent.
1. Keep the chest tall, press the weight above the head as you side bend to the opposite side. Try to touch the ground.
2. Should be looking either straight ahead or up at the weight.
3. Make sure to lockout the arm to stabilize the shoulder.
4. Side bend only as far as their is no pain.
1. Start to slowly come up from touching the floor.
2. As you are coming up slowly lower the dumbbell back to the shoulder.
Lean Away Chin-up
Muscles Empahsized: Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Biceps
1. Start as you would a typical chin-up.
2. Palms face you and the arms should be full extended.
1. Pull-up so the bar touches the chest.
2. Rotate the body at the bar so it is almost perpendicular to the ground.
3. By holding the scapulas together and squeezing the biceps, prepare for the lowering.
1. Emphasize a slow lowering (approximately 4 seconds).
2. Allow the scapulas to slowly drift apart.
3. At the end the arms should full extend back to the starting position.