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Training

10 Unusual Exercises Your Workout’s Been Missing

Hands up if you think there’s a direct correlation between losing motivation to train and Christmas adverts appearing on the TV? Who’s been spending more time stocking up on mince pies than keeping track of their macros?

Don’t worry, we’re not trying to play the guilt card here — we only want to let you know that we’re aware of the trials and temptations that the festive season can bring, and we’re on hand to help.

 

Need help with motivation?

One of the worst things you can do when it comes to making progress is to let things go stale. Keeping your training fresh with challenging new exercises won’t just give your body a workout, but your mind too. How many times have you coasted through the same arm day routine of bicep curl after bicep curl?

We decided to get ourselves over to a gym to demonstrate how simple it can be to shake up your routine. With the help of two more-than-willing volunteers — Marc and Danny — we put ten unconventional exercises to the test.

Marc is a manager and personal trainer all rolled into one. His love for fitness and weight training started from going to the gym with his dad as a teenager, and he quickly became focused on bulking up. Over time, he’s learnt that above all, consistency is key. Check out his Instagram @marc_puregym to find out more about his journey, transformation, and for daily motivation.

Danny is a semi-professional footballer, and part of the Myprotein family. He’s been into weight training for around 8 years. Danny loves the outdoors and finding things to push him both mentally and physically. Follow him on Instagram @dannygibbons90 or check out his blog — www.dannygibbons.co.uk —  for honest advice and motivation.

This is how they got on…

10 unusual exercises to add to your workout

1. Prone DB row

Equipment: Adjustable bench, dumbbells

How to: Lie in a prone position on the adjustable bench at approx. 45 degrees, arms fully extended with dumbbells in hand, row and squeeze whilst keeping elbow close to sides. Return to start position and repeat.

Muscles worked: Traps, rhomboids, rear deltoids

Why: To build a stronger and more developed back

 

2. Dumbbell snatch

Equipment: Dumbbell

How to: Start in a strong wide stance with dumbbell central between legs. Squat to lift, tighten core, power pull and drive weight through heels until arm is fully extended above head.

Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back, core, shoulders

Why: Excellent fully body exercise — perfect for gaining strength and burning calories

 

3. Floor seated lat pull

Equipment: Lat pull machine, single handles

How to: Grab the single handle attachments on the lat pull machine and take a seat on the floor, legs either side of the seat/frame. From arms fully extended above head stretching the lats, pull down to a finishing position elbows into sides. Slowly extend back to start and repeat.

Muscles worked: Latissimus dorsi

Why: To build a wider, stronger back

Key info: The reason behind sitting on the floor is to extend the stretch of the lats at the top of the movement

 

4. Side plank lat raise

Equipment: Mat, dumbbell

How to: Take a side plank position on the mat, dumbbell in hand, arm by side. Whilst keeping the core strong and engaged, slowly raise the dumbbell until stacked over shoulder. Slowly lower to start position and repeat.

Muscles worked: Core, deltoids

Why: Good to gain core strength and develop shoulder shape

Key info: Ideal as a shoulder workout finisher

 

5. Floor seated dead stop military press

Equipment: Squat rack or Olympic platform, Olympic barbell

How to: Set up platform or rack with safety bars to match your shoulder height whilst seated on the floor. Take a seat on the floor in the rack with barbell positioned just under chin. Sit strong and upright with core engaged. Press bar until arms fully extended overhead. Return to start position with bar rested on safety bars. Repeat.

Muscles worked: Deltoids, traps, core

Why: To strengthen and build shoulders whilst developing core strength

Key info: Using the safety bars as a dead stop alternative will allow you to push safely to limits and beyond

 

6. Half-kneeling dumbbell press

Equipment: Mat, dumbbell

How to: Take to one knee on a mat with dumbbell in hand on the knee-down side. Keep the core tight and engaged. Start with dumbbell at shoulder height, press until dumbbell is fully extended overhead. Slowly return to start and repeat.

Muscles worked: Core, deltoids

Why: To develop overall core and functional strength whilst developing shoulders

Key info: Great exercise for single shoulder insolation

 

7. Floor press into inverted row (superset)

Equipment: Olympic platform, barbell, mat

How to: Set the safety rails on the Olympic platform to a height just reachable whilst lying on your back on the floor. Lie on your back on a mat, central on the platform. Unrack the barbell and carry out floor chest press for 8-12 reps. Immediately after re-racking the bar take a wide grip and being and inverted row pulling your body up, chest to bar for the same rep range.

Muscles worked: Pectorals, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, biceps

Why: To build and develop the chest and upper back

Key info: Great way to hit two major body parts with limited time

 

8. Kettlebell cross-body clean and press

Equipment: Kettlebell

How to: Start with a strong wide stance, kettlebell inside one ankle. Tighten core, squat and reach across body to grab kettlebell, clean up and across body whilst turning kettlebell over wrist, from shoulder position press kettle overhead. Return to start and repeat.

Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, quads, core, lats, deltoids

Why: Full body movement, excellent for building functional and core strength

Key info: Perfect if on the clock and wanting a full body, calorie burning routine

 

9. Battle ropes tri-set

Equipment: Battle ropes

How to: Start in a strong wide stance, half squat, core tight. 20 seconds double waves (power), 20 seconds single waves (speed), 20 seconds ripple (burn).

Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, core, back, delts

Why: To build speed and stamina, and burn calories

 

10. TufNut — push, flip, carry

Equipment: TufNut

How to: Various combination of use including low-level power push, deadlift flip, and lift and carry

Muscles worked: Full body

Why: To build strength, speed, stamina and burn calories

Key info: Full body fat burning or muscle building benefits

 

Take Home Message

Feeling inspired to try out some of these exercises yourself? There’s nothing like switching up your gym routine for motivation and real results.

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Lauren Dawes

Lauren Dawes

Editor

Lauren is an English Literature graduate originally from the South. She’s always loved swimming, has discovered the power of weight training over the past few years, and has lots of room for improvement in her weekly hot yoga class. On the weekends she’s usually cooking or eating some kind of brunch, and she enjoys trying out new recipes with her housemates – especially since shaking off student habits, like mainly surviving off pasta. Above all, she’s a firm believer in keeping a balance between the gym and gin. Find out more about Lauren’s experience here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-dawes-b4416aaa/


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