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
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
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
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.