Five awesome exercises you probably aren't doing
Posted on 13th August 2020 at 12:50
Today I share five exercises you have either forgotten or never done before which you should think about adding into your training over the coming weeks.
It can be so easy to do the same exercises all the time. Now although it is great to get consistency with exercises so you can see progress and get stronger over time it's also nice to add variety into your training and add some fresh stimulus.
With getting back into the swing of things now gyms are open again it's a great time to look at your training and change things up with some fresh exercises.
Whether the goal is muscle gain or fat loss the five exercises below are exercises which I think can add some real benefit to your training and chances are you probably haven't done at least 2-3 of them.
I regularly programme these exercises for clients as I feel they offer some great benefits.
1. Single Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press
I programme this exercise a lot for clients and think it's really under valued.
I remember when I first picked up these exercise, from a natural body builder called Jeff Alberts and when I first did it I found it so effective. The reason why I think this exercise is so good is because when a lot of people do dumbbell shoulder press they try go too heavy and don't hit good range of motion.
This pressing variation is pretty humbling and requires a lot more control but I also feel this helps create more tension through the delts. The nature of doing a single arm exercise is that you can give each side a lot more focus and therefore are more diligent with form.
Also being a standing exercise requires more core stability so adds a little more bang for your buck. If you have had issues with pain while shoulder pressing this is a great exercise to strip things back and build your overhead pressing back up.
Get strong and stable with this exercise and a lot of your pressing exercises will thank you for it. I like this exercise performed in the 8-12 rep range over 3-4 sets.
2. Back Extension (glute focused)
Whether you are a guy or girl you should all want to build strong glutes.
They help in so many other lower body exercises, help reduce back pain and who doesn't want to fill their shorts properly?
The back extension when done correctly is one of the best movements you can do to hit your glutes and to a lessor extent your hamstrings.
It's a great exercise as nailing your form is quite easy compared to RDLs or hip thrusts. It also creates a lot of tension and works well in higher rep ranges around 15-30 and you only need 2-3 sets to get a good glute pump.
The main thing to really focus on is ensuring you round your upper back to take the lower back out of the movement. This goes against pretty much all other exercises where a neutral spine is advised but by rounding the upper back you keep the tension on the glutes for the whole set.
The T-bar row is a classic body building exercise which seems to have become less popular for some reason. Maybe it's due to the fact it has become an exercise where people just try and move the most amount of weight possible which results in bad form and potential injury.
However when you go a little lighter with the goal of achieving more range of motion you can really build a big strong back using this exercise. Also people make the mistake of adding on such big plates that you can't achieve full range but when you use 10 or 15kg plates it works a lot better.
For me it has the same mechanical tension benefits of the bent over row but with the control of a seated row. You also need to keep your core and glutes super tight so again this adds a little bit more bang for your buck in terms of building full body strength. Rep ranges of 8-12 work well for this over 3-4 sets.
The Smith Guillotine Press
Most guys I work with want to build their upper chest and that's why for those who do have a smith machine at their gym I programme this exercise.
The pec can be broken down into two heads, the sternal head and the clavicular head. The clavicular head (upper pec) can be quite hard to activate due to the sternal (lower pec) being quite a bit stronger but the angle of press for this exercise is very effective to hit the clavicular head.
The name is a give away in that you want to almost lower the bar down to your neck and therefore hitting the clavicular head. I like the smith machine as you can keep the bar path very consistent which keeps the clavicualr head constantly engaged and you can really build up some good tension.
Also the smith machine can work well to be a little easier on the shoulders compared to other incline pressing movements. Rep ranges between 10-15 over 3-4 sets work pretty well.
Bulgarian Split Squat
This exercise may put the fear of god into many but you cannot deny it's benefits and for me there aren't any better single leg exercises out there.
The bulgarian targets the quads and glutes but will also allow you to address any muscular imbalances and if you get good at this exercise chances are you will build some very big and strong legs. It is also a great exercise to open up and mobilise the hips which can become very tight when sitting at a desk all day.
You can tweak your foot stance and upper body tilt to hit the quads or glutes more. I personally like to use dumbbells to load this exercise as it's easier to balance than a barbell and almost feels like the weights are pulling you down to the ground and keeping you anchored in position.
Rep ranges of 8-12 over 2-3 sets is a good target. Feel free to go higher than this if you are someone who enjoys torturing yourself.
I hope you enjoy adding in a couple of these exercises into your training over the coming weeks and months. Remember that consistency is really important with training but from time to time mixing up a few of your exercises can be just what's needed to eek out more progress.
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