There are hundreds of exercises that you can perform with a single dumbbell. Not to mention barbells, benches, medicine balls and kettlebells. However with most of our workouts we like to play it safe and stick to 5, maybe 6 different exercise variations.
It's time to shake things up!
Here are the top 5 exercises that you're (probably) not doing that you need to be:
1. Front squats
Back squats are great, don't get us wrong, but it's the front squat that can really help develop the quadriceps muscle on the front of the leg. And unlike back squats where there is a lot of the weight baring down on to your lower back, front squats help you keep a more central and stable foundation due to the bar going across the front of your shoulders.
It might take you a while to get used to 'pushing' your elbows up to keep the bar in place, but once your arm flexibility improves you'll find front squats easier and more satisfying to perform than any other variation. Warm up with just the bar and stretch your elbows in between your sets to help with the next one.
2. Dumbbell Incline Bench Lateral Raise
Lie down sideways on an inclined bench with a dumbbell in one hand. Make sure that your opposite shoulder is pressed against the incline bench and the arm is lying across your body with the palm around your navel.
With a slight bend in the arm that is holding the dumbbell perform a lateral raise towards the ceiling. When lowering the weight bring it back to its original position by your side.
This is a fantastic lateral raise variation that prevents any 'dead weight' areas of the movement you find when standing up straight, meaning that there is tension all the way through the movement . Trust us when we say that you'll want to start with a light weight.
3. Single Arm Cable Pulldown
Most of our back workouts consist of lat pull downs, bent over rows and T-bar rows. Mix things up a bit then with single arm cable pulldowns. Ditch the seat and instead take a knee, pulling the cable down towards the opposite side of your body which has its knee up.
You'll really feel a good stretch with this one as you control the cable on its upwards movement, much more so than the two handed lat pulldown. Plus, you'll also be able to really pull your arm back and squeeze when the cable is tucked in by your side.
Don't be afraid of the weight on this one. Being a unilateral movement means that you'll be able to go heavier than you expect.
4. Kettlebell deadlifts
Learning correct form and technique for the deadlift can take time, especially if your back is one of your weaker areas. To help you we say ditch the bar and grab yourself a pair of kettlebells.
Instead of reaching over the bar and risking bad form from the get go the pair of kettlebells are conveniently placed at your sides, immediately helping you maintain a solid upright position. Then it's just a case of keeping your core tight, chest up and standing to an upright position with the kettlebells in hand, squeezing your glutes all the way through the movement.
Control the kettlebells slowly down until they touch the floor, still keeping your chest high, and then go straight into your next repetition.
Start light with this one and work your way up to a weight that is challenging for 10-12 repetitions.
5. Prowler pushes
You know that thing that looks like a sled in the corner that nobody ever uses? That's the prowler and there's two reasons why people tend to stay clear of it: 1. Because they don't know how to use it, and 2. Because they do know how to use it and know that it hurts. A lot!
The reality is that prowler pushes are incredibly tough and will reduce your legs to jelly in a matter of seconds. On the flip side though they are one of the best explosive cardiovascular exercises you can do and are a great way to burn an insane amount of calories, all the while helping build solid toned muscle.
You should not be skipping this exercise! There's a reason why professional rugby clubs all over the world use prowler pushes as part of their weekly training and why the CrossFit games always include a prowler push of some kind. And those guys and gals have some of the best legs in the business.
So there you have it, our top 5 exercises that you're (probably) not doing.
Why not take a break from the standard exercises you've been performing for weeks on end and give these 5 new ideas a try. We're sure that you'll see and feel the difference in no time.
For more information on the above exercises and how to mix up your routine please speak to one of our TribeFit Personal Trainers who will be happy to help.
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