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Unconventional workout: Watch 7 of the best exercises you're not doing

Belfast PT Alan Waterman demonstrates the best exercises you're not doing, but probably should.

By Alan Waterman

When it comes to training, there's often a number of exercises which people will argue have to be part of a weight-training programme.

These exercises are usually the tried-and-tested, biggest, baddest movements we can perform, and which will have your body worked from head to toe.

However, years of poor training may have left some of us feeling a little bashed up, others might have certain movement restrictions, and others still may experience pain when performing particular exercises. Hell, some us might just be bored of doing the same old stuff every time we walk into the gym.

Whereas it's important to remember that there are no exercises which we have to do if they are not appropriate for us and our body, we might find that certain subsitutions can still allow us to perform the movement pattern in a much friendlier way.

Want to find a better alternative to some exercises you may struggle with, or simply want to shake up your training routine a little?

Read on below to find out about 7 of the best exercises you've been missing out on...

1. Trap-Bar/Hex Bar Deadlift

This can be a great substitute for the conventional barbell Deadlift, effectively targeting all the same muscle groups, but often easier on the knees and lower back, therefore reducing the risk factors often associated with the Deadlift, as well as being more appropriate for those with nagging injuries/pain in those areas.

Deadlifts are highly effective at hitting the often neglected muscles of the back-side of the body (the "posterior chain") which can help add muscle to big muscle groups (which will aid with burning bodyfat,) as well as improving posture, and helping prevent injury.

2. Landmine Squat

There's no doubt that the Barbell Squat is an incredibly effective total-body exercise, and  there's nothing like sticking a heavy weight on you back and shifting it.

However, poor shoulder mobility, or bashed up joints can make it an inappropriate exercise choice for many.

Die-hard squat fanatics will insist that there's no substitute for the traditional squat, but you may have to make some considerations if your body is telling you otherwise.

The Landmine Squat is a fantastic substitute, as it can alleviate a lot of the strain posed upon the knees and lower back, by forcing our hips back as we squat. The front-loaded of the weight is great for hammering the core, too.

3. Rack Pull-Up

A great alternative to the seated machine Pulldown, as it allows us to get used to handling our own bodyweight before progressing onto the bigger challenge of attempting full Pull-Ups, as well as requiring slightly more core recruitment - which again sets us up better for beginning to work on full Pull-Ups.)

A huge multijoint movement for the upper body, targeting the biggest muscles in the upper back, it's a great choice for developing these muscles and building upper body strength.

Just as we would add weight on the machine Pulldown version, we can add additional bodyweight resistance by straightening out or elevating one or two feet, which will increase the difficulty, but help us get stronger at the movement over time.

4. One-Arm Landmine Press

Whereas the barbell Overhead Press can be a problem movement for those of us with poor shoulder mobility or lower back pain, the Landmine Press effectively eliminates these problems, whilst still successfully working the same muscle groups of the shoulders and arms.

Performing the exercise as a single-arm movement increases core activity as we work to prevent bending to the side, however, we can still perform the exercise with two hands, if preferred.

5. Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl

Walk into any commercial gym, and likelihood is that you'll see a Seated Leg-Curl machine.

Whereas there's nothing wrong with this piece of kit per se, it may not be great for those who suffer from knee issues, and it can force us to shift our lower backs into a compromised position.

It also only works one of the main functions of the hamstrings - there's two we should aim to work.

The Swiss Ball Curl version can effectively address all these issues, and may be a better option. We can also continue to progress it to more challenging single-leg versions as our strength and stability improves.

6. Face-Pulls

Many of us are guilty of concentrating the majority of our training on the "mirror muscles" - those on the front side of our body.

This can easily lead to potential postural issues and injury risks, as we neglect to efficiently balance out the work on all the opposing muscle groups on the back side of our bodies.

The Face-Pull is a great exercise for strengthening these muscle groups, and is particularly good for those of us who spend much of our day seated at a desk, where these muscles are at risk of naturally becoming weaker.

7. Hollow Rock Hold

When we think of core stability exercises, the Plank is typically our go-to choice. Although a fantastic movement, there are others out there which work the same function of the core just as effectively.

The Hollow Rock Hold strengthens our ability to maintain low back positioning (hugely important for preventing injury) while activating our core to a huge degree.

As with the Plank, we can continue to develop our strength by increasing the amount of time we perform the exercise, as well as by changing our hand position as we hold ourselves in place. Your rock solid abs await.

Full-Body Unconventional Workout:

  • Trap Bar Deadlift: 3 x 5 reps
  • Landmine Squat: 3 x 6-8 reps
  • One-Arm Landmine Press: 6-8 each
  • Assisted Pull-Up: 3 x 8-10 reps
  • Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl: 3 x 8-10 reps
  • Face-Pull: 3 x 10-12 reps
  • Holllow Rock Hold: 3 x 30-60 seconds

Want to learn more about Phoenix? Make sure to come to the studio on October 21, where, alongside others, you can discover what some of the best local independent fitness businesses have to offer. Why not check the Facebook page for more information?

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