You should never feel humiliated in the gym. You should work out in an environment that makes you feel comfortable and motivated. That being said, there are some awkward exercises you wouldn’t be caught dead doing in the midst of a crowded weight room.
Each exercise has a strategically matched superset exercise to maximise your results. Whether you want to incorporate a few of these moves into your weekly workouts, or perform them back-to-back is up to you.
Regardless, you’ll improve muscle imbalances and weaknesses, grow stronger, and become more flexible. Your ego may be bruised at first, but you’ll quickly find your embarrassment weaning, and your confidence becoming bulletproof.
1. Glute Bridge
This is one of the best fundamental exercises that engages your abs, lower back, hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings—and one of the easiest to incorporate into a warm-up or workout. Most guys skip hip bridges because they look simple. Glute bridges are great for activating the muscles in your lower body and warming up your spine.
- Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Keep your arms relaxed at your sides.
- Slowly raise your hips off the floor by activating your glutes and hamstrings, pushing your heels into the floor.
- Keep your glutes and abs engaged.
- Once you’re at the top of the movement, pause for 2 seconds (your body should be in a straight line from your knees to shoulders).
- Return to the starting position by slowly unrolling your body from the top to the base of your spine.
- Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
2. Dive Bomber Push-ups
This pushup variation is an excellent full-body movement that dynamically builds strength and flexibility in your chest, shoulders, back, hips, and triceps. Plus, you’ll get a nice stretch in your hamstrings and lower back.
- Start in a downward dog yoga position with your hands planted on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and stick your butt (you guessed it) high in the air.
- Keep your back straight, not hunched, so you look like an inverted ‘V’.
- Now, press into your heels, really focusing on keeping your legs as straight as possible to get a stretch in your hamstrings.
- From there, lower your shoulders and swoop down so your chest brushes the ground.
- Hold the position for 2 to 3 seconds, then press yourself up so that your back is arched and your arms straight.
- Now reverse the movement by lowering back down so your chest brushes the ground again, and you return to the starting position.
- Complete 3 sets of 6-10 reps.
Related article: Gain Total-Body Strength With These 17 Push-Up Variations
3. Turkish Get-up
The movement’s a bit awkward to navigate at first, but it’s worth taking the time to perfect the Turkish getup. This is a total-body exercise and, though it may not seem like it, it absolutely shreds your core because it requires activation and stabilization.
It also helps develop your shoulder muscles and their overall stability, helps to fix any imbalances, and is a great metabolic exercise since it requires all the muscles in your body to work together to complete the movement.
- You can do this with a kettlebell or dumbbell—just be sure to start out light.
- Lying on your back, grab the weight with your left hand, and lift and lock your arm.
- Bend your left knee, and keep your right leg straight out on the ground.
- Then, pushing off your left foot, roll onto your right hip and come up onto your right elbow.
- Push up onto your right hand, and bring your back off the ground.
- Next, thread your right leg back into a kneeling position.
- Your arm should still be locked out.
- From this kneeling position, take a deep breath, tighten your core, and lunge forward to a standing position.Reverse the process to come back down to the starting position.
- Complete 3 sets of 6-10 reps on each arm.
4. Lateral Shuffle
This exercise tones and targets your inner thighs, quads, and glutes, but man is it funny looking. But with your knees bent and fixed in a wide stance, you create an isometric hold. This type of muscle contraction happens when you’re in a static position, and it also happens to activate more muscle fibers than concentric and eccentric contractions.
- Start at the bottom of a squat position.
- Keep your arms to your side, or extend them out in front of you with your chest out, shoulders back, and head straight, looking forward.
- Now, holding that position, step 10 inches to the left.
- Meet your right foot with your left, so you’re back in the starting position.
- Make sure you stay in the bottom squat hold position the entire time.
- This will ensure your leg muscles are activated throughout the entire exercise.
- To make this more difficult, place a resistance band right below your knees.
- Complete 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg (10 to the right and 10 to the left).
5. One-Legged Burpee
Already considered one of the best full-body exercises, burpees test your strength and aerobic capacities. With each repetition, you hit your chest, arms, quads, hamstrings, and abs—and you’ll burn an insane amount of calories. Single-leg burpees up the difficulty because you have to work harder to keep yourself balanced.
This taxes your fast-twitch muscle fibers and really works your ankle and feet muscles. You probably will look a bit foolish the first time around, but the benefits are worth it—we promise. Note: You can put your elevated ankle in the strap of a TRX cable for more support in the beginning.
- Start in a pushup position, and bring your left leg off the floor by 10 inches.
- Perform a pushup, then immediately thrust your right leg in toward your chest, driving your hips forward, and plant your right foot on the ground.
- Make sure you keep your left leg off the ground throughout this entire movement.
- Steady yourself on your right leg, stand up straight, then jump up, landing on your right leg.
- Bend back down at your waist and reverse the motion, jumping back with your right leg, keeping your left off the ground, and bracing yourself as you meet the ground with both hands.
- Complete 3 sets of 5-8 reps per leg.
6. Pull-up to Dead hang
This one appears simple and strange at the same time—mostly because you look like you’ve taken a nap in the midst of your pullups. Not only will this pull-up-to-dead hang exercise light up your lats and arms, but your abs will feel like they’re being ripped out of your stomach. Sounds appealing, right?
- Situate yourself on a pullup bar, and complete half of your maximum number of pullups.
- At the top of your last pullup, simply hold yourself.
- Keep your body still, and slightly bring your knees into your chest.
- Hold this for 30 seconds.
- Then, slowly lower yourself to the ground.
- Complete 3 sets of half your pull-up max + 30-second holds.