Let’s face it, we all have exercises that we have forgotten about over time or simply avoid. But the thing is, you should never neglect exercises that will benefit you and make you a more well-rounded athlete.
So no matter whether you do bodybuilding, powerlifting, yoga, or calisthenics, these are the exercises that you never do – but should. These exercises are either underrated, neglected, or avoided.
We’ve rounded up 15 of them, so what are you waiting for? Add these exercises to your workout routine!
Some of us hate doing push ups; others have just forgotten about them – most likely because they’ve become too easy. But the fact is, push ups are one of the best foundation exercises with heaps of benefits and a ton of variations at that!
Push ups can be done anywhere and anytime. They are the perfect morning exercise to get your blood pumping, and this can also aid shoulder injuries by increasing blood circulation. And if they really are that easy, have you tried archer push ups, back clap push ups, or the one-minute push up?
Abdominal exercises like crunches and sit ups can build defined abs. But when it comes to building actual core strength, the infamous plank has a sibling exercise: the boat hold. Called navasana in yoga, the boat hold is an isometric hold that will challenge you.
You can start holding the boat hold with your knees tucked and your arms by your side. But as it gets easier, start extending your legs and bringing your arms behind your head – or put on some ankle weights. How long can you hold it? There’s only one way to find out!
They might be called face pulls, but they’re actually one of the best back exercises you can do. What’s great about face pulls is that you can do them at the gym on the cable machine or at home using resistance bands.
Face pulls work the rear deltoids, traps, teres minor, and even the bicep muscles. The exercise involves pulling the cable or band level with your face, offering an upper back contraction that will definitely give you DOMS the next day if you’ve never done it before.
The pistol squat is one of the most advanced leg exercises out there. But despite that, even beginners can do this effective bodyweight exercise, as there are a handful of progression exercises that can be done to build up towards the real thing.
Put simply, the pistol squat is a one-leg squat, involving a combination of strength, balance, and mobility. As a result, assisted pistol squats will improve all of these, and can be done by holding on to a surface as you do the exercise or lowering yourself onto a chair.
Ring Support Hold
Unless you’re a gymnast or calisthenics athlete, there’s a good chance you’re not training straight-arm strength. It offers more benefits than you might think, however, as improving straight-arm strength will benefit all other upper body strength exercises you’re doing.
One of the best ways to train straight-arm strength is the ring support hold. It’s a humbling exercise, as the first time you try it your arms will be shaking like never before! Doing it will strengthen fascia and connective muscle tissue, though, and it will make you stronger.
The sissy squat is another underrated bodyweight leg exercise that you can do anywhere. It targets the quadriceps, and involves bending your knees and bringing them forward and as close to the floor as possible, before returning to a standing position.
It might sound easy, but doing sissy squats will set your quads on fire. In fact, it’s another humbling exercise, so you will probably need to do assisted sissy squats first before doing them unassisted. Try it – it’s the perfect quad exercise for when you can’t hit the gym.
Hanging Ab Raise
Most people do ab exercises on the floor or on a bench – but never hanging from a bar. But the thing is, doing hanging ab exercises is far more effective, as you’ll be fighting gravity and stability with each and every rep.
Common ab exercises like knee and leg raises, typically done on a dip bar, can also be done while hanging from a pull up bar. Not only will hanging ab exercises build solid abs and core strength, but improve your grip strength for deadlifts and, of course, pull ups.
Underhand Tricep Push Down
Everyone trains the long head triceps and lateral head triceps, but what about the medial head? The medial head triceps are the smallest of the three tricep head muscles, but that also means it’s often neglected.
Still, it’s an important muscle that supports the other tricep muscles – so it shouldn’t be left out. Underhand tricep push downs are one of the exercises for the tricep medial head, and all it involves is using a supinated grip instead of a pronated (overhand) grip!
Tricep Extension Push Up
Some people think it’s not possible to train triceps without equipment. But training triceps at home is possible with one underrated exercise: the tricep extension push up. And like the other exercises on this list, you’ll find them challenging if you’ve never done them before!
The tricep extension push up essentially involves getting into a plank position, then pushing yourself up into a push up position. It’s harder than it sounds – especially if you incorporate them into sets and reps.
For most people, a never-ending goal is achieving a flat “washboard” stomach. Sure, dieting and doing HIIT will get you there, but so will the stomach vacuum exercise. Put simply, it involves sucking in your lower stomach muscle and holding it for time.
And yep, it works. Stomach vacuums target the transversus abdominis muscle, and doing them will help you to achieve a flatter lower stomach over time. Hold the position as long as you can and do them as regularly as possible.
Pike Push Up
Don’t do pike push ups? If you think about it, the pike push up is essentially an upside-down overhead press. So if one of your goals is bigger, stronger front delts, the pike push up is really an exercise you should be doing.
And it’s a tough exercise – it has to be said. You’re essentially loading your upper body onto your front delts, and most people will only achieve a few reps, if that, the first time they try it. Plus, the closer you bring your feet to your hands, the harder it gets.
In and Outs
Forget crunches and knee raises; in and outs are a challenging ab exercise that put the two together. It’s not just an ab killer, but an exercise that will also improve balance and stability. On top of that, it can be done anywhere as long as you have the floor space.
With in and outs, you’re balancing on your tailbone as you perform a combined crunch and knee raise movement that, when done for time or reps, will leave your abdominals feeling sore. Need more of a challenge? Lean back more and fully extend your legs with each rep.
We know, everyone hates wall sits – so much so that they avoid doing them. But that’s exactly why you should be doing them. Wall sits are one way to make a minute feel like an eternity, but also one of the best ways to build muscle endurance (and mental fortitude).
In fact, wall sits are the perfect leg finisher. Even a one-minute wall sit will offer a host of benefits to leg strength and stamina, so make sure to finish with one after doing your barbell squats, leg presses, and leg extensions.
Around the World Abs
Most people train abs in a vertical plane. You know, up and down. But what about side to side, and in a 360-degree motion? Needless to say, doing so will boost your core strength overall. And one of the best exercises for this is around the worlds.
The around the world ab exercise can be done on the floor, on a dip bar, or while hanging from a pull up bar. It involves extending your legs and moving them in a 360-degree motion for one rep. And nope, it’s not easy!
Last but not least: burpees. We’ve all felt the nausea and extreme breathlessness after doing a set of burpees – and for some of us, it was the last time we did them. But the fact is that burpees are one of the best HIIT exercises ever created.
Perfect for weight loss, stamina, and plyometric power, the burpee is not done as often it should be. It’s an exercise that burns more calories quicker than almost any other exercise, so it definitely should be in your workout if you want to get fitter and leaner.
So there you have it: the 15 best exercises that you never do, but should. Add these to your workout routine and make sure to do them – even if you have to force yourself!