They may not be fancy, but these exercises do the body good. So why are you ignoring them?
You go the gym, do the same routine day in and day out, and go home But is your routine pushing your body to be its best or are you sticking by a certain set of exercises just because you’re comfortable with them? Read on to find eight exercises that you – along with half the people in your gym – may be neglecting.
They seem so basic, because they are. Resting on your forearms and toes, you hold your stomach tight in order to cause your body to levitate a few inches off the ground, keeping your back straight. Thanks to these stripped down, basic exercises, your body gets the basic results you want – a stronger, more supportive core.
Though pictures of competitive body builders may leap in your head when thinking of deadlifts, you may be surprised that the average Joe or Jo should also be performing this underrated exercise. Why? Because you perform it one way or another almost every day. Whether picking up your child during playtime, grabbing a bag of 35-pound dog food from the bottom shelf, dead lifts are part of life. Getting better at them at the gym only makes sense.
This one may be neglected because it’s not as available as others. Or at least it doesn’t seem to be available. To perform this, you have to find a bar relatively close to the ground. Hanging underneath it with your body extended out and feet resting on the floor, pull yourself up to the bar repeatedly. While essentially the same motion as push-ups or bench pressing, horizontal pull-ups push your body in slightly different ways and more closely mimic movements necessary for climbing and other activities.
Always the underdog, push-ups are the essence of basic exercise, working out the chest, biceps, and triceps. In fact, if performed correctly, you’ll be forced to tighten your core muscles during each repetition, which adds to the shape and strength of your six-pack abdominal muscles.
You probably don’t see a lot of body builders on the treadmill. That’s because they run at home. One of the most vital pieces to a complete workout regimen, running consistently improves your cardiovascular health, increases your stamina, and helps tone and shape your muscles.
Toss some weight on a rack and bend at the knees until you lower yourself toward the ground as far as possible. Return to your starting position and repeat – but do it all with precision and proper mechanics. You’ll feel the burn in your legs, but squats actually work quite a few other muscles and should therefore not be neglected in your routine.
Often overlooked as an unnecessary part of working out, stretching is anything but unnecessary. In fact, if you want to get bigger and stronger and maintain your range of motion, the only way to do it is through stretching whatever body part you’re planning to exercise. There are stretches for every muscle, from the thighs to the calves to the biceps to the neck. With a little stretching, you give your body a chance to warm up and prevent yourself from potential injury.
It offers a full-body workout that tests your stamina and strength. You’ve known it for years, but you still don’t take advantage of it. What kind of swimming should you get started with? Any kind of swimming will work, and swimming freestyle laps at a moderate pace is a great way to break your body into swimming shape.
And the Downside
Now that you know what exercises deserves a spot in your routine, you may be curious about some of the exercises out there that get too much credit.
The following are a few of the most overrated exercises that you may be doing with a little too much frequency:
- lunges: they’re great in moderation, but it’s not uncommon to overdo lunges and wind up with knee problems down the road
- bench press: very useful in defining the chest and arms, the bench press belongs in your routine; just be careful not to start and end every routine with it
- sit-ups: yes, they strengthen your abdominal muscles, but you’ll never have a six-pack unless you eat right and get enough cardio to burn off the layer of fat covering up you abs