Adding variety to your exercise routine helps you get over the slump of monotony but can also be a good way to challenge muscles in ways you did not realize. Exercises you never heard of abound, and many do not require gym memberships or extra equipment. However, some of the best exercises you never heard of could be recycled and modified versions of old classics. Before you engage in any new exercise routine, consult your physician first and remember to warm up, stretch and cool down for each workout.
The power skip adds a plyometric twist to an old childhood movement. You can perform power skips in one spot or in motion. The key to getting the most out of this exercise is amplifying the height of the jump as you skip and skipping in rapid succession. Incorporate arm swings to make the power skip a full-body workout.
Bird Dog and Dirty Dog
The bird dog and dirty dog target your hips, glutes and core. Perform the bird dog as a prerequisite to the dirty dog. Start from a kneeling position. Place your hands flat on the ground, making sure your wrists are positioned underneath your shoulders. Your eyes face the ground and your spine should remain in neutral position. Engage your core and slowly raise one arm off the ground, keeping your fingers stretched forward. Slowly lift the opposing leg off the ground, keeping it straight. Alternate sides for three sets. The dirty dog begins in the same starting position. Lift one leg, maintaining stability with your hands flat on the ground and the other leg supporting your body. Instead of straightening the lifted leg, keep the knee bent toward the side and hold the position. Alternate sides for three sets.
Frankensteins engage the glutes, legs, thighs and abs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your side. Tighten the abdominal muscles, lift your chest and keep your chin parallel to the floor. Lift one leg with your knee bent toward your chest. Cross the lifted knee toward the opposite leg, but do not rotate the hip of the standing leg. Rotate the lifted leg back away from the standing leg in a hip-opening motion. Lower the leg back to standing position. Switch sides and repeat each side for five to 10 sets.
Inchworms and Spider Walks
Inchworms and spider walks engage your entire body. Begin the inchworm from standing position, place your feet together and hinge forward, keeping your knees straight. Place your palms on the floor in front of your body and keep your spine flat. Slowly walk your hands away from your feet until you are in a pushup position. Do one pushup and then walk your feet toward your hands. Repeat for five to 10 full movements. Begin spider walks lying on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Like the inchworm you walk your hands forward, but your body stays close to the ground, and you alternate your leg motion with your hands.
Dead bug works your abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms by your side with your elbows bent so the backs of your arms are on the floor but your hands are off the floor, pointed toward the ceiling. Tighten your ab muscles and lift your arms and legs off the floor, keeping the knees bent. Slowly lower one arm and the opposing leg back to starting position. Lower the other side and then repeat for 10 sets.
Wipers work your abs and stretch your chest and shoulders. Begin lying on your back and bring your arms away from your sides at a 45-degree angle. Tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your palms facing toward the ceiling. Slide your arms to an overhead position so your hands begin to touch. Slowly lower your arms back to starting position. Repeat for 10 sets.
Superman and Banana
Superman and banana work your core, glutes, hips and shoulders. Begin superman lying on your stomach with your arms stretched forward and your legs stretched straight back. Your back is slightly arched and head held firmly with eyes facing the floor. This motion looks like you are flying through the air like a super hero. The banana is the opposing position. You can roll over into banana or begin banana by lying flat on your back. Stretch your arms and legs, just as you do in superman, only you are looking at the ceiling instead of the floor. Alternate positions for five to 10 sets.
- The Stretching Institute: Warm Up Exercises and Stretches
- American Council on Exercise: Butt and Hip Exercises
- U.S. Figure Skating Association: Warm Up Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: Arm Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: Ab Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: Full Body/Integrated Exercises