5 Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of

We know the deadlift and barbell row are great exercises. But sometimes the best exercises are the ones you’re not doing, or maybe never even heard of. New exercises mean less boredom and faster gains. Throw your muscles a surprise party (minus the awkward chit-chat) by incorporating these new moves into your workout.

1. The Turkish Get Up

No, it’s not a party-goers attire in Istanbul . The Turkish Get Up is a full body exercise that will get your heart pumping, making it a double whammy for building muscle and burning fat. Use a light weight if you’ve never tried it before.

How to do it: Lie flat on the floor, dumbbell in right hand and extended straight up overhead. Keep your gaze on the dumbbell as you roll onto your left side and support yourself with left elbow. Put your right foot flat and left hand to the floor, and then rise to one knee before finally standing up. Keep the dumbbell extended, arm locked, the whole time. Reverse movement to starting position.

Show me: Turkish Get Up

2. Pushup Row

Try this variation of old faithful to work your back, core, chest, and arms. Note: You may wish to try a pushup positioned row first, which is essentially this exercise minus the actual pushup.

How to do it: Put two light dumbbells on the floor, at least shoulder width apart. Get into pushup position and hold the dumbbell handles. Perform a standard pushup, but once you are back in the starting position, row one dumbbell up to your side. Hold for a second or two, lower the weight, and repeat with other arm.

Show me:
Pushup Row

3. Swiss ball mountain climber.

Remember those fast and furious mountain climbers you had to do in gym class? This one’s different (and better). It’s one of the best exercises for your abs, and also works arms and shoulders.

How to do it: Get into a pushup position with your hands on a Swiss ball. Tighten your abs as you slowly lift one knee towards your chest, as if you were trying to step over the Swiss ball. Alternate legs back and forth for one minute, or as long as you can.

Show me: Swiss Ball Mountain Climber

4. Wood chopper.

The wood chopper helps build explosive strength, and works your abs, shoulders, and legs. Flannel shirt optional.

How to do it: Stand holding a 6-10 pound medicine ball, feet further than shoulder width apart. Raise the ball straight up over your head. Bend at the waist and swing the ball down between your legs, as if chopping wood. The downward “chop” should be more powerful than returning the ball overhead. Keep your middle section tight and back straight throughout.

Show me: Wood chopper

5. Awkward Pose (Utkatasana)

The Awkward Pose is one of of 26 postures that comprise Bikram Yoga. Typically, Bikram Yoga is performed in
a studio heated to 105 degrees, but this is a great stand alone exercise that works every muscle in your legs, and also helps strengthen the muscles along your spine.

How to do it: Stand straight and lift up onto your toes as high as you possibly can. Hold your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Slowly lower yourself into a squat position, until thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this pose for as long as possible, staying elevated as high as you can on your toes throughout. Finally, feel your legs quiver and burn, and you’ll know why this is called the awkward pose.

Show me: Awkward Pose

Sources: The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises