Let’s be honest: When it comes to building a lean, healthy body, we all know the basics: squats, lunges, rows, etc. But there are many, many more movements out there that can enhance your workouts and help you get better and faster results in the gym. They can even strengthen neglected parts of your body as well as reduce stress on achy joints. That’s why today, we’re here to break down five little-known exercises to build a better body that you’ll want to add to your routine.
If you go to most gyms, chances are, no one else is doing these exercises—nor have they ever seen them before—so they’re missing out on a ton of benefits. Read on for these rare exercises to build a better body so you can use them to your advantage and watch your results soar.
Many people struggle with overhead exercises because they don’t have the shoulder mobility to go directly overhead without arching their torso backward or excessively extending their ribcage. But by using a landmine, the weight moves at an arched angle so it removes a lot of pressure as you press above.
To set up for the landmine press, place one end of a barbell in a landmine. At the other end, stand facing the landmine, grab the other end with one arm, and hold it near the same shoulder. Drive the barbell overhead without twisting. Finish all your reps on one side and alternate.
If you don’t have a landmine, just place a folded-up towel in the corner of a wall and wedge one end of a barbell there.
Whether you’re a novice or a powerlifting champion, pull-throughs can help anyone. It’s a phenomenal exercise to strengthen your glutes, boost your hip power, teach you how to hinge your hips correctly, and help you build a better body.
Face away from a cable machine, set the height to the lowest setting, and grab the ends of the cable-rope attachment between your legs. While maintaining a neutral back and straight elbows, start with your torso almost parallel to the ground with slightly bent knees. Extend your hips and stand tall.
Wide Stance Anti-Rotational Cable Chop
Real talk: Most people do chops incorrectly. You should never rotate your torso against resistance; instead, you should keep your torso stable as it resists rotation. That way, you keep your spine aligned while strengthening all your core muscles.
Set a cable bar or rope attachment at chest height. While facing perpendicular to the cable, stand extremely wide (almost as wide as possible), and grab the bar or rope at both ends. Drag the bar or rope across your body while keeping both your arms locked out. Do NOT twist your body—your torso should remain motionless throughout the chop. Finish your reps on one side and switch sides.
Next up on our list of exercises to build a better body is the bear crawl. While most gymgoers haven’t crawled since they were babies, every adult can benefit from crawling! It loads your body in a safe way, improves coordination, strengthens your core and shoulder-stabilizing muscles, and even enhances your brain. (You’d be shocked how many adults struggle with such a simple movement.) I recommend crawling as part of your warmup or as a finisher at the end of your workout.
Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips; keep your knees an inch above the ground. Crawl forward by taking a small step with your right arm and left leg at the same time and alternate. Keep your hips low and your head up.
Single-Leg Box Squats
This is an essential lower-body exercise—especially for people who have lower back or knee issues with conventional squats. It also corrects asymmetries (i.e. one leg is weaker than the other) and it’s super safe because you’ll never get “trapped” underneath a barbell.
Start by facing away from a bench or box. Lift one leg, sit back on the bench, and stand up without putting your other leg down. To make it easier, use a higher surface; to make it harder, lower the bench or wear a weighted vest.