You may be the biggest gym fanatic in the world, but there are always going to be certain exercises that you shy away from, whether it’s because they don’t seem quite up your alley or you’re not sure you’ll be able to handle them just yet. Whether it’s challenging squats that burn more than necessary, burpees that make you wish you hadn’t eaten that last slice of pizza, or deadlifts that make you wonder if working out is really worth all the suffering. Everyone has hit these bumps in the road at some point in their fitness journey, but believe us when we say that conquering those moves that seem daunting and worth avoiding is well worth the bit of anxiety and pain that you may have to deal with in the beginning. Here are a few of the workouts that you may have been worried to take on before now, but that will be worth giving a go in the long run.
These may look hard and painful, but they are incredibly effective. Lunge jumps (and yes, you hold the lunge after each jump) work your lower body and your glutes. Start in a lunge position and push up with the leg that is out in front of you. While you’re in the air, switch legs so you’re now lunging with the other side of your body. Do about 20 of these jumps in a row and then, with a softer landing, go down into the lunge position and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the next leg, and then lunge both legs again for another 30 seconds each. Once you are finished that, do 20 more lunge jumps. Trust us, you will be feeling these the next day.
Because this exercise requires you to hover above the ground for some time, your weight is being distributed in a completely different way than usual, which forces your entire body to stay engaged throughout the duration of the move. Start as if you are in a plank position but instead of getting down on your elbows, hold yourself up using your hands. Pretend to walk using the balls of your feet and your hands, keeping your body off the ground. Go back and forth for some time until you get tired – which you’ll find to be longer and longer the stronger you get.
Hindu Push Ups
This exercise works your concentration and strength to the max, so it’s really a workout of the mind and body, which is the best kind if you ask us. It will work your chest and your shoulders while also building up your strength and giving you more range of motion. Start in an inverted V position, which means putting your hands on the ground, standing on your toes, and bending your knees rather than leaving them straight. In a diving motion, bring your head to the ground but instead of going straight to the ground, start to lift your head when you get between your arms. Bring your body through with you. You should end the position with your body in an arch. Once you are in that position, bring your body back up to where you started and then repeat.
Single Leg Jump Squats
The name of the exercise pretty much speaks for itself. If you thought doing a regular squat was hard, wait until you add a jump and perform it on one leg. But don’t worry, this movement will tone and strengthen your quads like no other. Starting in a standing position, lift one leg and bring your foot behind you. Perform a squat and touch the ground with your hand. Instead of coming back up as if you were just doing a squat, jump up into regular standing position. Repeat several times on each leg before switching over to the opposite side.
Single Leg Tuck Jumps
You know that whole “save the best for last” business? Well, in this case, it’s “save the toughest for last.” This exercise focuses on most of your lower body, like your calves, quads, and hip flexors, so it’s a pretty complete exercise as far as leg day goes. Starting in the standing position again, jump in the air and – while you’re in midair – tuck one of your legs behind you while landing on the other leg straight. Immediately, jump back up into the tuck jump and repeat. Make sure you save some energy for yourself to do the exercise on the opposite leg so your body strength is not uneven. The main thing to do in this exercise is to lift your leg as high as you possibly can when you jump, and to make sure you land in a controlled manner.