Are you an exercise enthusiast who loves a challenge? If so, you probably have a habit of testing your limits and trying different workouts to see what you’re capable of — even if they aren’t exactly the easiest to complete. If you’re up for the test, these five moves go beyond what’s considered an average exercise. They require endurance, balance, and the proper amount of strength. Think you have what it takes? Try these moves during your next workout to burn calories, strengthen your muscles, and keep your routine difficult and effective.
1. Tricep push-up with mountain climber
Performing both strength training and cardiovascular exercises is a great way to maximize health benefits. By combining them in your routine, you’ll torch fat, burn calories, and tone your muscles. The classic push-up is one of the most effective body-weight workouts you can do, according to Livestrong, and with each each variationyou choose, you’ll not only target your chest, shoulders, and arm muscles, but you’ll also strengthen your core. Plus, when you perform mountain climbers, they’ll also help increase agility, coordination, and target your arms and abs, notes Livestrong. Undeniably, this combo will make you feel the burn.
To perform this exercise, Greatist says to begin in a high plank position with your core tight, back flat, and wrists right underneath your shoulders. Then, perform a tricep push-up by bending your elbows back rather than at your sides, and then push back up to starting position before your body can touch the ground. At the top of this move, immediately draw your right leg toward your chest and alternate sides four times as if you’re running. Then, perform another tricep push-up, and continue switching between moves until fatigue. These exercises may be less of a challenge on their own, but put them together and you’ll feel the burn faster than you think.
2. Prisoner get-up
The name of this move may sound a little intimidating, and frankly, the challenging exercise may be a bit scary the first time you try it, too. According to Shape, it’ll work your entire core, engage all of your back muscles, and help improve your balance and agility. It’s an exercise that even trainers have a love/hate relationship with.
First, sit cross-legged on the ground and place both hands behind your head so that your elbows are out toward the sides of the room. Then lay back on the floor to get into starting position. To put this exercise into motion, lift your upper body off the floor by engaging your lower abs (as if you’re doing a sit-up), and use your hips and leg muscles to lift your entire body off the ground so that you’re eventually standing up straight. The catch? You can’t use your hands to help you. It may take practice to be able to complete this move without assistance, so you can always practice with using your hands at first before you fully commit to going hands-free.
3. Pistol squat
The standard squat can be challenging enough, but a single-leg pistol squat definitely tops this exercise in terms of level of difficulty. Not only do you have to use just one leg while performing this move, but Bodybuilding.com says you’ll also have to utilize smaller muscles you may not be used to engaging.
To begin, Women’s Health says to stand with your arms straight out in front of you so that they’re parallel to the ground. Then, raise your right leg forward so that it’s slightly off the floor, and then using your core to keep you balanced, slowly lower your body by pushing your hips back and keeping your right leg elevated. Eventually, at the bottom of the move, it should be just about parallel to the floor. Then, slowly lift your body back up to starting position for one rep. This one is extremely challenging and may require lots of practice. But by the time you’re capable of completing just one, you’ll notice the sculpted legs, increased lower body strength, and balance you’ve developed through practice.
4. Medicine ball hollow-body hold
Ab holds are tough as it is without the use of any equipment, so when you throw a medicine ball into the mix, your muscles are going to scream. According to Men’s Health, the medicine ball hollow-body hold is one of the most difficult ab exercises you can do. Give it a try, and you won’t doubt that for a second.
To do this exercise, you’ll need to place a 3 to 6 pound medicine ball between your ankles. Lie flat on your back with your arms down at your sides and legs straight out in front of you. Then, lift your shoulder blades off the floor while also raising your legs about 12 inches from the ground, and reach your fingertips towards your ankles. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds at the top of this move.
5. Box-jump burpee
If you’re ever in need of a full-body exercise, you can’t go wrong with a burpee. Mind Body Green says that it’s both a cardio and strength training workout that will help increase endurance and tone your body all around. But to make the move more difficult, you can combine it with another move that’s also hard enough on its own: box jumps. Muscle & Fitness says that this one targets your hamstrings and glutes, so pairing these two workouts will only boost benefits.
Livestrong says that all you have to do is start by beginning a burpee as you normally would, and then perform a box jump right after. Just be sure that you’re in proper form the entire time. While performing a burpee, remember to keep your back flat and make sure that your wrists and shoulders align when you’re in plank position. When you do a box jump, make sure you’re squatting and landing correctly. Proper form is essential to maximize the workout’s benefits and to avoid any sort of injury.
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