Anyone who uses a regular regime of strength exercises will know how important it is to prevent staleness setting into your routine. Doing the same exercises over again each day can soon drain your interest. Losing interest is a sure way to lose motivation, too, so adding variety to your training is vital.
Reverse Grip Bench Press
One exercise that can be used to add variety to your strength training routine is the reverse grip bench press. This exercise can actually also help anyone who has wrist and shoulder issues when performing a conventional bench press. The reverse bench press eases the strain on these parts of your anatomy.
The exercise itself is straightforward to perform, and as an upper body compound exercise, it will work your shoulders, chest and triceps. Grip the bar as though you were about to perform bicep curls, before lifting it, rather than using a conventional bench press grip. Try the exercise with lighter weights first, before increasing the level of challenge.
The Reeves Deadlift
Another of the many strength exercises that utilises a barbell is the Reeves Deadlift. This is a testing exercise that requires great grip strength in the hand, as well as strong shoulders and arms. It is essentially the same as a conventional deadlift, except that you grip the weight plates, or the weight plate handles, instead of the bar itself.
The same muscle groups are exercised as in the conventional form of the exercise. One thing it does demand, however, is greater flexibility than normal. This is due to you using a wider grip than is usual.
Get Outside the Gym
One way of making your training more interesting, as well as more challenging is to train outdoors in the open air. There is nothing as good for toughening you up as working in the great outdoors, which is why people who work as building laborers, lumberjacks and farm workers tend to be so strong. Indeed, one good way of improving strength is actually to work for a period in a manual job.
You will soon find that eight hours or more a day of lugging bricks around a construction site, or digging drains on farmland, will have a massively positive effect on your strength and fitness. Battling the weather as well as the weight also serves to make you tougher and harder. This sort of work is especially useful for players of tough, contact sports, such as rugby.
Sports Training Techniques
Rugby players also use exercises that develop explosive power, which is a useful component of overall strength. Box squats are one exercise that can be incorporated into your workout that develops power and explosiveness. It is easy to set up.
In order to perform a box squat, you need, obviously, a box. Many gyms will be equipped with a robust enough object to use in this way, though you can also use a wall, if necessary. Choose a box or wall that is high enough to challenge you, while still being safe, and keep the reps low when you first start.
Begin the exercise by standing in front of the box or the wall, then swing your arms forward as you leap, keeping both feet parallel, onto the top of the box. Aim to land lightly, like a cat. This will strengthen your quads, hamstrings and glutes. This is a great exercise if you want to become faster, as well as stronger.
It is also possible to improve your overall strength by using tractor tyres. Basic tyres flips, where you lift the tyre and turn it over using your hands and arms, are excellent exercises. They improve your functional strength and endurance, which is very useful for anyone who plays contact sports.
As well as basic tyre flips, fitness enthusiasts can also do an exercise known as ‘farmer walks’. This exercise begins with you standing in the circle in the centre of the tyre. You should pick up the tyre with your hands facing outward, and then try and walk as many steps as possible.
This will help with your grip strength and mental endurance. If you are feeling angry, however, there is one tyre exercise that can really burn off frustration. All you need, in addition to the tyre, is a sledgehammer.
Battering the tyre with the sledgehammer repeatedly is actually a great workout. If you swing the hammer like a baseball bat or a golf club, then you can work your abs as well as your upper body. Attaching the tyre to your body with chains or ropes, and then dragging it as if it were a sled, is another great strength exercise.
These exercises can all be incorporated into your normal routine, supplementing and complementing your current methods. Always remember that staleness is the enemy of progress, and varying your training will mean that you maintain good results. Never be afraid of adding new things to your workouts.
One thing that should always be remembered, though, when undertaking any kind of strength exercises is safety. Always train with a partner or in a public place if you try out any of these exercises. If you injure yourself, seek medical attention immediately.