Amazingly Effective Exercises from Different Disciplines

By on February 25, 2020

There are countless different ways to train, from working out like an old-time strongman, to performing calisthenics, to relying on the big lifts. However, it is my belief that rather than sticking to just one of these options, the best results come from mixing and matching the best techniques from each.

With that in mind, here are some exercises that you can borrow from different disciplines, that can benefit you in multiple amazing ways, no matter your goals.

One-Armed Push Up

One armed push up

The one armed push up, or one-armed and one-legged push up, is an amazing bodyweight move for building pec, tricep, and shoulder strength. By focussing your weight on just one side, you essentially create a push up that is twice as difficult as it otherwise would be.

But more than that, the one-armed push up also moves the center of gravity away from your anchor to the ground, creating leverage and rotational force. As well as pushing the body up and down, you need to concentrate on not allowing it to twist into the ground. This engages the obliques and builds amazing stability, making you hard to push over, and increasing your body control and proprioception. As an added bonus, it looks cool too!

Pseudo Planche Push Up

Pseudo Planche Pushup

The pseudo planche push up is a push up variation used in calisthenics and gymnastic strength training to develop the necessary attributes to perform planche. This involves moving the arms further down the body so that you’re leaning forward over them. It’s up to you if you wish to rotate the hands at the same time, or keep them facing forward, but the latter will require and therefore build greater wrist strength and stability.

Meanwhile, you’ll also be developing your straight arm strength, as the elbows should be facing forward and locking out at the top of each rep, with the scapular protracted. The offset weight once again increases the relative resistance, but the angle places that force more squarely on the shoulders – and the anterior delts in particular. My anterior deltoids have ballooned since I’ve been performing these, which has really enhanced my physique.

Pseudo Planche Push Up

It’s also important to keep the torso in the hollow body position, contracting the abs and engaging the pelvis with a posterior pelvic tilt. This means you’ll be training your core simultaneously, while working on posture and body awareness.

As you improve in this movement, try bringing your hands further down your body.

Cossack Squat

Kettlebells best training tools

The Cossack squat is a great move that can work well as a progression toward the pistol squat, while also working mobility and strength. It’s at once a weighted strength, and a great option for bodyweight leg training.

To perform the movement, you’ll simply squat down low onto one leg, while keeping the other stretched out to the side. Try to get as low as you can, so that your butt rests against your heel. To increase the challenge, you can grab a kettlebell to add weight.

It’s a position you’ll find is actively useful in many sports – effectively a sideways lunge. It will also build mobility for side kicks and roundhouse kicks. If you currently have no movements that train you in the frontal plane – which is likely for a lot of people – then it becomes even more valuable!

Quasi Isometric Squat

Quasi-isometric squat

Speaking of squats, another fantastic squatting movement is the quasi-isometric squat. For those that didn’t catch my previous videos on this, a quasi-isometric movement is one performed extremely slowly, almost as though you were motionless. It should take 60-120 seconds in total to perform the entire movement, so 30-60 seconds each for the concentric and eccentric portions.

This sounds easy until you try and do it, and then notice your legs shaking like mad. Normally, we accelerate through those weakest parts of the movement, allowing the momentum to do most of the work. We are strangely weak at certain points within regular ranges of motion, and using a quasi-isometric will fix that.

Not only that, but this slow movement into deep squat will improve your mobility, and you’ll also be able to polish up your technique by feeling where your weight is distributed, if there is any curve in your spine, etc.

Dumbbell Runner

Dumbbell runners

Dumbbell runners are a time-saving move I used a lot when I was training more as a bodybuilder. I actually learned them from Sylvester Stallone’s book: Sly Moves. Turns out though, it also has a bunch of other benefits.

To perform, grab a dumbbell in each hand, using a hammer grip. Now perform a hammer curl on one side while raising the shoulder, and a tricep kick-back in the other hand. Then you’re going to slowly swap sides in a continuous movement. It essentially looks like you’re running in slow motion while holding dumbbells.

To perform this movement, you will of course need to use a slightly lighter weight, seeing as you’ll likely be able to kick-back much less than you can curl. What’s cool about this, is that you will be performing an isotonic movement, meaning that the muscles are under constant tension as they go through the concentric and eccentric phases. This builds up a whole lot of metabolic stress for a great burn and high likelihood of hypertrophy.

Another benefit is that you’re able to hit the deltoids, the biceps, and the triceps simultaneously. This is ideal for an arms routine when you’re short on time, and requires a certain amount of coordination as a hybrid exercise combining at least two movements you are usually familiar with in a unique way.

Cartwheels

Carthweels

You probably didn’t expect to see this here! But there are actually loads of benefits to performing cartwheels.

The truth is, even for those of us who train regularly, we are generally quite slow moving and static. As children, we would throw ourselves about, rolly-polly, attempt handstands and more. This kind of fast movement and inversion throws the body and the brain through a loop, hitting it with all kinds of sensory information and requiring rapid alterations in muscle tone and position. This builds coordination, mind-muscle connection, and a youthful vigor that many of us have lost. As an added bonus, cartwheels also improve mobility in the hips and shoulders, they’re another movement in the frontal plane, and

Not only that, but this kind of movement also subjects the body to impacts that help to strengthen the joints and bones. And as an added bonus, it’s a perfect warm-up toward other movements like aerial, b-twist, and even handsprings.

Go both left and right to develop that ambidexterity too!

Loaded Carries

Farmers' Walks

The loaded carry is a movement that can in some ways be considered the most functional movement of them all. That’s because it is concerned with simply moving a heavy object from point A to point B.

This builds the traps to a large degree (maintain a slight shoulder shrug – avoid fully depressing the scapulae), trains the erector spinae and core to keep you upright, improves your gait (and makes you harder to push over), offers a form of contralateral exercise for enhanced coordination, develops the grip and forearms, improves hip strength, and may enhance jump height, balance, and stability. Of course, this is also a great form of resistance cardio as you will use a lot more energy to move. It can increase bone density too simply due to your body being under a heavy load for longer.

Loaded carries

It also makes you better at actually carrying stuff from one point to another, which is something you might actually find yourself needing to do in real life!

I love when a workout is extremely simple but has an extremely noticeable and undeniable impact on your body. Just grab two 20kg kettlebells, and go for a mile walk. The next day you will feel as though you had a hugely effective whole-body workout, because you have!

And if that isn’t hard enough for you/is too hard, you can simply increase or increase the weight, the distance, or the time to completion.

Boxer Kostya Tszyu would reportedly train by picking up a kettlebell and carrying it for a full hour!

Weighted Monkey Bars

Monkey bars

Unfortunately, not everyone reading this is likely to have access to monkey bars, nor a means of adding weight to their bodies. But if you are fortunate enough to have this opportunity: take it!

The monkey bars in general are a fantastic workout for the entire upper-body. You’ll be performing an isometric contraction to keep your body aloft, while also opening up the shoulders. By transitioning your weight onto just one arm, you’ll be preparing for moves like the one-armed pull up, and one armed hang.

You’ll also require a huge amount of grip strength to stay up there, and you’ll find it’s a surprisingly tough core workout as you use your abs and obliques to help swing yourself forward to the next rung.

Also awesome is taking off the weight and swinging around freestyle. That’s a fun way to challenge your pulling strength at all kinds of different angles.

Gama Cast

Clubbell best training equipment

Finally, the gama cast is considered the “king-exercise” of the clubbbell. In other words, it is to the clubs what squat is to barbell training, and what the kettlebell swing is to kettlebell training.

Take a clubbell and hold it in both hands in front of you, elbows bent and supporting the weight. Now, leading with the tip, circle the clubbell behind your head in a clockwise motion and return to the starting position. Pause, then repeat again heading the other way.

Like a kettlebell swing, this movement is ballistic in nature. This is an explosive movement utilizing the stretch-shortening cycle, with the goal being to accelerate a load as fast as possible without a deceleration phase. Think of it like a longer plyometric exercise.

Unlike the KB swing though, the gama cast is aimed at the scapulohumeral / thoracic articulation, requiring you to rotate your shoulders against a constantly changing force. This is great for opening up the shoulders and increasing strength and stability, but it also requires a similar amount of stability in the core and legs to keep the body still against the g-forces.

Closing Comments

These are just some of my favourite, often-overlooked movements from a host of different disciplines that can build multiple different attributes simultaneously. Let me know your favourites in the comments below!

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About Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, is a writer, personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and web developer. I've been writing about health, psychology, and fitness for the past 10+ years and have a fascination with the limits of human performance. When I'm not running my online businesses or training, I love sandwiches, computer games, comics, and hanging out with my family.

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