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7 Awkward Exercise Moves You Need to Start Doing Today!

Awkward Exercise Moves Gyms can be pretty intimidating places for many of us, and even after we have gotten used to the place, it can still be hard to start doing any exercises that can make us stand out from the crowd. Most gym-goers tend to hang around the cardio area and will maybe use a resistance machine (so long as it has nobody near it), there's no chance that they'll be performing awkward exercises or yoga poses or running while pulling a sled behind themselves. But by staying within your comfort zone you are denying yourself some serious fitness gains. Sometimes the awkward exercises that you find so embarrassing are the ones that are most needed. Here are seven examples of so-called 'embarrassing' exercises that every gym-goer should be doing. Exercise One: Glute Bridges Exercise One: Glute Bridges Depending on how you define awkward; Glute bridges are without a doubt the most awkward looking exercise you can perform in the gym. Lying on your back and rhythmically thrusting your hips forward will look ridiculous at best and downright creepy at worst (depending on eye contact length). If you'd never seen a Glute bridge before, you would wonder what was going on! The thing is, though, this exercise may be one of the most under-utilized exercises around. The Glute bridge works the Gluteus Maximus, and the Biceps Femoris (one of the Hamstring muscles) by extending the hips. How to Perform Them: Glute Bridges are pretty easy to perform, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor (knees bent). Place your hands palm down on either side of your body. Then keeping your shoulders and head flat on the floor thrust your hips up in the air so that you create a diagonal line (bridge) from your knees to your shoulders. Make sure that your hips are fully extended before lowering them back down to the ground. Exercise Two: Inverted Rows Inverted Rows The inverted row is an awkward or strange looking exercise that you perform in a Smith Machine, or anywhere which has a parallel bar at around waist height. For example, some people use an Olympic Lifting Bar which is set up in a squat rack. What makes this exercise embarrassing is that you will be taking up a lot of gym real estate for what looks like a made-up exercise. But inverted rows have some real benefits, they are excellent for strengthening the Trapezius muscles and Latissimus Dorsi muscles. They are also a very good way to work your way up to performing proper pull ups. How to Perform Them: As mentioned earlier, grab a waist-high parallel bar (Smith Machines are great for this) and hold it with hands that are around shoulder width apart - possibly a touch wider. Keep your heels dug into the ground and make sure that your body is in a straight line. Pull yourself up slightly so that you are hanging with just your heels touching the ground. Take a deep breath and then pull yourself up until your chest hits the bar. Pause at the top before lowering yourself down until your arms are fully extended. That is one rep. Exercise Three: Dumbbell Rear Delt Flies Dumbbell Rear Delt Flies There is no way to perform this exercise without looking a little crazy, you can perform it on a bench and look crazy or you can perform it in a bent-over position, which also looks crazy. Sorry about that! But rear delt flies are crucial for protecting the shoulder and improving your posture. Rear Delt flies work your posterior (rear) delts - obviously. But they also work your Anterior (front) and middle Deltoids as well as your Trapezius muscles and other muscles surrounding your middle back (e.g. Infraspinatus). How to Perform Them: You can perform this exercise with an incline bench set to 45 degrees. Lie face down on it, so that your chest is flush with the bench, and your back is flat. Hold a pair of weights in your hands while keeping your arms pointing straight down towards the floor. Bend your arms slightly and then pull your arms apart as if you are preparing to perform a giant clap. Stop when your arms are almost parallel to the floor and pause, then return your arms to the original position decelerating as you go. Exercise Four: The Cat Stretch The Cat Stretch This is a really embarrassing looking yoga pose that will make you feel very self-conscious the first time you perform it in public. It is worth the self-consciousness though because it is a truly fantastic exercise for the lower back, middle back, and Trapezius muscles. The cat stretch is a good warm up to perform before a workout, an excellent reliever for an aching back, and a great lower back exercise all rolled into one. Sadly, it does mean sticking your butt out in the air, though, so far too many people avoid it. How to Perform Them: Get on your hands and knees and have a nice straight back. While keeping your hands flat on the ground, push your back up into a hunch and drop your head. Hold this position while keeping your back pushed out. After ten to fifteen seconds you can bring your stomach back down, which will flatten your back. But instead of returning to the original position, keep lowering your back until you feel a stretch in the lower back, hold for another ten to fifteen seconds before returning to the starting position. Exercise Five: Sumo Squats Sumo Squats The Sumo squat (also known as the power squat) looks weird, it's true. You're standing on a raised platform with your legs as wide as possible and a dumbbell hanging between them, people may stare. But the Sumo Squat is such an excellent exercise it would be a shame to avoid it. The Sumo Squat works all of the muscles that normal squats work (mostly the Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, and Quadriceps muscles) but also works for the Adductor muscle group. These are the muscles that you use to close your legs together, most people (usually women) who work these muscles use the Adductor Machine, so this may be the one example in this article of an exercise that is actually less embarrassing than the alternative! How to Perform Them: Find two platforms to stand on, with a corridor in between. These platforms can be exercise steps, stacked plates (for barbells), or even two workout benches. Stand on the platforms with a very wide stance, they're called Sumo Squats for a reason. When in position hold a dumbbell between your legs, then with your chest pushed out and shoulders back, squat down with the dumbbell travelling down towards the floor. Pause when your thighs reach parallel and then return to the starting position. The reason you are on raised platforms is that if you aren't, the dumbbell can touch the floor before your thighs reach parallel. Exercise Six: Calf Raises Calf Raises Calves are regularly overlooked by new gym goers until it is too late. This is a particular problem for men, they spend hours each week building up their leg muscles so that they don't end up looking like the "skip leg day" crowd. Then all of a sudden they realise that their calves are disproportionately small compared to the rest of their legs. Calf Raises are a great exercise to build some size, but they do suffer from making the performer look ridiculous! Slowly bouncing up and down on a step with a dumbbell in your hand will definitely get you some funny looks in the gym. How to Perform Them: Grab a step and a dumbbell. Climb on to the step so that your tiptoes are on the step but your heel is hanging off it. Hold the dumbbell in one hand, and use the other hand to balance yourself. Push up onto your tiptoes, pause, and then lower your heels until they are almost touching the floor. Pause, and then repeat. After ten reps, swap the dumbbell into your other hand. You can also perform this move with a calf raise machine. Exercise Seven: Romanian Deadlifts Romanian Deadlifts Romanian deadlifts are an exercise that involves sticking your butt out as far as possible while essentially trying to touch your toes with a barbell, talk about awkward! But the Romanian Deadlift is one of the biggest glute and hamstring developers that there is, and anyone not utilizing it is missing out. This exercise works the Gluteus Maximus, Erector Spinae (a muscle around the spine), and the hamstrings. They are essential for anyone who wants a toned butt or wants to strengthen the hamstrings to help avoid injury. How to Perform Them: Grab a light to medium weighted barbell and hold at waist height, with a shoulder width overhand grip. Place both feet slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart, and ensure that your toes are pointing straight forward. Create a slight bend in your knees. Then, keeping your legs straight throughout, you need to lower the bar towards the ground by bowing forward. Keep your shoulders back and your chest pushed out throughout. Once you can feel the stretch in your hamstrings you can pause, and then slowly return back to your starting position, this is one rep. So there you have it, six awkward weight exercises and a couple of awkward yoga poses rolled into one (cat stretch). Ensuring that you use these exercises will improve your results, and as a result, you will end up being a stronger, leaner, and less self-conscious gym-goer.
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