These sometimes overlooked moves will build strength, mobility, and endurance—don't let them fall through the cracks.
Pete Williams, CPT 1 / 16
It’s sometimes said that the best workout is the one you haven’t done. After all, the body adapts quickly to even the most challenging of routines and a new program likely will stimulate different muscles and jump-start your enthusiasm for training.
Guys who dabble in a little bit of everything—CrossFit, yoga, obstacle racing, triathlon, paddle sports—sometimes get away from some of the most basic, best-bang-for-your-buck exercises. In some instances, these moves have become overshadowed by new research or flavor-of-the-month trends. Other times they just fall between the cracks in the interest of saving time, even if they’ve served us well in the past.
The best exercises tend to be timeless, producing some combination of strength, stability, endurance, and resistance to injury. They’re versatile, requiring little to no equipment and you can do them anywhere. They also provide benefits that will help you thrive in any endeavor, along with mimicking the movements of everyday life.
Most importantly, they’re probably moves you’ve done at some point but now rank as lost classics. But by implementing some or all of them into your regimen, you’ll jump-start your body and refresh your workouts without undergoing a learning curve.
Here are 15 amazing exercises that perhaps you’re forgetting.
These build hip mobility and endurance and can be done anywhere. Add to the degree of difficulty by doing them on the beach in soft sand. Though they’re not thought of as an abdominal exercise, they’re actually more effective for building six packs than many ab routines.
Many guys give up on these in fourth grade after failing to do 5 on the Presidential Fitness Test. Hey, you’re stronger now. Don’t overlook this convenient move that builds upper body strength. Do swinging “kipping” pull-ups popularized by CrossFit if you need to build momentum initially, but work your way to the traditional up-and-down method.
Sort of a lost classic in the weight room, this move builds strength in your hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and upper back. Start with a lower weight and work up. Form is especially key to getting full benefits from the RDL.
These aren’t just for Spartan Race punishment. Few moves hammer the entire body while testing endurance. Work your way up to a set of 30 or, if you’re older, your age. Add to the degree of difficulty by doing burpees under a pull-up bar and completing a pull-up at the end of each one.
How often do you work on your lower-body explosiveness? This isn’t about getting high enough to dunk, though it will help there, too; it’s about creating the ability to mimic the activities of everyday life such as stepping off a bus or taking steps two at a time.
Considered a bodybuilding or powerlifting exercise, it actually mimics functional movement as well as any lift, keeping your back and hips strong. Whether you’re moving furniture, lifting a child, or taking groceries out of the car, you’re deadlifting.
Think you already have proper form? Get in position with a five-foot broomstick or dowel rod along the length of your spine with about a foot of the rod dangling over your head. If you have proper form, the stick will stay in position. If not: time to practice.
This move, while holding dumbbells, increases balance and strength in your hip and leg muscles. Whether you return to the starting position after each rep or do a walking version, you’ll feel it in your hips and the front of your legs.
These two opposite yoga moves—raising and lowering your spine while on all fours—work wonders for your back, which takes a beating from sitting all day. Don’t save this one for the gym. A couple minutes in the middle of the workday goes a long way toward resetting your alignment.
Just 15 minutes a day pays huge dividends in terms of muscle recovery and addressing knots and spasms. Few of us can afford a daily professional massage. But we all have time—even in front of the TV—to roll our way to recovery. What's more: You can actually do strength moves with a foam roller—here's how.