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The Five Best Exercises You're Not Doing

Find out why these overlooked exercises are essential to any fitness routine.

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As an athlete you train to be bigger, faster, and stronger for that competitive edge. Sure, your classic exercises like the bench press, squat, and deadlift will get you there, but have you ever thought there could be something missing? Well, your instincts were right. The following five exercises will soon have earned a new, essential spot in your workout routines

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1. OVERHEAD SQUAT

What It Works

Total body with emphasis on legs

Why It's Important

The overhead squat improves stability and mobility throughout the body by targeting weak spots in the back and legs. NYC-based trainer and strength coach, Sam Akinrinade says, "Having the bar locked up overhead brings the weight farther from your center of gravity and challenges your core stability even more than the traditional back squat, at a fraction of the weight."

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2. CABLE FACE PULL

What It Works

Upper traps and rear deltoids

Why It's Important

Poor posture is a common problem among the general population from being in hunched positions at a desk, and many back issues are a result. To combat this, Akinrinade says the cable face pull "will help that tough-to-reach rear-delt area and improve upper-back symmetry."

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3. BARBELL HIP THRUST

What It Works

Glutes

Why It's Important

Building strong and powerful legs are typically credited to the squat and deadlift with the assistance of well-developed glutes. However, overuse of those exercises can strain the lower back. Akinrinade suggests the use of the barbell hip thrust because of its ability to greater isolate the glutes than both the squat and the deadlift.

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4. DUMBBELL FLOOR PRESS

What It Works

Chest, triceps, and shoulders

Why It's Important

There's a point in a traditional bench press where weak triceps cause the the bar gets stuck—this is known as a "sticking point." Dumbbell floor presses help eliminate the sticking point by using your arms through a movement pattern that strengthens the triceps at its weakest point. Akinrinade suggests mixing dumbbell floor presses with your traditional chest routines to break through plateaus. 

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5. HIGH STEPUP

What It Works

Quads, glutes, and core

Why It's Important

Assistance lifts are done to help improve a primary lift. For example, the squat is your primary lift, and the high stepup is your assistance lift. The high stepup in particular will improve imbalances on both sides of the body, ultimately improving overall squat power and strength. Akinrinade recommends high stepups once per week. 

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