Mar 142014

This post is inspired by one of my athletes I train.

As he laid on the ground after a grueling round of the Prone Plate Circuit, he said, “You should write about exercises your athletes hate doing.  This would definitely be one of them.”

Usually the exercises you hate or suck at doing are the ones your should do.  I’m not a huge fan of pull-ups, but I’m always trying to improve on them.  My current goal with that is to be able to do 20 pull-ups and do a pull-up with an extra 100lbs.

But this list isn’t about me.

10 Exercises My Athletes Hate Doing.

1. Prone Plate or MB Circuit

I got this exercise from when I was coaching Track & Field at the University of Redlands.  When I gave them a try, I immediately fell in love with them but was saddened when my athletes didn’t feel the same appreciation. (Exercise starts at: 1:06)

2. MB or DB Burpees

C’mon, who doesn’t love some burpees.  Okay, maybe that was a sarcastic statement but burpees are great for total body conditioning and always a fun thing to throw in as a finisher if you really want to get your heart rate to spike up. In the video above (at 1:03), I actually throw them in there right before the Prone MB Circuit.

3. Turkish Get-ups

The Turkish Get-up is a great indicator.  It can show hip mobility, shoulder stabilization and strength, leg strength, core strength, back strength, and more.  It’s challenging because of all of those things that this exercise shows.  It can really make your weaknesses known, not just by a coach, but the athletes, themselves, will feel it. Jenn over at Jenn-Fit Blog gives a great breakdown of the Turkish Get-up.


4. I-T-Ws w. Suspension Trainer

I love suspension trainers.  They are a great tool to train and teach exercises.  The I-T-Ws are one of those exercises that really hit the upper back in ways that make the muscles back there really upset with you.  That’s a good thing because most of us, if not all, need to start building up our back strength. This exercise will help improve posture as well.

5. Plank Variatons

It’s a deep burn and weird feeling when your whole body starts to shake uncontrollably.  My athletes don’t enjoy these very much.  When it comes to holding a plank position, I believe 30 seconds is a great goal to strive for before trying something different.  Yes, I’ve held it for longer than 30 seconds but at some point it can get boring.  Get a solid 30 seconds for several sets before moving onto the next variation.

There are definitely other ones, but get these two down first.

6. Suspended Leg Curls

Everyone can benefit from strengthening your hamstrings and glutes, especially athletes.  Suspended leg curls are no joke when it comes to isolating the hamstrings.  When I first tried them, I thought I was going to cramp up which is the same thing many athletes experience the first time they do these.

7. Any Pushup Variation

I actually enjoy pushups.  I remember when I met with an athlete for the first time for a consultation she told me she didn’t want to do any pushups or planks.  By the end of our first training session I got her working on her pushups.

8. Front Squats

I’m not saying front squats are worse than back squats or vice versa.  But most people prefer not to do front squats because at first it’s awkward, they don’t have the core strength or mobility in order to get into the correct position.

9. Reverse Lunges

When it comes to performing any lunge, I favor Reverse Lunges over forward because you can really feel them in the hamstrings and glutes.  For ladies who are looking at building up sexy legs and getting those jeans to fit nice, make Reverse Lunges your new friend.  Guys, you can also benefit from these as well.

10. Rear Foot Elevated Squats (RFES)

This is also known as Bulgarian Squats.  I really don’t know why they are Bulgarian.  RFES is part of a progression.  It’s not an exercise that you would start doing right away unless you can perform a proper split squat and reverse lunge. But once you got those two exercises down, RFES will be the next step up for single leg training.

What else did I miss? Share them below in the comments.