There are some exercises that just about every man does.
Ok, maybe just curls and bench presses.
But still, I’d like to give you some credit to if you’re reading this article. I’d like to assume you’re also squatting, deadlifting, and doing some type of rows – you know, doing all the foundational movements and hitting every major muscle group.
But still, there are some amazing exercises that almost no guys are doing… That they really should be.
In this article I’ll cover 5 underused exercises that I believe every man should implement into his routine ASAP.
1. Farmer’s Walk
In a recent podcast episode I did with Dan John, he explained why he believes weighted carries are the number 1 “game-changing” exercise that everyone should be doing.
From his experience, they boost athletic performance across the board. He’s implemented them in his own routine, with his strength athletes, football players, and military personnel – and all of them swear that they made a HUGE impact on their overall performance.
Here are a few of their main benefits:
- Increased grip strength – this will help you strengthen other movements like your deadlift
- Strengthened core – with each step your core must stabilize your entire torso
- Improved posture – holding your shoulder blades back and your head high are two critical points for weighted carry form
The easiest way to implement weighted carries into your routine is by doing farmer’s walks.
To do a farmer’s walk, just pick up 2 heavy dumbbells and carry them as far as you can – keeping your core tight and your shoulders back. Then drop them, rest a minute, and carry them back.
2. Single Arm Press
We tend to focus far too much emphasis on horizontal pressing exercises like the bench press. Developing your pecs is important, but you also need to be doing overhead work to balance out the horizontal pressing.
This is key to shoulder and rotator cuff help (you should also be doing pulling movements) and it builds your shoulders up, too.
The single arm press is awesome because it really works your rotator cuff and shoulder stability, which almost all guys neglect, and it also will strengthen your core stabilizer muscles in your abdomen as well (not to mention your shoulders and triceps).
To do a single arm press, grab a dumbbell, bring it to your shoulder level, and press it straight up – keeping your stomach and butt contracted and tight.
3. Face Pulls
Speaking of shoulder health and good posture, almost no guys do direct rear delt work. Doing rows, pull-ups, and other back work will build the rear delts on their own, yes, but it doesn’t hurt to hit them directly, on their own, as well.
The benefits of doing direct rear-delt work include:
- Improved posture – strong rear delts will cause you to hold your shoulder blades back by default and stand taller
- Healthier shoulders and rotator cuff – almost everything we do is anterior-dominant (i.e. front-facing) and this causes our front deltoids to be far more developed than our rear deltoids, and this can cause problems
- Bigger rear delts and better looking shoulders – a lot of guys walk around with huge front delts from years of bench pressing, but no read delts to be seen – and this just looks bad
My favorite rear delt exercise is the face pull. To do a face pull, set up a rope attachment on a cable machine at about eye-level then pull it towards your face, keeping your elbows high and squeezing your shoulder blades together at the back.
4. Dumbbell Clean to Press
Alright I gotta give Dan John credit again here. His Mass Made Simple program introduced me to this amazing exercise.
It works the entire body. It builds strength and power in the entire body. And it’s really fucking fun to do. I also find it slightly easier than the barbell clean and press, and I’ve had more success getting my clients to learn it as well.
It’s a great move to start your workout, because it warms everything up – and takes a lot of focus and energy to perform with good form.
To do a dumbbell clean to press, grab 2 dumbbells, hinge forward at the hips (keeping your abs tight), then explosively thrust your hips forward and shrug your shoulders up to clean the weights to shoulder level, and finish by pressing the weights overhead – keeping your abs and butt tight.
5. Dynamic Warm-Up
The final underused exercise is not a specific exercise, but an entire warm-up.
You see – most guys warm up by cycling on the bike for a couple minutes or stretching their legs out. But this doesn’t really prep your joints and muscles for an intense workout.
You want to take your limbs through full range of motion, activate some key muscles, and get your blood flowing, too. This will help you avoid injury, lift more weight, and just prime your nervous system for the workout to come.
A simple dynamic warm-up that I love is Defranco’s Agile 8. Click here to check out my article demonstrating this dynamic warm-up.
And there you have it. Implement these movements into your routine, build a better, stronger body, and keep on beasting!