There are standard workouts we all do because no matter how mundane they seem, we know they work. Squats are my nemesis, but I continue to do them because I know the affect they have on my butt and thighs.
I recently added a few variations to my standard workout and not only have I noticed new muscles are sore, but my new routine is not as mundane and boring anymore. I pulled together a few of my favorite variations, in case you are needing a change of pace with your workout.
Lunges can feel mundane and repetitive. I love this variation from Men's Health because it adds an extra challenge at the end of each side lunge. Without it, I find that I just go through the motions and am not mindful of my movements. With the lateral slide I am more conscious of my posture and timing.
Like I said, squats are not my friend. I slack off when it is time for squats, not engaging my muscles and speeding through the workout. These variations are helpful for those of you who also are easily bored by squats or need something to get you excited to do them. I like squat jumps because the jump adds a little flare and excitement to the routine.
This is a really solid list of push-up variations, whether you need an extra challenge or dislike push-ups as much as I dislike squats. The great thing about this list is that it gives some variations that branch into yoga and other means of using your body weight to gain strength.
Darbee provides an excellent resource for building a proper pull-up routine and variations that you can do once you have that routine down. Still not quite ready for pull-ups? This same resource gives strength exercises for you to work on to build up the right muscles, and alternatives you can do.
Planks are so multi-functional that any variations only add to their value. If you are going to be holding a long plank, there are several things you can do during that time that will provide added benefits. My favorite plank variation is definitely knee-to-elbow - I really feel a burn in my abs, and the shift in weight to my arms adds an extra challenge.
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