Top 10 Non Traditional, Muscle-Building, Fat Blasting Ab Exercises & Workouts
Here are a few of my preferred non-traditional training techniques:
1. Staircase Workouts – This is great because stairs are everywhere. You can go to a football field and do stadium stairs, any building that has stairs like a hotel (most people take the elevator, so you won’t even have many people looking at you while you’re working out), or even the stairs in your own home. For an awesome full body workout, try mixing stairs sprints with an upper body exercise like pushups or pull-ups. If done with a high enough intensity, stairs workouts help to create changes throughout your entire body due to the muscle building and fat burning hormonal response and metabolism increase that you get through working the biggest muscle groups in your entire body.
2. Jumping exercises. Squat jumps, box jumps, lunge jumps, and broad jumps are some of the best ways to incorporate explosive jumping exercises into your routines. The explosive and powerful nature of jumping exercises works your leg muscles in an entirely different way than most normal slow grinding strength training moves. I’ve even seen a university study cited once that found squat jumps to elicit the greatest testosterone response of all exercises studied. That means more muscle and less fat on your entire body, not just your legs. Try super-setting jumping exercises with upper body exercises for some really intense workouts.
3. Bodyweight Workouts – Try doing one or two workouts a week at home with
just bodyweight based exercises. These can be great because you can get
a high intensity workout done in only 15-30 minutes without having to go to
the gym on days that you might not have time for a trip to the gym. Try to take very short rest periods or none at all to really amp up the intensity since this will be a brief workout.
If you’re more advanced, you can even incorporate more challenging exercises like handstand pushups, one-arm pushups, and one-legged squats into your bodyweight training routines.
4. Ring Training – This type of training basically uses portable gymnastic rings
that you can take anywhere with you. You throw the straps up over any high
bar like a pullup bar, the top of a power rack, or even over a football field
goal crossbar. Then you can quickly adjust the rings to do exercises like ring
dips, ring pushups, ring pull-ups, hanging leg raises, horizontal body rows,
L-sits, and more. Dips and pushups on the rings are my favorites and the
rings really make them a hell of a lot more difficult, while also incorporating
your stabilizer muscles to a much greater degree. The rings allow your joints
to move in a more natural pattern and can help you prevent or even recover
from shoulder injuries. Personally, when I try dips on a normal dip stand, it
hurts my shoulders. However, dips on the training rings feel perfect, and
also give me a much better muscle pump. The training rings are one of the
best training devices I’ve ever bought. Give them a try…I think you’ll like
them if you’re up for a challenge. Ever notice the impressive upper body
development of gymnasts… yep, that’s mostly due to the rings!
5. Swimming – A great full body workout that stresses the muscles and joints in a much different way than most resistance training. Incorporating swimming workouts once or twice a week into your normal training routings can really enhance your physique. I recommend trying a “sprint” style swimming workout, which will help more for building muscle compared with endurance long distance swimming. For sprint style, swim as hard as you can to the other side of a 25-meter or 50-meter pool (or sprint swim similar
distances in a lake or the ocean if you like to swim outdoors). Rest enough o catch your breath between sprint swims (about 20-40 seconds). Try to keep the rest intervals fairly short with swim sprints. You can also mix different strokes (crawl, breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke, butterfly) on each swim sprint. I’ve found that sprint swimming gives me a great muscle pump (especially in the upper body), without any soreness the next day as is typical with weight training. This is because swimming has no eccentric
movement (the negative portion of a lift), which is what causes muscle soreness. You can get a great sprint swimming workout done in about 30-40 minutes. Keep in mind that even though swimming works your muscles well and is a great alternative workout to mix in once or twice a week, it does not trengthen your bones. You still need to do regular weight training to do that.
6. Sandbag Training – This form of training is a nice variation to mix in with your strength training. It works your body with an unstable object, which makes muscles that might normally be neglected get in on the action to perform the movements. I’ve been mixing some sandbag training into my routines for over a year now, and I’ve found it is a very intense method of training that works your muscles in a different way and gets you huffing and puffing like crazy. You can make your own sandbags to train with by filling
various sized duffle bags with sand, or you can use those construction type sandbags that come in several shapes. Sandbag exercises can be done as squats, cleans, presses, lunges, shouldering, throws or heaves, carrying up hills, etc. Make no mistake…adding intense sandbag training to your routine will have you ripped in no time! I’ve actually read an entire book recently devoted to sandbag training, which gave me some really good ideas for sandbag based workouts.
7. Mountain Biking – As you may have figured out by now, I’m not a proponent
of steady pace endurance exercise, but rather, highly variable intensity exercise that works with bursts of exertion followed by recovery intervals. Well, mountain biking fits this bill perfectly. You get the leg pumping exertion during the uphill climbs, while also getting the adrenaline rush of the downhill acting as your recovery intervals. Mix it all together and you get a super-fun, high-intensity, leg burning workout that will melt fat off of your entire body and build awesome legs at the same time. The climbs can be
tough and will challenge you both physically and mentally as you pump away trying to make it up steep hills without having to resort to getting off of the bike. Then after you make it up the challenging climbs, you get rewarded with the adrenaline rush of flying down steep hills while jumping off of boulders and logs and trying not to stumble or fall off the bike.
8. Indoor (or outdoor) Rock Climbing – This is yet another fun way to get in a
great workout that will also challenge you both physically and mentally. Indoor rock climbing gyms have starting popping up all over the place in recent years and will be more accessible than outdoor rock climbing to most people. Rock climbing is a great workout for your legs, arms, shoulders, and your entire back. It also really works your grip strength and forearms like crazy. Whenever I go indoor rock climbing (which is only on occasion), my forearms are sore for about 2-3 days afterwards.
9. Strongman Training - This type of training is a little more hard-core, but it’s a blast for those who are into trying something different. The premise is based on the types of exercises competitors perform in the “worlds strongest man” competitions. If you have a yard, you can even set up some of these exercises in your yard and do some outdoor workouts to have a little fun. Your neighbors will probably give you some funny looks…lol! You can get one of those giant tractor tires and do tire flips (which is basically a deadlift followed by a push-press). You can also try your hand at log lifts, boulder lifts and carries, keg lifts and tosses, weighted sled dragging…anything that involves pulling, pushing, lifting, or heaving any types of odd objects. You don’t need to be a monster to enjoy this type of training…just handle whatever size objects are challenging for your individual strength. Strongman training works your entire body in a very intense fashion and could easily spark some new results.
10. Stick Wrestling – This is a killer full body workout and can also be a great
competition between you and your friends. This is probably more of a guy thing for most. You could even come up with your own “fight club” and have stick wrestling competitions with your buddies to see who is toughest. There are actually sticks designed specifically for stick wresting, but you can even just use a strong broomstick cut down to about 30-36 inches long and taped up with some athletic tape to prevent splinters. For your stick wrestling workout, stand on a soft mat or carpeted area (or grass if outdoors), match up with a friend or foe. You’ll both grab the same stick toward the ends with
your hands on the outsides of your partner’s hands, on the inside, or staggered. Then you simply push, pull, jerk, and thrash your opponent around trying to knock them off balance until they either fall or lose their grip of the stick…and you win that round! Be careful not to get the stick up high and knock each other in the face. Use common sense.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these ideas for ways to really shake up your workouts and make them fun again.