10 Odd, Beneficial Exercises
Lateral Monkey-Barring is a great way to build the upper posterior chain and the lower arms/hands. They can be done with a standard grip or with any and all variations of thick handles and/or attachments.
Exercise Description – Start with a wide pull-up grip on any bar, frame, rack or tree limb that will allow for some lateral movement. “Walk” the hands side by side, back and forth, right and left as long as possible. Once the 30 second barrier is crossed, add external weight and break the next 30 second barrier.
Heavy Overhead Walking can be an ultimate exercise. It is a total body movement, but the delts, triceps, and low back will reach threshold first. One of the inspirations for this was observed on the strongman circuit in the mid-2000’s. The best competitors could farmer’s walk, yoke, load, and medley without a belt, but when it came time to press, they would put on a belt, which shows how overhead work is very taxing and a total body movement.
Exercise Description – Press the apparatus (sandbag, dumbbells, yoke, or keg) overhead into the full locked position, locking elbows and shoulders completely out. During the exercise, keep the eyes on a fixed point. Quickly, walk keeping the arms locked for the duration of the movement and cover as much ground as possible.
The Keg Leg Raise is another wonderful total body tool, but because of the lack of handles, the chest and biceps will fatigue the fastest. This is a great example of putting the lower and thoracic back in an unpredictable and chaotic environment. This is a great tool for the arsenal of any combat athlete.
Exercise Description – Wrap the arms around a suspended keg, similar to a bear hug or body lock. Extend the legs, as if in a “hang.” Raise the legs straight up and down (extension to flexion) alternating from one side of the keg to the other. Concentrate on pulling the legs up towards the chest. Progress this, by unlocking the hands and squeezing the keg with open palms.
180 Rows (180 Degrees) are great for developing a STRONG upper back and a (vice) grip.
Exercise Description – Very similar to an inverted row, hold onto suspended straps, rings, or ropes. Kick the feet straight up towards the ceiling, and take the head back and down towards the floor (inverting the body 180 degrees). From this position, an athlete will row just like any other pulling movement initiated by scapular retraction. Regression takes place when the legs are wrapped around the strap or rope for stabilization purposes.
Strap Hop Ins/Outs
Exercise Description –Start in a pushup position on the ground with feet in straps. Next push up into a locked out pushup position, from there hop out using both arms forwards once to the maximum distance possible hop backwards in the opposite direction. When hopping backward try keep moving back until body is into a full handstand, key to this exercise is keeping the core tight the whole time. Continue doing this forward and backward movement until the required amount of trips is complete.
Musculature Used – Upper back, Shoulder, Triceps, and Core
Exercise Description – This exercise is a combination of a lunge with dumbbell row, the athlete will be holding dumbbells in each hand during the whole exercise. First, take a big step out leg so that the knee of the front leg is behind the toes of that foot. Next squat down until right before the back knee touches the ground. From the lunge position, lean forward and perform a row, pulling the dumbbells up and squeezing their shoulder blades back and tight at the top of the row. Once these parts of the exercise are complete drive through the heel of the front foot and squeeze the glutes while standing straight up. Next without taking any extra steps perform the same routine with the other leg and row again once down in the lunge.
Musculature Used – Upper Back, Biceps, Forearms, Glutes, Hamstrings, and Quads
Zercher-Style Good Mornings
Exercise Description – Before performing the good morning part of this exercise one must hold bar in the Zercher-style. This is performed by holding the bar in the crest of the arms between the biceps and forearms. Once the bar is in this position place the back of one hand into the palm of the other and locking their thumbs and keeping the bar as tight to them as possible by flexing arms and activating their back. Now unrack the bar; keeping eyes up take a few steps back and set the feet at shoulder width apart. Once feet are set, make a slight bend in the knees from there set the back (unlocking hips) drive glutes back reaching back like one would be sitting on a chair. While driving glutes back a stretching feeling should be felt in the hamstring, and then drives hips through and squeeze glutes standing back into the starting position.
Musculature Used – Upper back, Biceps, Forearms, Glutes, Lower back, and Hamstrings
Exercise Description – This exercise has a few variations, use a 25 pound plate, 45 pound plate, or multiple 45 pound plates depending on the strength of the athlete. Plate pushes are much harder than sled pushes because the athlete lacks leverage on the resistance. Push off both legs or make it unilateral and push off one.
Musculature Used – Quads, Glutes, and Calves
Exercise Description – First set the safety bars of a squat rack to a height that causes the athlete to squat lower than parallel for this exercise. Once the equipment is ready then step laterally underneath through to the other side of safety bar. With one fluid movement perform a squat by keeping eyes up and shoulder blades back set the back by unlocking the hips and drive hips back performing squat underneath the bar through to the other side of the bar. Make sure the squat is deep, the eyes high, and not bending over at the waist at all. To make the exercise more challenging, hold weights in the hands or wear chains around their necks, also lower the height of the safety bars would increase the difficultly.
Musculature Used – Glutes, Quads, Adductors, and Abductors
Heavy Front Carry
Exercise Description – Heavy Front Carry can performed by using multiple types of equipment, the best equipment is the yoke with an adjustable crossbar. For this exercise use the Zercher-style grip, the crossbar will be placed in the crest of their arms between the bicep and forearms. With the bar is in this position place back of one hand into the palm of the other and locking their thumbs and keeping the bar as tight as possible to the body by flexing arms and activating the back. With the Zercher-style grip is set the feet by walking under the bar and setting the feet shoulder with apart and keeping eyes high, then drive through the heels squeezing their glutes and drives hips through stand up with the yoke. Once standing straight up and with the yoke stable then walk quickly taking short step as fast as possible to maximum or designated distance.
Musculature Used – Upper back, Forearms, Biceps, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings and Adductors