Content of the material
The Hardest Gym Exercises You Should Try
The results you get from working out are directly proportional to the effort you put in. Training your body is a constant battle where you push yourself to shock your muscles with harder exercises in every single workout.
Most people avoid the hard exercises and stick with the easier ones which is why only a few people are successful in transforming their bodies. To see a change in your physique, you need to make these exercises a part of your exercise arsenal.
Squats are the king of leg exercises. Compound movements are harder to perform as they use multiple muscle joints as compared to the single-joint isolation exercises. Very few people perform the squats with the full range of motion – ass to grass and a strict form.
Deadlifts are another dreaded exercise and only a few people perform them in their workouts. All the exercises mentioned in the list are hard to perform as they require skill to perform and can take some time to perfect.
Bench press, squats, and deadlifts are the three big compound exercises and are some of the most fundamental exercises you can perform. Lifting heavy on the bench press takes some serious strength and a big heart.
Walking lunges add a new level of difficulty to leg training by adding the walking aspect to this exercise. Maintain a full range of motion while performing this exercise. The knee of your second leg should be an inch away from the ground at the bottom of the movement.
As the name suggests, performing the military presses require a military level discipline and a strict form. Most people use momentum to lift the bar above their shoulders or push the barbell forward as they complete the movement in place of pushing it over their heads.
Muscle-ups aren’t for the faint-hearted. Chances are, you might have never even seen anyone perform the muscle-ups at your gym. Muscle-ups require brute upper body strength and a strong core.
Skullcrushers are arguably the hardest triceps exercise. To perform the skullcrushers correctly, lock out your elbows at the top of the movement and squeeze your triceps. The barbell should be an inch away from your forehead at the bottom of the movement.
Bicep pumps will never be the same for you once you do the 21’s. Hold a barbell with a shoulder-width grip and perform seven half repetitions from the bottom to the mid of the full range of motion. Perform the second set of seven reps from the top to the middle of the movement and the final seven reps with a full range of motion. Perform the 21 reps without any rest in between and the 21 reps will be one set.
Planks are the ultimate exercise for building core strength. Most people make the mistake of slouching their butt or forming a bridge while planking. Keep your core tight and body in a straight line while performing the planks.
Burpees are one of the hardest bodyweight cardiovascular exercises. The trick while performing the burpees is to maintain constant intensity. By the end of this exercise, you’ll be gasping for breath and swimming in the pool of your own sweat.
*Header image courtesy of Evato Elements.
#5. Planche Push-up
The planche push-up is a perfect example of getting a good workout in without the need for equipment. With just a few feet of open space, you can give these a shot.
It’s not just a great arm workout, it requires some serious core strength, too. Note that this is a movement where you’re at risk of falling on your face if you try it without being well-prepared. Some great exercises to prepare you for the Planche Push-up Challenge are the bench dip, L-sit on the dip bar, and the close-grip bench press.
Myth 2: Avoiding exertion means you are lazy
Whenever I see an escalator next to a stairway, a little voice in my brain says, “Take the escalator.” Am I lazy? Although escalators didn’t exist in bygone days, that instinct is totally normal because physical activity costs calories that until recently were always in short supply (and still are for many people). When food is limited, every calorie spent on physical activity is a calorie not spent on other critical functions, such as maintaining our bodies, storing energy and reproducing. Because natural selection ultimately cares only about how many offspring we have, our hunter-gatherer ancestors evolved to avoid needless exertion – exercise – unless it was rewarding. So don’t feel bad about the natural instincts that are still with us. Instead, accept that they are normal and hard to overcome.
#1. Human Flag
What’s the hardest exercise ever? We’re going with the human flag. This one requires ridiculous core strength in addition to the amount of upper body strength required to hold yourself in a straight line. You’re also going to need some leg strength to get the full extension.
Remember: you’re holding your body in a straight line out from whatever you’re hanging on to. Just because it’s called the human flag, doesn’t mean you should sway back and forth – keep it steady! While you don’t have to hold yourself out in a straight line all day for the Human Flag Challenge, you should aim for 5-10 seconds.
Change Things Up
People will often work out because they know they are "supposed' to, like going to a dentist. This kind of thinking will almost certainly doom you to failure.
While it would be unrealistic to suggest that workouts are inherently "fun," it would be a mistake to detract from the benefits they can bring to your life, namely to make you feel and look better. Don't give up if you find that your routine is boring, draining, taxing, or tedious. Instead, change it up. Here's how:
- Stop doing what you hate. Forget what you are "supposed" to do and find the program that brings you a level of enjoyment while meeting your fitness goals.
- Keep an open mind. We often have a fixed idea of what a "proper" routine entails (three sets of twelve reps) and quickly fall into a rut. The best way to find new inspiration is to break old habits.
- Count everything. We also tend to be hard on ourselves and get frustrated if we have a "bad" workout. There is no such thing. The fact you are there means that you're putting in the time. Even if you spend 20 minutes on a treadmill and call it a day, you're still getting more benefit from that than sitting on a couch. Give yourself a break and take time to adjust your routine to find new inspiration.
Myth 10: Exercise is a magic bullet
Finally, let’s not oversell exercise as medicine. Although we never evolved to exercise, we did evolve to be physically active just as we evolved to drink water, breathe air and have friends. Thus, it’s the absence of physical activity that makes us more vulnerable to many illnesses, both physical and mental. In the modern, western world we no longer have to be physically active, so we invented exercise, but it is not a magic bullet that guarantees good health. Fortunately, just a little exercise can slow the rate at which you age and substantially reduce your chances of getting a wide range of diseases, especially as you age. It can also be fun – something we’ve all been missing during this dreadful pandemic.
Daniel E Lieberman is professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard and author of Exercised: The Science of Physical Activity, Rest and the Pursuit of Health (Penguin, £9.99). Buy a copy for £9.29 at guardianbookshop.com