In the world of bodybuilding and weight training, there exist many exercises which are universally hated by virtually every trainee. These are the exercises everyone seems to conveniently ‘skip’ yet they also happen to be the most productive exercises around. I am listing them here so that you realise that you are not alone in hating them and also to make you aware that these are the exact exercises you need to be focus on. Should you find yourself avoiding these, know that you are potentially hampering your own progress which is of course, to your detriment.
1. Barbell Squat – I can already see your head beginning to drop. There used to be a time when I’d get so anxious before a set of heavy squats that I’d hyperventilate and feel nauseous. The reason of course was because squats are probably the most demanding physical exercise there is. My rendezvous with a set of squats was almost always an uphill climb, filled with struggle and extreme physical exertion.
In other words; it was EXTREMELY hard work. Many trainees feel the same and they always find themselves subconsciounsly avoiding the squat or doing everything they can to delay it. Don’t fall into this trap. Stay stubborn and get under that bar. Your physique will thank you for it.
2. Deadlift – We can’t name the squat without mentioning its equally evil cousin, the deadlift. There exist numerous variations of the deadlift, from the romanian deadlift, to the stiff legged deadlift and even the American deadlift (yes, I’m serious! )#). The bad news for you is that they are all equally difficult and evil. The benefits cannot be ignored so you’ll just have to grin and bear it.
3. Leg raises – Leg raises are the premier abdominal exercise. The only issue is, you have to lift the legs, which are generally cumbersome and ungainly especially if you don’t participate in any kinds of sport which require any level of grace and balance. This makes leg raises awkward and rather painful to perform/execute. For this reason, many trainees prefer to do sit ups instead. Bad idea. Leg raises are excellent exercises for not only the abs, but the hip flexors and other core muscles. They do a great job of increasing stability and core strength.
4. Calf Raises – This exercise isn’t particularly difficult. In-fact it’s very easy. The reason it’s hated and thus ignored is because it’s just tedious. Calf raises require an alarming amount of repetitions to be effective since they are aided by the ankle joint which is rather limited in its mobility. This means you can’t use too much weight. As a result, you need many reps to compensate for it.
This of course means you are stuck bobbing up and down on a platform for a while. Also, many programs leave calf raises till the very end. Who wants to do such a boring exercise after a gruelling exercise session? Nobody right? WRONG! If ever you want your legs to look impressive, you are doing yourself a great disservice by ignoring calf raises. Just do them – you’ll be glad you did.