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Top 10 Weights Exercises You Never Heard Of

Try These Uncommon Exercises


Updated January 20, 2012

Barbell Hack Squat

Barbell Hack Squat

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If you've been around weight training a while you will have heard of some of these, but perhaps not all. See how they shape up.

Hanging Leg Raise (Captain's Chair)

  • Stand in the captain's chair frame with arms resting on the chair arms. Grasp the upright handles if your model has them.
  • Ensure a firm position with the arms because you will be lifting your bodyweight from the floor.
  • Brace the abdominal muscles, raise the legs and lower.


  • Choose a flat gym bench and lie face up with legs comfortably to each side on the floor or resting on the foot rest.
  • Hold the dumbbell with both hands above your chest, straight up, and with the dumbbell shaft in a vertical position.
  • Move the weight down toward the rear of your head with a flexing of the elbows. Continue lowering the weight behind the head until the dumbbell head is about in line with the bench top.
  • Reverse the movement until the weight is held above the chest and repeat the exercise.

Combo Crunch

  • Lie on your back on the ground on a suitable exercise mat or towel.
  • Legs should be bent at the knees, and crossed at the ankles if this helps.
  • You can start with feet resting on the floor or slightly elevated.
  • Hands can be clasped behind the head, folded across the chest, or even extended beyond the head if you want to make the exercise exceptionally difficult.
  • Lift both shoulders and legs from the resting position to perform the abdominal crunch.

Medball Pushups

  • Position your body face down in the pushup position with hands on the floor, legs stretched out, balancing on the toes. You can also do this exercise with knees on the floor instead of toes.
  • Place a medicine ball between your hands in front of you. Now place both hands cupped on top of the ball.
  • Push up off the ball while attempting to balance on the ball. The ball, naturally, will try to roll around a little.
  • The extra instability works a few more muscles.

Cable Push Pull

  • Adjust a suitable cable rack so that you grasp a cable handle in each hand, one from each end of the rack. Face in the same direction of the cable pulls. Cable grips should be a little higher than waist high.
  • Stand with one leg forward so that you have a balanced position. You will work your arms, pulling one cable as you push with the other in a motion somewhat resembling a one-two punching movement.
  • The shoulders should rotate slightly and the knees should be slightly bent for balance.

Medicine Ball Skip Lunge

  • Stand upright with a medicine ball at the chest in both hands.
  • Skip forward and backward with split legs -- one leg thrust forward and the other thrust to the rear at the same time -- and then the reverse in a continuous motion.
  • Try this without the medicine ball until you get the idea of it.
  • You can make this more challenging by leaping higher with each skip, and by squatting lower in the lunge phase.
  • Take care not to make this exercise too demanding if you have ankle or knee-joint problems. Don't land too high on the toes.

Good Mornings

  • Place a barbell of suitable weight on the shoulders. The bar should rest on the trapezius muscles of the upper back in the shoulder area. Start with a light weight until you get familiar with this exercise.
  • Keeping the back straight, bend at the hips until the hamstring muscles at the rear of the thigh start to limit your movement. Bend a little further to give them a stretch, but not so that you feel pain or discomfort.
  • Maintain a straight back as you would when lifting from the floor: don't curl the back over. The legs should be kept straight: do not bend the knees. How low you can bend with this exercise depends on your flexibility across the posterior chain of muscles including the hamstrings, gluteals (butt) and lower back.

Medicine Ball Twist Crunch

  • Lie on a mat or surface suitable for doing floor exercises.
  • Select a medicine ball light enough to enable you to swing it to one side and return to starting position, yet heavy enough to make you work hard.
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent at about a 90-degree angle and your feet on the floor. Keeping the knees flexed gives you more stability.
  • Hold the medicine ball at the chest.
  • Lift the shoulders as you would for a standard crunch, and swing the ball to one side at the same time. Return the ball to the chest as you lower your shoulders to the floor. You may need to lift the shoulders a little higher than you would in a standard floor crunch.
  • As you lower the shoulders, bring the ball back to the chest position.

The Bird Dog

  • Kneel on the floor with hands firmly placed about shoulder width apart.
  • Brace the abdominals, and at first, practice lifting one hand and the opposite knee just clear of the floor while balancing on the other hand and knee. Half an inch will do until you get the idea of it.
  • When you're ready to do the complete exercise, point the arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg to the rear.
  • Hold for 10 seconds then return to hands and knees on the ground position.

Barbell Hack Squat

  • Select a barbell of appropriate weight for 8 to 12 repetitions for 3 sets.
  • Place the barbell behind the legs on the floor.
  • Squat down and grasp the barbell and raise it as you stand, behind the legs.
  • You don't have to rest the bar on the floor. Stop just short.
  • Rest for 30 to 90 seconds between sets.
  • Ensure good form by keeping the back straight and not curved over, legs about shoulder width apart, toes pointing out just a little, and knees not bucking inward or outward during the lift. This is a great lower-body exercise with benefits for the legs, butt and lower back. It also makes a nice change if you have trouble with back or front high bar squats because of shoulder or wrist flexibility.

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