10 Incredibly Awkward Exercises That Build Tons of Muscle

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1. Glute Bridge

What it works:

This is one of the best fundamental exercises that engages your abs, lower back, hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings—and one of the easiest to incorporate into a warmup or workout. “Most guys skip hip bridges because they look simple, and they’ve most likely seen their girlfriend doing it for her butt,” Langowski says. That, and you’d rather not be that guy thrusting in a a crowded gym. But guess what, it pays to be that guy. Glute bridges are great for activating the muscles in your lower body and warming up your spine.

How to do it:

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Keep your arms relaxed at your sides. Slowly raise your hips off the floor by activating your glutes and hamstrings, pushing your heels into the floor. Keep your glutes and abs engaged. Once you’re at the top of the movement, pause for 2 seconds (your body should be in a straight line from your knees to shoulders). Return to the starting position by slowly unrolling your body from the top to the base of your spine. Note: To make it more challenging, place your feet on an elevated surface, do single-leg variations, or place a bar across your hips.

Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Superset this with exercise #2: Dive bomber pushups. 

2. Dive Bomber Pushups

What it works:

Alright, you’re hesitant to do these outside the comfort of your home for the same reason you aren’t gung-ho to drop down into downward dog at the gym—you’d rather not stick your butt up in the air, warmup or workout be damned. But in truth, this pushup variation is an excellent full-body movement that dynamically builds strength and flexibility in your chest, shoulders, back, hips, and triceps. Plus, you’ll get a nice stretch in your hamstrings and lower back.

How to do it:

Start in a downward dog yoga position with your hands planted on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and stick your butt (you guessed it) high in the air. “Keep your back straight, not hunched, so you look like an inverted ‘V,’” Langowski says. Now, press into your heels, really focusing on keeping your legs as straight as possible to get a stretch in your hamstrings. From there, lower your shoulders and swoop down so your chest brushes the ground. Hold the position for 2 to 3 seconds, then press yourself up so that your back is arched and your arms straight. Now reverse the movement by lowering back down so your chest brushes the ground again, and you return to the starting position.

Complete 3 sets of 6-10 reps. Superset this with exercise #1: Glute bridges. 

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