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8 Underused Exercises Athletes Need to Include More in Their Training

Snatches, burpees, wall balls, toes to bar, DU etc are all common in CrossFit workouts all around the world. But what less well known exercises should you be including in order to get stronger and counter imbalances?

Although movements like snatches, toes-to-bar and kipping pull-ups are what makes CrossFit unique and provide great material for your Instagram account, you cannot neglect these underused exercises that build strength, prevent injury, and improve your overall fitness in the long run.

With CrossFit now being a mainstream sport, the training demands are higher than ever. Performing some high skill movements on a regular basis can be quite taxing if you don’t have a solid base of strength, to begin with.

If you want to increase the options of movements you should do as a CrossFit athlete, there are a few underused exercises you could focus on. They will increase your overall fitness level and you will start adding them into your daily training routine.

Here are 8 underused exercises CrossFitters need to do more:

1. Bulgarian Split Squats

With the exception of maybe the pistol squat, there aren’t many single-leg movements performed in CrossFit.  In order to address lower body weaknesses and prevent muscle imbalances, exercises like the Bulgarian split squat are a must. Use the split squat as an alternative to heavy squats or as accessory work for the quads and glutes.

Read more: Bulgarian Split Squat: How to Do It, Muscles Worked, Benefits and Workouts

2. Sumo Deadlifts – Underused Exercises

As opposed to the conventional deadlift, the sumo deadlift reduces stress on the lower back and in many cases will allow you to move more weight due to a shorter range of motion. The wider stance will also help to better strengthen the glutes and can lead to noticeable gains in all your squatting movements (i.e. back squats, front squats, thrusters).

3. 1-Arm Dumbbell Rows

I mentioned earlier that there aren’t a lot of single-leg movements in CrossFit. The same goes for single arm movements.  The  1 arm dumbbell row is a classic exercise that is great for developing back and grip strength. If you want to improve your pullups, use this exercise to improve your pulling power.

Read more: Dumbbell Row: Who Should Do It, Benefits, & Mistakes to Avoid (Plus 5 Workouts)

4. Ab Wheel Rollouts – Underused Exercises

A simple but very effective exercise to strengthen the midline. If GDH sit-ups and toes to bar aren’t in your arsenal yet, the ab wheel is a great stepping stone.

5. Russian Kettlebell Swings

This exercise is not to be overlooked as it can provide tremendous value in strengthening the posterior chain (lower back, glutes, and hamstrings).  Don’t let the reduced range of motion fool you. With heavier loads, the Russian kettlebell swing can pack a punch that will help to improve your overall strength.  On days where your shoulders are feeling beat up but you still want to get a good workout, go Russian.

6. Sprinting – Underused Exercises

True speed is rarely tested in the sport of CrossFit but that doesn’t mean you should completely neglect this form of training. Explosive power and anaerobic conditioning are some of the main benefits of sprinting. If you want a high intensity workout that doesn’t involve a barbell, try some hill sprints to shake thing up a bit.

underused exercisesSource: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

Read more: Hill Sprint Workouts to Take Your Endurance to the Next Level

7. Glutes Ham Raises 

Disputably one of the best exercises for posterior chain development, glutes ham raises should be a part of any good strength program. You can perform full glute ham raises or negatives until you develop enough strength. Either way, use them to bulletproof your backside!

8. Straight bar dips – Underused Exercises

If you don’t have ring dips yet, straight bar dips are the perfect progression. With more stability than rings, straight bar dips will help you build the upper body strength necessary to eventually tackle the rings. 

They key to fitness is keeping an open mind and leaving no stone unturned in your training.

These exercises might not seem that glamorous and you’ll probably never do them in competition, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable to your overall fitness. It’s the little things done behind the scenes that will allow you to do the big things that much better. 

Read More: 12 Unique Exercises You Are Not Doing (But Should)

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