I’m taking a guess that for most of the strength exercises you do in the gym or see online they will be in one direction. Up and down or forwards and backwards. Whether that is squats and deadlifts or bench press and shoulder press you are holding yourself back by only exercising in one direction. Ok, you might do the odd lateral lunge now and then but you will be seriously restricting your potential by only working in one direction.
Why is this? Well, sport, life and general activity never happens in a straight line. Whether that is hitting your best golf shot (rotation), lifting some shopping from the floor to the kitchen table (lateral, rotational and linear) or being dragged along by your very enthusiastic dog on a walk (all directions), strength training in multiple directions is critical to see the best results, reduce injury and get a better quality of life.
So, now you know the critical reason behind why this is so important, let’s delve into the top 5 strength exercises you’ve never done!
Whether you play sport or spend your time running after your kids, a multi-lunge is a great exercise for multi-directional strength. Set up with a dumbbell or kettlebell in a goblet position (held close to your chest). Step to the side into a lateral lunge (keeping both feet pointing forwards and your stance leg straight as an arrow) and push off back to the middle. As you push back to the middle, instead of going into another lateral lunge step to the 10’oclock position to go into a cross over lunge (imagine you’re looking at a clock). Perform 8-12 reps each side for 3-5 sets.
TRX Drop Lunge
The TRX is a great piece of kit that I guarantee you don’t use enough off. It’s great for those who have joint injuries and the odd niggle here and there. Grab the TRX in both hands with your feet shoulder width apart, starting with your left leg (again, imagine you’re in the middle of the clock face) your going to put your foot back and across your body to the 5 o’clock position and lunge down. Perform the same reps and sets as the multi-lunge above.
This is a great exercise for upper body strength and stability. Place a barbell in the landmine attachment (you will find one at the bottom of a squat rack and it looks like a little sleeve for the end of the barbell), placing your wrists together, palms facing each other, hold the top of the bar in your hands. Stand with the bar in the middle of your chest, feet shoulder width apart, soft knees and hips. Extend your arms so the landmine is out in front of you, rotate the bar (keeping your arms straight) to your left hip and then over to your right for 1 rep. Perform 6-10 reps for 3-4 sets
Where the exercises mentioned above are all about PRODUCING multi-directional force, this one is all about resisting multi-directional forces. Being able to resist these forces can increase joint health, tendon strength and joint stability. This can be done on a cable machine or with a band, either way, place the band/cable so it is in the middle of your torso. Stand side on to the cable/band and place the cable handle or band in the palm of your hand that’s closest to the equipment. PLace your other hand over the top and step away so you get tension on the equipment. Stand in a ¼ squat position, placing the band/cable at your belly button and press out as far as you can. Perform 10-15 reps for 3-4 sets
Corkscrew bicep curl
This wouldn’t be a strength blog post without a good bicep curl variation for a good pump! Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, placing your knuckles on your thigh. Keeping your elbows