Do you even lift, bro? That YouTube video has been a viral favorite amongst those within the fitness and CrossFit community now for a few years…but seriously, do YOU even lift, bro? When it comes to improving your performance, gaining strength, enhancing your endurance, what are the secrets to your success? Obviously hard work pays off…but you can only snatch, clean, squat, press, deadlift, row and run so much, day in and day out, right? Gains do come…with time and diligence. However, what if you could incorporate other exercises and movements to help up your game? Often times, clients and athletes feel stuck in their progressions, staring at the same ol’ barbell, with the same ol’ weight on it, wondering why their lifts aren’t going up…or running their usual 400-meters, wondering why they just can’t break 1:40. Here are some unconventional and creative exercises you are probably not doing that can add a slight edge to your ho-hum routine and perhaps even some faster gains: Trap-3 Raise Step 1: Grab a pair of light dumbbells or small weight plates (2.5-5 lbs). Step 2: Stand with a neutral, shoulder width stance, slight bend in the knees, flat back and flexed torso; May also be performed, seated, facing down on an incline bench at 45-degrees. Step 3: Let the dumbbells hang down at arm's length and rotate the dumbbells outward at a 45 degree angle. This is the starting position. Step 4: Begin by retracting your shoulder blades and raising the dumbbells up to shoulder height. Protract shoulder blades and lower weight back down to starting position. Single Arm Upright Row Step 1: Grab a dumbbell and stand up straight with your arm extended in front of you with a slight bend at the elbows and your back straight. The dumbbell should be resting on top of your thigh with the palm of your hands facing your thighs. The other hand can be kept fully extended to the side, by the waist or grabbing a fixed surface. Step 2: Use your side shoulders to lift the dumbbell as you exhale. The dumbbell should be close to the body as you move it up. Continue to lift it until the dumbbell is nearly in line with your chin Your elbows should drive the motion. As you lift the dumbbell, your elbow should always be higher than your forearm. Maintain a strong core and stationary torso. Pause for a second at the top of the movement. Step 3: Lower the dumbbell back down slowly to the starting position. Inhale as you perform this portion of the movement. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and switch arms. Skin the Cat Step 1: Grip the gym rings and begin in a dead-hang position with hands turned out. Step 2: Keep arms and legs straight; body tight. Point the toes and raise the legs up, continuing the movement until the feet pass up through the arms and overhead into a pike inverted hang position. Step 3: Continue to pass the feet around and down toward the ground (but not touching) into the extended 'skin the cat' position. The arms should be fully extended. Step 4: Lift your hips and raise the legs back and over to the starting hang position. Wall Facing Handstand holds Step 1: Start lying flat on ground on stomach, feet facing and touching the wall. Step 2: Keeping your body tight, place one foot on the wall and begin to walk feet up the wall while walking hands back into an inverted position. Step 3: Bring your body as close to the wall as possible; legs and feet up high, arms locked out, stomach close to wall, nose nearly touching. Step 4: Maintain hold for prescribed amount of time. Powell Raises Step 1: Lie down with your left side on a flat bench, or even the floor. Rest your left forearm on the bench or floor. Step 2: Grab a light dumbbell or small plate in your right hand and let hang down in front of body. Palm should be turned toward body and elbow slightly bent. This is the start position. Step 3: Begin the exercise by raising the dumbbell up until is above your shoulder, do so without changing the bend in your elbow. Pause, then lower dumbbell back down slowly to starting position. Repeat for number of reps and switch sides. External Rotation Step 1: Sit on a flat bench or floor with your right leg bent (foot resting on the surface you are sitting on) and rest your right elbow on your right knee, holding a light dumbbell in your right hand. Place your left hand on the bench or floor behind you, supporting yourself. Step 2: Bend the elbow of the arm holding the dumbbell so that it creates a 90-degree angle between the upper arm and the forearm. Keep the arm parallel to your torso. Step 3: Bend the elbow while keeping the upper arm stationary. In this manner, the forearm will be parallel to the floor and perpendicular to your torso (your forearm will be directly in front of you). Step 4: Exhale and externally rotate your forearm so that the dumbbell is lifted up in a semicircle motion as you maintain the 90 degree angle bend between the upper arms and the forearm. You will continue this external rotation until the forearm is perpendicular to the floor and the torso pointing towards the ceiling. At this point you will hold the contraction for a second. Step 5: Inhale and slowly go back to the starting position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and then switch arms.