Enter most gyms, and you’ll likely observe the same old exercises. People will be on their backs bench pressing, standing doing squats or seated pressing weights overhead.
These positions are effective, but there’s another way to challenge your body. Kneeling and half-kneeling positions develop strength, while also improving balance and core stability. But how often do you see athletes exercising in these positions? If you go to a big box gym, probably never. Things change a bit when you visit strength and conditioning facilities.
Here are 11 of the top kneeling and half-kneeling exercises that you should consider adding to your workouts.
But first, a form tip. Many newbies make the mistake of performing this exercise with sloppy technique. Their lower back arches and they have trouble balancing. To correct this issue, make sure to squeeze your glutes and keep your abs braced throughout each exercise.
Kneeling and Half-Kneeling Exercises
Kneel on your left knee with the right leg in a lunge position and hold the med ball overhead. Drive the ball diagonally across your body toward the right hip and simultaneously rotate right. Slowly return to start position and repeat nine more times. Immediately switch kneeling positions (left leg now in a lunge position) and do 10 Ball Chops. Excellent for strengthening the oblique and upper-body muscles.
Kneeling on both knees in an upright position, hold the dumbbells with a pronated grip near your thighs and pull them up to chest level. Hold one second and slowly return to start, and repeat nine more times. This version is harder than regular standing Upright Rows since your core muscles are forced to work harder while kneeling.
Knee-Elevated Ball Rollouts
This movement really tests both balance and core strength compared with typically rolling out the ball while kneeling on both knees. The exercise is also beneficial for strengthening the hip flexors and core muscles. Start by placing both hands atop the ball while kneeling on both knees. Raise the right knee and roll the ball forward extending your arms and roll it back, continuing for 10 reps. Without rest, repeat with the left knee airborne.
Begin by kneeling on your right knee (left leg in a lunge position) and holding one dumbbell in the left hand on your shoulder while your right arm is laterally extended at shoulder level (placing you in an unstable position that will effectively engage the core muscles while pressing the dumbbell overhead 10 times). Immediately switch and do 10 Overhead Presses with the right hand/left arm extended while kneeling on your left knee.
A wonderful exercise for aligning the spine and also for boosting balance, start by kneeling on both knees and your hands spaced shoulder-width apart on the soft surface. Looking straight ahead (not downward), lift your right knee and extend the leg back while simultaneously raising your left hand and extending your arm forward at shoulder level. Focus on an object ahead of you (or your hand) to maintain balance and hold the position 10 seconds. Repeat with the left knee/leg airborne and the right hand/arm extended. Continue alternating 10 times.
Knee-Elevated Ball Press-Out
This demanding exercise simultaneously targets chest and shoulder muscle endurance and core stability. Begin in an upright kneeling position while holding the med ball with the arms extended at chest level. Raise the left knee and try holding the position for 30 seconds. Immediately switch positions and repeat with the right knee airborne.
Step-Ups with Arm Circles
Kneel on your left knee with the right knee in a lunge position and the arms laterally extended at shoulder level. Press off on the right foot and stand up straightening your legs while doing clockwise Arm Circles. Repeat nine more times, then immediately switch kneeling on your right knee and pressing off with the left foot for 10 reps while doing counterclockwise Arm Circles. Another upper- and lower-body and core muscle- strengthening and endurance-building exercise.
Knee-Elevated Ball Push-Ups
Kneel on both knees with your hands atop the ball in a modified Push-Up position. Lift the right knee and perform 10 Push-Ups. Immediately switch raising the left knee and do another 10 Push-Ups, enhancing balance and upper-body size and strength.
Nordic Hamstring Curls
You’ll need a teammate or partner for this hamstring/hip/core-strengthening exercise. Begin in an upright kneeling position with your hands held shoulder width at chest level. Have your partner hold your ankles. Slowly go forward toward the mat or towel and land on your hands. Explosively push off and return to start and repeat nine more times.
Use one db for this arm/back/core-building exercise. Begin in a modified Push-Up position on both knees with the db at your right side. Elevate your right knee and pull the db with your right hand (neutral grip) to your waist and pause while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly lower and do nine more reps. Immediately switch by raising your left knee and pulling the db with your left hand to the waist 10 times.
Rows and Curls
Kneel on your left knee with the right leg in a lunge stance. Hold both dbs with an underhand grip with the arms extended at waist level. Explosively pull the dbs to your waist and curl them. Slowly lower to the waist and extend them away from you to the start position and repeat the Row/Curl sequence nine more times. Immediately switch kneeling positions and do 10 reps to add biceps and back size and strength and continue engaging core muscles.