We’ve all witnessed some feat of fitness that’s made us want to lace up our sneakers and run up the stairs like we’re Rocky. But even if we’re not flipping tires or walking on our hands, exercise has a wonderful way of making us feel like superheroes—no cape required. If you’re craving the feel-good endorphin rush only a truly epic workout brings, try one of these totally doable moves. We guarantee you’ll torch calories, build strength, and feel like you just took down all the bad guys.
1. Double Kettlebell Front Rack Carry
Want to pretend you’re rescuing innocent bystanders from a super-villain? The double kettlebell front rack carry will help you build the core strength and stability you’d need to carry them off to safety.
Not only does this move develop muscular endurance throughout your torso, but it also fires up your biceps, forearms, and shoulder stabilizers, says Todd Nief, C.S.C.S., owner and founder of Chicago CrossFit® studio South Loop Strength & Conditioning.
How to do it: Grab a pair of kettlebells and hold them at chest height with your palms facing each other. Tuck your elbows down into your sides so the bells rest on the outsides of your forearms. (It’s not a comfortable position, but you shouldn’t feel pain in your wrists or forearms.)
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Like you would with a farmer’s carry, hold this position and walk around. Keep your core tight and your posture upright to avoid putting extra pressure on your low back.
To focus on strength, use heavy kettlebells and walk for 50 to 100 feet—pacing back and forth if you need to, Nief suggests. To incorporate this move into a circuit-style workout, just use more moderate weight.
2. Dumbbell Snatch
The dumbbell snatch is one of the most effective conditioning moves around, and ends with you standing with one arm extended overhead as if you’re about to fly through the air like Superman. In this move, you’ll fire up your glutes and hamstrings while using your back, abs, and shoulders to maintain stability, says Nief.
How to do it: Stand with a dumbbell between your feet and drop your hips down to grab it with one hand. Keep your chest up and spine neutral. Then, push through your legs to lift the dumbbell off the floor. As you pull the dumbbell upward, extend your hips and let your elbow bend so you can press the dumbbell straight up overhead when it reaches shoulder-height. Finish in a stable standing position with the dumbbell extended up over your head. Lower it back down and repeat on the other side.
To maximize the dumbbell snatch’s cardio and muscular endurance benefits, use a moderate weight dumbbell and moderate-to-high repetitions (between 15 and 25).
3. D-Ball Over-Shoulder Throw
Chucking a big, heavy ball up and over your shoulder fires up most of your major muscle groups while making you feel like you’re rescuing people trapped in a rock slide. Nief likes performing these with a D-ball, which is filled with sand and a bit softer than a medicine ball.
Like the dumbbell snatch, this move fires up your lower body and core as you pull the ball off the ground, and challenges your core and upper body as you throw it up over your shoulder, says Nief.
How to do it: Place the ball between your feet and drop down so you can get your hands under it. Keep your hips low, your chest up, and your back flat. Push through your hips and legs to lift the ball off the floor, keeping your elbows down and close to your sides.
If needed, drop your hips back down into a squat to get under the ball so you can push it up over your shoulder. Otherwise, the ball should have enough momentum to roll up your chest and back over your shoulder. Repeat, but chuck the ball over your other shoulder this time.
Get some cardio in by performing these HIIT-style, like in the following quickie from Nief:
4. Turkish Get-Up
The Turkish get-up is a complicated but worthwhile exercise that requires full-body stabilization and coordination as you move through a number of positions to go from lying down to standing up while holding a weight.
If you thought the ending position of a dumbbell snatch was satisfying, just wait ‘til you make it through the slow, grueling Turkish get-up.
How to do it: Lie on the floor on your back with a kettlebell pressed up in the air in your right hand. Lock your elbow out and let the bell rest flat against the back of your forearm. Bend your right knee to plant your foot firmly on the floor. Leave your left leg extended on the ground. This is your starting position.
From here, keep your right arm locked out over your shoulder and roll up to rest on your left forearm. Then press up onto your left hand so you’re in a tall seated position. Then press through your right foot to lift your hips off the ground so your torso forms a straight line (like a modified side plank). Swoop your left foot back under your hips and plant your knee in line with your left hand. From here, push up into a half-kneeling position with your left arm at your side. Push through your left foot to stand up, still keeping your right arm locked out above your shoulder. Pause in this flying Superman position, then slowly reverse the movement to return the bell to the floor. That’s one rep. Repeat on the opposite side.
To build strength, perform five sets of just a few reps (five tops) per side using heavy weight, Nief suggests. For a conditioning challenge that leaves you sweating and gasping for air, perform a few sets of two-minute Turkish get-up AMRAPs (shoot for about 20 reps) on each side using a moderate weight.
5. Sorensen Hold
This move quite literally makes you feel like a superhero as you hold a position that looks a whole lot like flying.
In a Sorensen hold, you hold your torso in a solid horizontal position by engaging your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, explains Nief. By building endurance in these muscles, you can maintain proper posture in and out of the gym.
How to do it: Set up a hyperextension bench so that your hips rest right at the edge of the pad. Hold your torso straight out and level, engaging your muscles to maintain a neutral spine, without arching or rounding in your lower back.
Build up to the deal of a two-minute hold be performing three to five sets of 30 to 60-second holds, giving yourself enough rest in between to make it through the next set.