There are literally thousands of different exercises designed to target all areas of the body and help you achieve your fitness goals. Many of these are perfectly good exercises when performed correctly and used appropriately in a well designed, progressive program. Unfortunately there are also a lot of exercises, which are, well just plain ridiculous and unnecessary.
As a trainer over the years I have seen people perform some really “interesting” exercises. Then just when I think I’ve seen it all, some guy in tight spandex, with a fanny pack and a headband surprises me.
So what are the best exercises to help you get the most from your workouts and utilize your time in the gym most efficiently? Here is my list of the top 5 exercises that everyone should perform on a consistent basis.
- Barbell Squat:
The Squat is one of the most basic movements that we all perform constantly throughout a normal day when we sit down or stand from sitting. This large compound, multi-joint exercise targets all the major muscle groups of the lower body as well as a number of the large upper body muscles.
- Barbell Deadlift:
The Deadlift is an excellent exercise for teaching proper form and safe technique of how to lift heavy objects off the ground. It is also great for developing hip, glutes and lower back strength and power and is often regarded as one of the best lifts to test overall strength.
- Push Press:
The Push Press is a more explosive, powerful and practical version of the overhead press and is basically how we lift or maneuver a heavy weight overhead. It is a great for developing strength, speed and power as well as improving overall coordination.
- Push Up:
The Push Up is one of the most recognizable exercises and has been a staple of gym classes and army boot-camps for decades. It is an excellent upper body strength and endurance exercise that targets Pectorals Major, Deltoids and the Triceps.
- Pull Up:
The Pull Up is by far one of the best overall upper body exercises you can perform. But for many, it is also one of the hardest. It is great for developing strength in the muscles of the upper back and arms as well as stability in the shoulder joint.
These are all multi-joint, multi-muscle exercises that incorporate very functional, everyday movements. They can help to develop all-around strength, power and endurance as well as increase lean muscle mass and aid in weight loss.
You do not have to perform all these exercises at once (although it would make for a pretty good full-body workout.) Nor do you have to perform them every time you workout. They should be scattered throughout your workouts and performed pretty frequently.
They can all be modified using different equipment to create variations from beginner to advanced so that everyone regardless of level, age or sex can perform them. They also do not require any fancy, expensive equipment and can be performed in pretty much any gym, at home and in most cases even outside.
This is a guest post from Declan Condron. Declan holds an M.S. degree in Exercise Physiology from Southern Connecticut State University & is also a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) & Certified Olympic Weightlifting Coach. He has been in the fitness industry for over 15 years & has worked as a Strength & Conditioning Coach, Physical Education Instructor, Personal Training Manager & Personal Trainer. Declan is currently the co-founder & fitness expert for PumpOne, a leader in web & mobile fitness technology.