Updated: Mar 20, 2019
In an industry bursting at the seams with information and opinions, it's sometime difficult to decipher what is important to include in your fitness life and what to completely ignore!
Many overcomplicate the process unnecessarily, when in reality you could build a balanced and functional physique using just a handful of exercises. With that in mind, I have put together a list of the greatest exercises of all time (in my opinion), all of which everyone should be including (or a variation of) in their workout routines.
Arguably the best exercise for building strength in the legs, glutes, core and lower back (posterior chain). These muscles are responsible for everything from our posture to our power output. The back squat is the best exercise (along with the deadlift) at developing all of these muscles within one movement.
The glutes are the most powerful but simultaneously the most neglected muscles in the body, and the Hip Thrust is designed to target these muscles through correct hip extension. It is the ultimate glute building exercise, which is vital for improving posture, reducing stress on the lower back and improving athletic performance and power.
If you could do one exercise alone for the rest of your life, it should be the deadlift. It works more muscles than any other exercise and engages all the major muscle groups, developing strength, power, balance and stability.
For improving strength, increasing muscle mass, improving athletic function, and improving general fitness, the bench press is fundamentally the best exercise for the upper body.
The most effective for developing pulling strength, but are also very versatile and can be used to develop grip strength and improve core stability. They have great athletic crossover which allows the essential development of functional movement capabilities.
All of these exercises have stance, grip, range of motion and weight distribution variations, meaning that they can easily be adapted to suit anyones needs, but the movement pattern itself remains consistent. However, the main reason that I have chosen these exercises in particular, is the simple fact that they are all compound movements.
Compound exercises use multiple joints and muscles groups simultaneously for a multitude of benefits, as opposed to isolation exercises (such as bicep curls) which target a small number of muscles and benefit a smaller proportion of your body. As well as this, they raise the heart rate to provide a cardiovascular benefit, burn more calories than isolation movements, and can help improve the balance and co-ordination of your body, resulting in improved posture.
Compounds also build great core strength and allow your whole body to be worked in one movement, and are especially transferable and beneficial for athletes and sports players, but are equally as transferrable to everyday life.
All of my personal training clients will be very familiar with these exercises, however if you'd like to learn more, or need some help getting started, get in touch!