If you ask anyone that’s serious about training, they will invariably have some favourite exercises and sound reasons for those choices. I am no different, so here is my list of 5, go to exercises.
Press up / Push up
A classic exercise that focuses on upper body strength and core stability. A perfect compound exercise, needing no equipment and can be done almost anywhere. Targets triceps, pecs, and delts while also using an array of other muscles for stability.
This is an intermediate level exercise but can be done by beginners by simply keeping knees on the ground, eventually you can progress to the proper (knees up) press up. The reason I like this exercise so much is that, after just a few sets, you can feel and see a real pump in the chest and it also builds great mid arm mass and strength. As it is a compound exercise it will use many different muscle groups simultaneously, making it a near perfect exercise for upper body strength and core strength at the same time.
Body weight squat
Another compound exercise that can be done almost anywhere. The beauty of this exercise is that you are using the muscles in your legs which require a lot of calories to work, making it perfect for weight loss, as well as toning. I use variations of this simple exercise with great results, both for weight loss and improving athletic and sporting performance. The muscles used in this are hamstrings, quads, glutes, and other muscles in the leg for stability.
Abdominal crunch/curl/sit up
Just those words will strike fear into many. But this highly effective exercise is a great way to improve core strength and stability and train those muscles to eventually get that washboard stomach you desire. Variation once again is the key. We weren’t designed to move in one plain. Twisting movements, and lower abdominal exercises should be incorporated into a core routine, alongside lower back exercises, to complete the core stability and strength improvement. I have been doing roughly the same core routine for many years, and it not only gives me good muscle definition it also gives me very stable core strength and stability.
Chin up/ Pull up
The perfect companion to the push up/press up. Instead of pushing you are pulling, so using a different set of muscles to improve overall strength and physique. The chin up using an under hand close grip, will activate lats, biceps, traps, and other muscles to a lesser degree. Using a wide grip will change the emphasis on certain muscles slightly but both will yield excellent results if done often. This is a great exercise for building upper and mid back strength and size.
Finally the trusted PT’s favourite beast, the Lunge
Much like the squats; lunges are a great compound exercise for legs. They work well for knee strength and if done in a plyometric way, they build great explosive energy; perfect for certain types of sports. There are many variations but all will work towards building strong, toned and powerful legs. Again this exercise can be done almost anywhere and with no equipment needed. Muscles used are Quads, hamstrings, and glutes to a slightly greater degree than squats.
So there you have it, my top 5 exercises. Why don’t you give them a try? Warm up a little first, mobilise your joints then try 10 reps of each for a quick work out. Let me know how you get on with a comment below if you like.
If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them.