With thousands of exercises to choose from, putting together an effective workout can be a serious challenge. Thankfully, these 10 exercises are some of the best around – and if you’re looking to build muscle, gain strength, lose fat, and just get into awesome shape, you should include these exercises in your workout today!
1. Heavy Deadlifts
If I were to recommend a single exercise to include in your workout, it would be the deadlift. It recruits more muscles than any other exercise. It allows you to use more weight than any other lift, maximizing your progress without compromising on safety – and it’s also really, really fun.
If you have relatively long arms and legs, opt for a traditional deadlift stance. If you have shorter limbs, try a Sumo deadlift stance, and lift with your hands in the centre of the bar. You can use cables, kettle-bells, and the squat rack to perform this exercise.
2. Close-Grip Bench Press
Great for your chest and arms, and perfect for boosting your bench numbers. This exercise allows you to train your triceps with serious weight and safe form, and it doesn’t put the same strain on your shoulders as weighted dips.
To perform it safely, set-up for a standard bench press, and move your hands 4-5 inches inside of your regular grip. This exercise can also be performed using dumbbells.
3. Squats, Squats, Squats
If you want impressive legs, there’s no substitute for squatting. Warm-up thoroughly, find yourself a place to squat, and work-up to a single working set in 10-15lb increments. Most importantly of all, don’t shy away from parallel (and even below-parallel) squatting.
The bigger your range of movement, the more muscles you recruit. As with all heavy lifts, it’s essential to find a spotter. If you’re squatting in any of our 5 gyms in Dallas, feel free to find one of our awesomesauce personal trainers and ask them for a spot.
4. Seated Dumbbell Press
Seated pressing exercises allow you to train the shoulders with the strictest possible form. They prevent you from using momentum to ‘cheat’ the weight up, and force the delts and triceps to do all of the work.
For the greatest range of motion, try combining this with an Arnold press. Start the lift with your palms facing inwards. As you press, turn your hands through 180 degrees, and finish the movement with your palms facing forward.
5. Preacher Curls
The general population has much stronger shoulders than biceps. This interferes with most bicep exercises, as the stronger shoulder muscles overpower the weaker biceps, and make it harder to train the biceps effectively.
Preacher curls take the shoulders out of the equation, and isolate the biceps. This means that you’ll have to use lighter weight than you’re used to – but you’ll see faster progress as a result.
Pull-ups are a fantastic exercise for the lats, upper back and even rear delts. Bodyweight pull-ups are a fantastic place to start, but if you need more help use a band underneath your feet.
Once you are able to do 10 bodyweight pull-ups in a row start adding extra resistance to the lift. Using a dip-belt, it’s easy to increase the weight in small, manageable increments. It’s a hard lift to progress, so don’t worry if your progress is slow.
7. Barbell Rows
Barbell rows are a serious exercise, and the key to developing a strong back. Stick with a pronated (overhand) grip to minimize the risk of bicep injury especially if you’re lifting heavy.
Focus on keeping your form tight, and try and isolate your back muscles as much as possible. Think of your arms as hooks, and focus on contracting and squeezing your lats with each rep.
8. Any Rotator Cuff Exercise
If you’ve never heard of the rotator cuff, you aren’t alone. It’s the most commonly overlooked group of muscles, and as a result, the most commonly injured. It’s a small band of muscles at the back of the shoulder, and it’s extremely vulnerable to injury.
Bench and shoulder press are the prime culprits, and regularly cause tears and strains of the rotator cuff. To avoid this happening, it’s essential to actively strengthen your rotator cuff.
Thankfully, it’s easy to do. Cable pulleys and super-light dumbbells can be used to to perform 2 warm-up sets of internal shoulder rotations. Stick to a comfortable, low-resistance weight, and perform 15 rep sets.
If you’re unsure about how to perform any of these exercises safely and effectively, get in touch with one of the personal trainers in our gym!
Trophy Trainers 🙂