No matter what your level of training is, whether you’re just a beginner or a seasoned lifter, some exercises stand out as the essentials and they are part of almost any workout. There’s a reason for that, having withstood the test of time, they have been the best for generations. Today, nobody even argues their benefits for getting fit and building muscle.
So let’s go through 7 of the greatest exercises of all time and we will also share some tips on how to make the most of them.
Hands down the number one exercise for the lower body that you can’t do without. To make the most of it, keep your back and shins parallel at the same angle as you move the weight up and down. Move your hips back to keep the back in straight line and bend the knees so that your shin are always parallel to your back. As you get up, thrust your hips forward but keep them in straight parallel lines too.
The best of the best body weight exercises that must be on this list. We’ve written a lot about this exercise, but one of the major tips when doing pull ups is to keep your legs straight, your body tense and lean back a little bit to work the lats more.
One of the greatest exercises of all time that has become the symbol for strength. Bench press is the best exercise for chest but to really work the muscles, go for a narrower grip within the shoulder width. That way you will contract the chest muscles more and train them better.
We can’t talk about the back or leg training without talking about the deadlift. This is certainly one of the best old school compound exercises. When doing it, you have to get your knee bend and hip hinge action right. Think about the knee level as the turning point when the bar meets your knees. When getting the barbell off the ground, you have your knees bent and you lift with your knees keeping your hips back. At the knee level you thrust your hips forward and extend to the upright position. Reverse the movement when lowering down, bending the knees only when the barbell reaches the knee level.
All guys want to have big arms and biceps and this is the go-to exercise for it. With bicep curls, the eccentric movement is the most important so our tip is not to be afraid to “cheat” when lifting up but giving your everything to lower it as slow as possible, fighting for every inch. So it’s OK to lean a bit forward to get some momentum to lift the barbell up, but you have to lock the movement once it’s up and don’t swing back, then do your best at the eccentric movement.
The staple exercise for shoulder training. We recommend dumbbell press rather than barbell because it allows more range of motion. Think of pressing the dumbbells at an angle, making sort of a triangle with your shoulders and arms. That way you give your shoulder and upper back muscles more movement and contraction for fuller development.
With kettlebells getting more and more popular, the classic old school exercises are making a comeback too. This exercise trains your explosive power, core stability and control. It also hits your glutes and trains you to prevent lower back injury. It’s definitely one of the best exercises to include in your workout. Focus on your hip thrust action when performing the swing and only control the movement of the weight with your arms – the power should come from your hips and core, not arms.