Even in the instance of a nagging pain getting in the way of you performing the exercise, I’m going to show you a variation that should help you to overcome this issue and put you back on track to doing every one of these dozen best exercises.
When putting together an exercise list like this it is important to not only select the movements that are most effective for building bigger stronger bodies, but to make sure that these exercises are complimenting each other as well. There is no need to select five different versions of a bench press since doing so will only lead to major muscle imbalances and an unbalanced muscular development. Here we hit all three planes of motion as well as the all important corrective exercises to make sure no stone is left unturned along the way to making the best exercise selections.
We start with the king of all lower body exercises, the squat.
There is nothing more fundamental when it comes to movement patterns of the legs, hips and glutes than the squat. That said, sometimes people can experience an aggravation of low back and knee pain with the exercise. Beyond learning the proper mechanics on the squat you do have an option to switch to an alternative version to alleviate your discomfort. The bulgarian split squat will help offset back pain while box squats will dramatically decrease knee stress.
The deadlift is the twin king of the lower body, this time focused on the posterior chain muscles more effectively. Once again, it’s the movement pattern that is critical far more than the exact version of the exercise you perform. The hinge movement is one of the most fundamental to all human performance. Learning it is going to protect your lower back. If pulling from the floor is still too challenging however, simply switch to a mat elevated or trap bar variation to keep the gains coming without the pains.
The bench press is the main upper body pressing exercise you should be doing, at least in the horizontal plane. It involves the chest, shoulders and triceps to a great degree and gives you the opportunity to load up as able to build up not only your muscle size but your strength as well. Here again however, the exercise can be troublesome for some with shoulder issues. If this is the case for you, switch to a slowed down dumbbell press and most of your issues will decrease significantly as stability is restored to the press.
Pullups are not only one of my favorite bodyweight back exercises, they are one of my favorite back exercises – period. Of course, here again the loading options are many. If you find that you can do too many reps with your own bodyweight you can easily load some weight around your waist and make this a weighted pullup for more gains. Likewise, using a band can help offload some of your bodyweight making an assisted pullup possible for all.
Facepulls and banded external rotation are two critical exercises that sometimes elude the common exercise routine. Don’t make this mistake. They are just as important to the overall health of your joints while strengthening the weak points that undermine your performance on the bigger lifts.
Pushups belong on this list. Period. Just make sure that you’re doing the right kind of pushup. What I mean is, make sure that you are doing a variation that is challenging to you. Continuing to rep out 30,40 or even 50 reps in a set is not doing enough to increase your strength on the exercise since you can already do lots of reps. Pick a harder version to challenge your body and force new growth.
Of course, other exercises make this list as well. Lunges, Rows, and direct arm exercises like barbell curls and triceps extensions are all key exercises that should be included in every program. Watch the video for a detailed breakdown of why.
If you’re looking for a complete workout plan that has all of these must-do exercises in them, be sure to head to athleanx.com via the link below and use the program selector to find the program that best matches your current goals.
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