I will list my top five, must do, exercises in descending order. Here we go….
#5. Military Shoulder Press– This is done when the weight is pressed overhead using our shoulders and arms. They are best done standing to work the core and stabilizing muscles and can be done with dumbbells, barbell or seated with a smith machine.
#4. Plank– This isometric exercises is the key to building a strong core. Superior to crunches the plank strengthens the abdominals, obliques, and lower back muscles. A plank is performed holding ourselves up on our elbows and toes while holding our body as stiff as a “plank”. A weak core makes the entire body weak.
#3. Deadlift– This is the original lift! Think about it. When you are picking anything up from the ground you are essentially performing a deadlift. When performed properly the deadlift strengthens what could be argued as our most important weight bearing muscles; hamstrings, quads, glutes, hips, and back. On average a deadlift is our strongest movement meaning we can move more overall weight deadlifting than any other exercise. When the body is put under massive stress it releases hormones that help us build muscle, recover, and even burn fat.
#2. Pull-Up– Learn to love it people. You don’t like it because it’s hard and that’s exactly why you should like it. The harder an exercise the better it is for gaining strength. If you can perform push-ups you should be able to do pull-ups. The reason you can’t is just because you haven’t practiced them. They also use the largest muscles in the upper body, the latissimus dorsi. The bigger the muscle used the more calories it burns and the stronger you get.
#1. Squat– You might have seen this one coming. Squats activate more muscle than any other exercise. That list includes; quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, lower back and the entire core. Again it is all about putting the body under stress and with so many moving parts it is tough to find a harder exercise. Studies have shown that squats activate the abdominals more than crunches and performing 3 sets of 10 repetitions to muscle fatigue causes the body to burn more calories than walking on a treadmill for 1 hour!