It never fails to amaze me when I see beginners in the gym, doing exercises that do not hit the major muscle of the body part they are working on. As a beginner, you need to hit the core of each body part with the exercise that hits it the most. Yet I will see people doing things like wrist curls or fancy dumbbell work when they would get more out of the workout by doing basic exercises.
At the same time, many people, pressed for time may skip the workout or spend what little time they have performing one exercise when another one would have been more beneficial.
Everyone has their preference for what exercises are the most effective if you had to do just one or two of them for a body part, and here are mine:
Incline benches. Most people would do flat benches but the truth is that inclines hit the chest muscles a lot more efficiently and effectively than a flat bench. The reason why flats are so popular is because you can lift more than in the incline so that’s what most people gravitate to. But if you want good overall chest development, inclines trump flats every time.
Nothing more basic than military presses. Forget front, side or back raises to hit the three heads of the deltoids. When pressed for time (pardon the pun) nothing beats an old fashion press. Look at some of the pictures from bodybuilders and weightlifters of the 1930’s and 40’s. Very impressive shoulders and they were achieved primarily doing this basic lift.
One or both of these exercises will do. The basic power clean which is a compound movement that hits more than just the back, or the deadlift. These two exercises, other than the squat, will also get your body producing testosterone more than any other.
Back Squats, and I am not talking about powerlifting style back squats where one puts the bar low in the back, leans over and barely hits parallel. I am talking about Olympic style squats. Bar high on the back, no leaning over, your body is as perpendicular as possible to the floor, and you go BELOW parallel in a slow controlled manner.
For biceps, nothing beats a regular straight bar barbell curl. For triceps, this is a bit tricky because just like delts, the tri’s have three heads but I like the overhead tricep extension because it gives the tri’s more stretch than the other exercises hitting the remaining two heads.
So there it is, pressed for time, just pick an exercise for the body part you are working out that day, and hit 5-8 sets within a 15 minute session.
Maximize your workouts when you don’t have time in order to continue to be…Fit Forlife!