As a trainer I frequently get asked what my favorite exercises are. That’s always a tough question, because my favorites change based on my current goals. My goal right now is to be able to do 6 sets of 12 reps of Pull-ups and Weighted Push-ups (50lbs). That's why you'll find that the majority of this list consists of body weight exercises. Another thing you might notice is that they're all multi-joint exercises. This is essential for achieving the maximum fat burning potential. At the end you will find an example workout using all the exercises below.
These are easily my favorite on this list. Push-ups can become quite easy for many people, but by simply elevating your feet you put more of your weight onto your hands thus increasing the difficulty of the exercise. You can also increase the resistance of this exercise by adding a weighted vest. This is the weighted vest I personally own: Adjustable Weight Vest
Decline push-ups will also work the upper chest, triceps and shoulders. Who wouldn’t want to be able to work all those muscles at once?
I have a love-hate relationship with pull-ups. I love what they do for my body but I hate them because, quite honestly, I'm terrible at them. Which is why I felt the need to make being able to do more of them part of my goal. As a baseball player I stayed away from them due to the stress it places on the elbow, but now that I am no longer playing it is some thing I want to improve upon.
Dips, like incline push-ups will work your triceps and shoulders. But dips will also work the lower portions of the chest. Also with a dip, your triceps are the focus whereas with a decline push-up your upper chest gets the most work. Dips can be easily progressed with a dip belt like this one: Dip Belt With Chain
Upright rows have gotten a bad rep over the years in the strength world for being bad for your shoulders. In my experience most people that have pain while doing this exercise pull the bar too high (chin level). This increases the strain placed on the shoulders. No exercise should be performed if pain is present. But, as long as proper form is achieved, upright rows are great for working the biceps, traps, and shoulders. Not to mention you look like a beast doing them..and that never hurts!
Hanging knee raise
These are a perfect exercise to end my workout. I hate doing exercises that work just one main muscle. When I do a basic curl, tricep pull down, crunch, etc., I feel like I am being inefficient with my time. This exercise works the core, forearms and improves grip strength which in turn helps me with my pull-up goal. Much more productive than a traditional crunch!
Example Workout #1
Incline Push-ups- 6 x 10
Pull-ups- 6 x 10
Dips- 4 x 12
Upright rows- 4 x 12
Hanging Knee Raise- 3 x 20
Example Workout #2
Pull-ups- 5x 10
Upright rows- 5 x 10
hanging Knee raise- 5 x 10
Incline Push-ups- 5 x 10
dips- 5 x 10
hanging knee raise- 5 x 10
As my goals change, so will my favorite exercises! When I accomplish my goals I will give an update with some new favorites. Until then, I hope you learned something from this and can benefit from my example workout!
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