5 Critical Exercises To Make You An Athlete
There are countless exercise movements. It’s not uncommon for someone to do 4-6 different exercises per body part they’re training. Some exercise movements involve numerous muscles working together, whereas other movements are strictly focused on a singular muscle - such as a strict bicep curl. We’re often asked what are favorite movements are - and that is an incredibly hard question to answer! Ultimately, your goals, and body, will help decide which exercises are right for you. With that said, here are 5 exercises that belong in just about any fitness program - obviously contingent on no injuries preventing you from completing the movement with proper form!
Keep in Mind
Before diving into the list, keep in mind the following:
- You should only do an exercise if you can do it with proper form. If you have an injury or have yet to establish the full range of motion for a particular movement, reevaluate if this movement is right for you. That doesn’t mean you need to avoid the movement altogether - but let your injury heal, or establish the full range of motion, before adding these lifts to your routine.
- These exercises are good for those looking to pack on lean muscle, improve strength, bulk up, or even lose weight. However, the rep range and recovery time vary drastically on those goals - so make sure you take all of those variables into account before performing the movement.
Here Are 5 of Our Favorite Exercises
Squatting has a home in just about any exercise routine, or any fitness goal. A squat is designed to work your lower body, but, if you push yourself hard enough you’ll notice a squat works the entire central nervous system. If you want to build endurance, squatting with high reps is a sure way to increase your heart rate and send a great deal of blood to your quads and hamstrings. If you want to improve overall body strength and posture, going heavier is a tried and true recipe. Squatting is one of the most natural movements we can do! Don’t believe us? Just watch how a baby picks something up from the ground. They’ll push their hips back, keep their feet shoulder-width apart, and sit perfectly into the pocket. All their weight will be on their heels, and they’ll eventually stand up - pushing from the heels.
- The Deadlift
Another natural movement is the deadlift! Similar to the squat, except this time you are picking weight up from the floor instead of squatting weight down. There’s no question, that a deadlift is a full-body workout. You’ll work your glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, traps, upper back, forearms, and even grip strength when you deadlift. Considering how many muscles you’re working, a deadlift is a great exercise to add to your workout routine. Similar to the squat, it really doesn’t matter if you’re looking to add muscle mass or lose weight, a deadlift has a home in our routine.
- The Pullup
Doing a standard pull-up is another great way to work numerous muscles. Your back will be the primary muscle worked, but your arms will surely get a good pump and you’ll test your grip strength. Some people add weight to their pullups, either by a weight belt, adding chains, or holding a dumbbell between their feet. This is a great way to improve your overall strength. Others are more focused on doing as many reps as possible. Either option is great!
- The Pushup
There’s a reason why the military has been incorporating a pushup into their routine for decades! Not only does a pushup build upper body strength by working your chest, upper back, and triceps, but a pushup is also a great way to tighten the midsection and build muscular endurance. One of the best things about a pushup is the fact that no equipment is necessary! You can do a hardcore pushup routine in your bedroom, living room, or at the gym - it doesn’t matter!
- The Overhead Press
If you want strong shoulders, doing an overhead press is a great way to accomplish that goal. You can either use dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells to properly complete an overhead press. Considering how common shoulder injuries are, and the lack of mobility people have with their shoulders, be sure you start light before adding more weight. Again, a lift shouldn’t be completed unless it’s done with proper form!
Less is More
A guiding principle you should keep in mind is a simple belief that less is more. This is true in many aspects of your life - including your exercise routine. The more exercise movements you do per body part does not directly influence how well that body part will respond. Putting in A+ effort to these 5 exercises will certainly help build muscle, burn body fat, or increase your muscular endurance!