Walk into any gym and you will see people at all different levels of fitness. The dinosaurs that have been there forever, intermediates and newbies. And regardless of their Iron Game experience and the shape that they are in, there are a few basic exercises that all of them should be doing. If not every time they train the particular body part that is worked, then at least every other time.
These are compound movements and what that means is that they require more than one muscle to complete a rep. The main muscle, such as chest for bench presses, and then the secondary ones being the deltoids and triceps kick in.
Here’s a basic list of staple exercises that are common and that’s for good reason.
1. BENCH PRESS
Use either a barbell or dumbbells and there are even some good machines (Hammer Strength being the best option) that will get the job done. You will feel your pecs working but the shoulders and triceps also get into the action.
Called the King of Exercises, squats will not only work your thighs, hamstrings and glutes (your ass!), but is also basically a full body movement with the core being activated to assist in the balancing needed. Good to improve your overall strength.
3 – BENT OVER ROWS
If you want barn door lats, then these are going to be the way to go. You don’t even need to use a wide range of motion but make sure to keep it strict, as using your momentum will get you hurt and not work your back muscles properly.
There are two different styles to performing deads: stiffed-leg (which works your hamstrings more) and with your knees slightly bent (more of a lower back movement). But these will also be an overall strength increaser like squats.
5. MILITARY OR BEHIND-THE-NECK PRESS
The main shoulder exercise that works two different parts depending on how they are done. With the military press, you’re doing them in front of your face/head and hitting the front (anterior) delts. With the self-explanatory behind-the-next press, you’re working the top of the shoulder blades more, in addition to the front delts.