So I had posted a little contest on my Facebook Coaching Page where I asked folks to list 3 exercises that they think would end up on my personal ‘Top 5’ list. There were some amazing exercises and many even made me ponder if I should swap out an exercise and replace it with another. When it came down to it, I stuck to my guns (notice the ‘right now’ part of this blog post title…..) but training and conditioning is an ever-evolving art/science so I will always maintain my right to change my mind.
Anyway, I thought I would list those 5 exercises here (with video description) and give a little rationale about how I came to select each one…..here we go!
#1 – Front Squats
Now, I am talking DEEP front squats. In Men’s Health Power Training I described Full Front Squats as being the “mother of all strength moves”, there’s nothing quite like the discomfort and anguish one gets from a heavy set of 10 deep front squats…ugh! Legs, hips, low back, core,even upper body while maintaining the rack position makes this exercise one of the all-time LOVE/HATE moves in the gym
#2 – Barbell Muscle Snatch
The Muscle snatch both from a hang and from the floor has become my favorite Olympic Lift Variation for both myself and my athletes. We use a clean grip with all our snatches so this creates SUCH a nice, long pull and really forces GREAT extension since we no longer are obsessed with “getting under” the bar. Sure the loads will decrease but the entire reason we perform the Olympic lifts (explosion, power, quadruple extension etc.) is very much in play with this awesome lift. Check out my boy Wil doing a couple!
#3 – Turkish Get-UP (TGU)
Is there a more complete exercise than the TGU? Probably not. I think about teaching TGU’s for the first time with my athletes and walking through them step-by-step, then having them do them with a very light load. One of my athlete says “hey coach, so what muscle groups are these gonna work?” I say to her “Let’s do one and you tell ME”. She completes the TGU and while laying on the ground after the rep says “OH I get it! ALL OF THEM!”. Yup, that about sums this great move up…from shoulder stability to core strength to hip mobility the TGU is one heckuva exercise and one EVERYONE should have in their programs. Check out my friend Neghar performing a BEASTLY TGU!
#4 – Ultimate Sandbag Rotational Lunge
This is an exercise that I have been saying the past few years, could be my favorite exercise of all. I can’t emphasize how great of a move this is…sure it’s a great knee-dominant exercise that we can really load up etc. but we can create such great rotational force (especially when we start to swing the bag much like a KB swing!). Having not only to drive the load back up to the standing position but also having to deal with the deceleration of the load as it rotates around our body creates an amazing environment for getting stronger AND preventing future injury. Check out Josh Henkin walking us through some great USB Rotational Lunge progressions!
#5 – Hardstyle Kettlebell Swing
What can I say about KB swings? How about EVERYTHING! It’s hard to find an exercise that’s so easy to teach ALL levels of trainee that packs so much bang for your buck. Such a great hip dominant, explosive move that can fit into many categories of your training program from explosive to metabolic….this is a great move. Here’s a great intro to the hardstyle KB swing movement pattern
There you go…I know, I know, where are the deadlifts? Plyo pushups? 1-leg squats? Slide saws etc? I had to whittle my list down to 5 for this blog but in the real world I probably use a greater variety of exercises than most everyone.
What are your 5 ‘GO-TO’ exercises? Be sure to join me on my Facebook Coaching page as we have these types of discussions weekly!