Things seem to be getting a bit out of hand out here in the fitness and exercise world. I know it’s always been the case where folks are post some wild exercises that should be done by those very advanced in their exercise history, and some not at all. Still let’s look at the basics again. If you’re reading this, it’s likely you are very familiar with the fact that I don’t do very much wild and crazy stuff with about 99% of the people that walk through the doors on Cypress Street.
Most of the good stuff comes from the base group of exercises; squat, hinge, single leg work, press, pulls, core and carry. Below are 10 of my go to that fit most people’s needs.
Deadlift- I’m not putting 1 particular variation here because, as you probably know if you’re reading this, not a fan of jamming in a square block to a round hole. Kettlebell, trap bar, barbell, all good for me.
Squat- For the same reason above, I don’t put a particular variation on someone that’s not appropriate for them so it’s all open. Goblet, back, front, rack, zercher, it’s all in play.
Pushups- For me, folks that can bang out pushups off the floor tend to be in just a bit better health than those that don’t, so I work in whatever variation fits and try to get everyone pressing off the floor.
Inverted Rows- Another solid body weight movement that most people can do to some degree. If you can do pushups off the floor, you can do some very horizontal inverted rows. With that comes a healthy upper back and some healthy shoulders.
Kettlebell Swings- A great movement that can be used for many purposes. Can be down as your power exercise, conditioning and much in between. Also, the more people that can properly perform hinging exercises like deadlifts and swings, the less bad backs we have in the world.
Farmer Carry- Speaking of healthy shoulder, simply carrying heavy stuff improves shoulder health rather effectively. With heavy carries, you will also be challenging your core in ways you did not think of outside of the traditional movements.
(RFE or Bulgarian) Split Squat- I put the first part in parentheses only because most people are not quite ready for that part of the variation right away. Ultimately, if someone can perform the RFE/Bulgarian version of the split squat, that’s going to be a staple. Yes, these suckers also feel like pure evil most of the time.
Single Leg RDLs- Usually these will require some nuance, either some balance assistance or starting with a kickstand/b-stance version, but still great for helping that single leg balance issue many have.
Dead Bugs- I don’t do a TON of direct core training for my programming, but there are a few that I find easy to do, but effective. The Dead Bugs (get over it Ross) are in just about everyone’s program that I work with at some point or another with few exception.
Pallof Press- While planks and side planks are great, so many people struggle to get in to proper positions to make them effective. Pallof press can be adjusted according to the person and still works well for that anti-rotation purpose, getting the lateral portions of those core muscles.
If you pick up any one of my clients programs, it’s likely you will find most of these still in there or having been in there at one point or another. I hope everyone feels well armed with solid knowledge after this post and you can all go forward knowing how to best program for yourself when you go in to the gym to train. Thanks for your time everyone and have a great rest of your week!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS