For someone starting a strength training routine, there are likely a literal MILLION different exercises for you to choose from. And while the mere increase in activity is very helpful, you might as well get the most bang for your buck and leave the unnecessary exercises for a rainy day.
I have a full Beginner Guide coming out in December that will take you from gym newbie through the first year of consistently going to the gym and strength training, but for now I’ll outline the types of exercises that everyone SHOULD be doing to get you started!
It can be as simple as a bodyweight or goblet squat,
or more advanced as a barbell back squat.
The main characteristic of a squat is that there is a large amount of flexion (bending) at the knee. The main muscles you should feel are your quads and glutes.
The hinge is often forgotten, but a crucial counterpart to the squat. Here are two variations:
Where the squat has lots of flexion at the knee, the hinge has more flexion at the hip. The main muscles your body is using are glutes and hamstrings.
*I’m only listing these two exercises to keep it simple, but if I were to add a third exercise to the lower body list it would be a single-leg exercise!
Upper Body Push
These movements use predominately the chest and triceps (as well as the shoulder) and could be further broken into horizontal pushing (think push ups) and vertical pushing (think overhead).
Upper Body Pull
The pulling exercises can also be broken into vertical and horizontal pushing. They use mostly the back and biceps (again the shoulder as well). It’s important to “pull” more than you “push” to make sure you don’t develop or further accentuate poor posture.
Core can quickly get complicated, but in order to keep it simple I’ll just list the exercises below. Keep in mind there are about 5-6 main core muscles (depending on where you draw the line at main core muscles) so there are a lot of muscles to target, but these exercises will make sure you hit most of them in the best way.
Long story short, if you were only to do these exercises for the rest of your life (and increase your strength with them over time) you would be SET. Obviously, variation is helpful to not feel bored and unmotivated, but overall these movements (and their variations) are all you need for a solid strength training plan!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!