The Big Ten: The ten best exercises for your body
What's the best exercise for calves?" "What's the best exercise for biceps?" "What's the best exercise for abs?" I hear these and other questions like them over and over again. Many people think that there is this one great exercise that they're not doing. As if this one exercise they're not performing, or perhaps performing incorrectly, is the reason for their lack of results. Unfortunately the problem is usually much more complicated than that. However, when it comes to being a catalyst for strength and muscle hypertrophy, exercises are not equal.
Some exercises are just better at stimulating the muscles than others. This does not mean to disregard all the other exercises. Keep in mind that this list was compiled with the following parameter in mind: If you only had enough time to do one exercise per body part, which exercises would you do? So who would use this type of a routine? Anybody that wants to get into shape, especially those who have tight schedules.
No longer can the excuse be made that you don't have the time. This routine can be performed in less than 45 minutes. And all you need is to schedule two or three workouts a week to pack on the muscle. If two or three workouts a week is too much for you, than you need to reevaluate your life. Remember you're not doing yourself or your family any favors by not taking care of yourself, unless you have a really good life insurance policy.
Let's get started.
Single Leg Squats
Muscles Involved: Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Glutes.
This movement is especially good for developing balance and the stabilizing muscles of the legs.
- Stand approximately three and a half feet in front of a flat bench.
- Put the top of one foot on the top of the bench.
- Look straight ahead with your chest up.
- As you lower your body, throw your hips back until your upper thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Slowly push yourself back to the starting position.
Stiff Leg Dead Lift
Muscles Involved: Posterior Chain (Glutes, Lower back, Hamstrings).
- Stand with your arms hanging at your sides.
- Look straight ahead with your chest up.
- Slowly begin to lower yourself while maintaining lordosis, the natural curve in your lower back.
- Keep looking straight ahead through the whole movement.
- Lower yourself until you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings.
- Slowly begin to raise back to the starting position.
Flat Dumbbell Press
Muscles involved: Pectoral, Anterior Deltoid and Triceps (Chest, Shoulders and back of arms).
- Lie back on the bench and position your feet on the floor.
- Grasp the dumbbells with palms facing your feet.
- Press the dumbbells over your chest until your arms are fully extended.
- Lower the dumbbells, (controlled movement) until they are just above your chest.
- Slowly push dumbbells back to the top until arms are extended.
Seated Cable Rows
Muscles involved: Muscles of the back, Stabilizing muscles of the shoulder, and biceps.
- Assume a seated position with your torso perpendicular to the floor.
- Sit tall with your chest up and your knees slightly bent.
- Grasp a V-bar with a closed grip and elbows fully extended.
- Keep your body erect and stationary.
- Do not lean forward or backward at any portion of the movement.
- Under control, pull the bar to your upper abdomen, keeping your elbows next to your ribs.
- Slowly allow the bar to move back to the starting position.
Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Muscles involved: Shoulders
- Stand erect with the dumbbells hanging at your sides.
- Lift the dumbbells (controlled movement) with your palms facing down until your arms are parallel to the floor.
- Allow the dumbbells to slowly return to the starting position.
Standing Dumbell Curls
Muscles involved: Biceps
- Stand erect with the dumbbells at your side.
- Under control raise the dumbbells approximately 2/3's the way up.
- Keep your elbows at your sides throughout the movement.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Muscles involved: Triceps
This movement is a cross between a close grip bench press and lying triceps extensions.
- Lie back on a bench with your feet flat on the floor.
- Grasp the bar with a closed grip, palms facing your feet.
- Slowly lower the bar, keeping your elbows as close to your ribs as possible.
- Lower the bar to just above your chin.
- Under control, raise the bar until your arms are fully extended.
Stiff Arm Crunch on Stability Ball
Muscles involved: Abdominals
- Lie flat on your back with your legs around the ball.
- Slowly crunch simultaneously bringing your shoulders toward your hips and lifting the ball off the ground.
- Under control, lower yourself back to the start position.
- Do not completely relax your abs at the bottom of the movement.
- You can use a dumbbell for added resistance.
Prone Knee Tucks
Muscles involved: Abdominals, Lower back, and Hip flexers.
- Lie face down (prone) supporting yourself with your arms on the floor and your shins on the ball.
- Maintain a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Under control, bring your knees toward your chest.
- Pause in the tuck position for two seconds.
- Then slowly return to the starting position.
Single Leg Calf Raises
Muscles involved: Calves
- Stand erect with the balls of one foot on a platform or stair.
- Bend the opposite leg.
- Position the foot you're working straight ahead.
- Push up on your toe as high as possible, maintaining your erect position.
- Once you have reached the top, slowly lower yourself back down until the heel is below the toes.
- If your body weight is too light, a dumbbell may be used for added resistance.
Well there you have it…the Bullz-Eye Big Ten. When performing this workout, do two working sets per exercise. Perform between eight to 12 repetitions per set. And remember, all you need is two or three sessions per week. No more excuses.
Got a question for Mike? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.