Back in the 70s and early 80s, there were practically no gyms around. The ones that did exist usually had some tires, free weights, ropes, medicine balls and a couple of chairs. Nothing fancy, only the necessities. Now when you walk into your closest gym (which is usually no more than 10 minutes away), you see people using high-tech machines, twisting around to complete some complex moves and exercising in such a way that you’re not quite sure what muscles they’re trying to work.
With all these workout ads and “fitness trainers” trying to tell us what we should be doing, it can be hard to decipher what we actually need to be doing. Getting your basic, groundwork moves and form down is the most important thing you can do in the gym before moving on to extras. If you aren’t already doing these 5 classic exercises every week, you better study up and implement them into your gym regimen as soon as possible.
If there’s anything to take away from this article, it’s to do your squats. Both barbell back squats and front squats utilize almost every muscle in your body. You work your quads, glutes, hamstrings, core and more in this one movement. In fact, squats aren’t just insanely effective for building a powerful lower half — they’re actually crucial for enhancing your core since your midsection has to work overtime to maintain posture and stability during your reps. Other benefits of squatting every week includes improved flexibility, less chance of injury and just an overall great behind. Just another reminder to never skip leg day.
2. Power Cleans
Another full body workout, power cleans are a complex exercise that encourage muscle development, burn tons of body fat and boost explosive power. When executed correctly, power cleaning works your shoulders, traps, calves, hamstrings, quads and the lower and upper back. However, this move relies heavily on proper form throughout every phase to ensure efficiency and to reduce chance of injury. If you’re looking for a highly effective weight-lifting addition for your gym routine, definitely look up some tips and tricks for safe power cleans.
3. Push ups
I find that this fitness basic often gets overlooked, especially with women in the gym. Push ups are a great exercise to add to your warm up circuit since this move activates nearly every muscle in your body, pushes your endurance levels and gets your blood pumping fast. Not only are you adding strength to your biceps, triceps, back muscles and core muscles, but you’re also getting in a cardiovascular workout. Ultimately, push ups kill two birds with one stone by not only being a strength training move, but by also doubling as a cardio workout.
4. Pull ups
Pull ups are a great compound exercise that target almost every upper body muscle. No matter how much you modify them, whether you’re hanging from a bar in your doorway or using an assisted machine, pull ups are an important staple for strengthening the lats, biceps, shoulders and more. They’re also an extremely versatile exercise since you can easily adjust your grip, from wide to narrow or underhand to overhand, to target certain muscle groups more specifically.
Planks are one of the best and most convenient exercises for core conditioning. You can do planks almost anywhere, the form is straightforward and you enhance your glutes, hamstrings, back, core and abs while doing them in the comfort of your bedroom. What could be better? They’re also another highly versatile move; you can try clapping planks, high or low planks, and even side planks to target those tricky obliques.