The other day, I came across a post from Eric Cressey talking about super sets. A super set is when you pair two exercises together and complete them in order with minimal rest. For example, performing five reps of bench press followed by five reps of a bent over row. This blog post is not dedicated to super-sets, rather, it is dedicated to figuring out which exercises are best for each body part. However, I do not train for bodybuilding, nor am I an expert at training for bodybuilding. Thus, I will break down the exercises into categories:

  1. Vertical Push ( overhead pressing)
  2. Vertical Pull (pull ups, pulldowns)
  3. Horizontal Push ( bench press) 
  4. Horizontal Pull (bent over row, inverted row)
  5. Bilateral hip dominant  (deadlift)
  6. Unilateral hip dominant (single leg deadlift)
  7. Bilateral knee dominant  (squat)
  8. Unilateral knee dominant (lunges)
  9. Abdominal Anti- Extension 
  10. Abdominal Anti- Rotation
  11. Anti-Lateral Flexion

For each category, I will select my top 5 exercises in progression order. In essence, I will be categorizing them in order of difficulty ( beginner, intermediate, advanced). The first exercise listed will be for a beginner and the last one for someone who is more advanced. I have selected these exercises based off my experience as a personal trainer. Granted, there are 100s of exercises that work very well, and you could make a case for those exercises. Nevertheless, the most important thing in life is N=1. If something works for you, then it works for you and it is your job to share that information with someone else. The exercises below have worked very well for my clients and I believe they will work for you too. 

* Kettlebells or dumbbells can be used for each exercise, I prefer kettlebells. Any load type (sandbag, medicine balls, small children) can be used instead of a bar or kettlebells.*

  • Unilateral Vertical Push
  1. Half Kneeling Press
  2. Seated Press
  3. Tall Kneeling Press
  4. Landmine Press
  5. Standing Offset Press
  • Bilateral Vertical Push
  1. Kneeling Press
  2. Incline Bench Press
  3. Military Barbell Press
  4. Feet Elevated Pike Pushups
  5. Handstand Wall Holds
  • Vertical Pull
  1. Half Kneeling Single Arm Pull-down
  2. Tall Kneeling Pull-down
  3. Static Chin Up Holds
  4. Chin Ups/ Pullups
  5. Weighted Chin Ups/ Pull Ups
  • Horizontal Push
  1. Neutral Floor Press (DB/ Barbell)
  2. Pushup
  3. Bench Press (DB/ Barbell)
  4. Feet Elevated Pushup
  5. Dip
  • Horizontal Pull
  1. Inverted Row (suspension trainer or bar)
  2. Seated Low Cable Row
  3. Single Arm 3-Point Row
  4. Barbell Bent Over Row
  5. Feet Elevated Inverted Row
  • Bilateral Hip Dominant
  1. Nordic Hamstring Curl
  2. Barbell Hip Thrust
  3. Sumo/Romanian/Conventional Deadlift
  4. Barbell Good Morning
  5. Kettlebell Swing
  • Unilateral Hip Dominant
  1. Single Leg Hip Thrust
  2. Single Leg Barbell Glute Bridge
  3. Barbell Split Squat
  4. Bulgarian Split Squat (Dumbbells or Barbell)
  5. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
  • Bilateral Knee Dominant
  1. Bear Squat
  2. Goblet Squat
  3. Offset Kettlebell Squat
  4. Barbell Front Squat (Kettlebells can be used too) 
  5. Barbell Back Squat
  • Unilateral Knee Dominant (kettlebells can be used instead of a barbell)

*The bar can be held in the front rack or zercher position. 

  1. Anterior Loaded Barbell Step Ups 
  2. Anterior Loaded Barbell Lunge (reverseforwardwalking, lateral)
  3. Anterior Loaded Barbell Cossack Squat
  4. Loaded Bowler Squats
  5. Counterbalance Pistol Squat
  • Abdominal Anti- Extension
  1. RKC Plank
  2. Loaded Dead Bug
  3. Reverse Crunch
  4. Hollow Hold (bent legstraight legstraddle)
  5. Ab Wheel  /   Suspension Roll Outs
  • Abdominal Anti- Rotation
  1. Half Kneeling Anti Rotation Cable Chop
  2. Tall Kneeling Pallof Press
  3. Wide Stance Anti-Rotation with Rope
  4. Standing Landmine Anti-Rotation
  5. Suspension Lateral Single Arm Anti-Rotation Row
  • Anti-Lateral Flexion
  1. Side Plank
  2. Suitcase Deadlift
  3. Suitcase Carry
  4. Offset Kettlebell Front Rack Walk
  5. Off-Bench Oblique Hold with Pulse

Woah! That is a lot of exercises (around 60), so what is next? Well, now it is time to put it in a program and use it for a workout. My next blog post will cover how to use these exercises for a workout plan, stay tuned!