You could be doing countless exercises in the gym and seeing little results in your overall fitness. It’s not about quantity, but the quality of your exercises. The best exercises are usually the most basic because they incorporate all of the major muscle groups. If you could only do 5 exercises, these would be the ones you should do…
You need to train your leg muscles since they make up the largest muscles in the body. Squats are not only the best leg exercise, but probably the best overall exercise to do. Squats are proven to release more testosterone and growth hormone, which are needed to build the most muscle possible. Doing squats creates an overall anabolic environment better than any other exercise since the most stress is being placed on the body. Squats are also one of the best exercises to strengthen and tone the midsection. Your abdominals are needed to keep balance during a squat movement. The result is a tighter, flatter abdomen and a stronger lower back. Squats also improve mobility and balance. As we age, we lose mobility and balance, as our nerve endings and connective tissue degenerate naturally. Squats keep the lower body strong and in equilibrium, which will improve our overall mobility and balance.
Push-ups are one of the oldest and most basic exercises. There’s a reason why it’s been used for centuries. Push-ups work all the muscles in the upper body and build optimal strength in the forearms, wrists, upper arms, shoulders and chest. In addition, push-ups are one of the best exercises to build endurance, which in turn makes it possible to move onto bigger and more demanding forms of exercise. Push-ups work the scapular muscles and rotator-cuff muscles better than other major chest exercises like the bench press. Therefore, if you rely on the bench then you really won’t be working those muscles, which are the support system for many of your upper body exercises. Often times, the chest and shoulder muscles are too strong relative to the muscles behind them. Push-ups work those smaller muscles and help improve muscular balance better than most other exercises.
One of the oldest and undisputed kings of the back exercises is the pull-up. Not only do pull-ups activate the belly of your latissimus like no other, but it will activate every muscle in your back. Not only will your back grow, but you will really build up the biceps, forearms, and shoulder muscles as well. Your grip strength will also dramatically increase. It’s been said that the pull-up is the squat of the upper body. Take it for what it’s worth.
Dips are one of the few exercises that will add massive size and strength to your chest, shoulders, and triceps all at once. Dips are one of the only exercises that targets all three heads of the triceps, which puts the triceps at great overload. Because they require you to stabilize your entire body and engage multiple muscle groups, dips are more effective in stimulating growth hormone. They also engage stabilizing muscles, which means you are doing more with every movement.
If you want to really build up your physique, you need to sprint. Sprinting will reduce body fat and strengthen you more than long distance running due to the maximal recruitment of muscle and short maximal energy bursts. In addition, sprinting activates more human growth hormone and testosterone and strengthens your skeletal muscles. According to studies, sprint training can naturally boost natural growth hormone production by as much as 530%! In other words, do your sprints to make the most of your muscle growth. One of the biggest benefits of doing sprints is its effect on increasing your body’s ability to burn a higher amount of calories after exercise. Since your entire body will be more engaged and taxed when doing sprints, you will use up more energy, resulting in greater overall calorie expenditure and fat loss even after your exercise is over.