Picking the right exercises can be very confusing! Between the BS ‘functional coaches’ and the ever so insightful world of social media, there is a plethora of information that is impossible to sift through. Now, it’s not to say that all exercises are bad, it’s just that not all exercises are good – some are better than others, and some serve a very specific purpose. So how do you figure out what’s good for you, and what should be left for another time/purpose? Check out the rest of this post where we run down 5 quick and easy ways to optimise your exercise selection!
Know your goals
This is the most important factor! Knowing what you want to do will be a major influence on what exercises you pick. For example, people aiming for fat loss should spend more time on compound movements in order to recruit more muscle and burn more calories as a consequence. This links directly into the next point…
Know what the exercise does
Squats for example have a completely different purpose to a bicep curl. Obviously they target different muscle groups, but one is a compound movement, whereas the other is an isolation movement. Bicep curls wont get you ripped whereas squats are more likely to.
Look at regressions
If you want to do compound movements but cant quite manage a full lift, look at regressing the exercise. For example, a squat could be regressed into a partial range of movement (box squats or quarter squats) or an alternative exercise could be used (goblet squat, hack squat). Progress these until you manage the full exercise.
If it looks like BS it probably is
If you look at an Instagram page and it seems a bit off, it probably is. Nobody gets muscular, lean and fit by doing banded bodyweight squats (unless they’re taking some questionable ‘supplements’). You get in shape by working hard, there’s no two ways about it! Not to say that exercising can’t be fun, but ‘fun’ workouts may not always be the most effective or hard working – for example, I’m yet to find anyone who genuinely looks forward to doing a minute of burpees!
Start broad and get specific later
This is heavily linked to the principles of periodization, but no one starts off doing ultra specific workouts. As we mentioned in 6 Easy Tips For When You Start Lifting Weights, pick 4-6 core exercises and ready nail them. Pick exercises that hit more muscles at a time (squats, deadlifts, bent over row) and build the rest of your workouts around those.
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