Is there really one BEST exercise for strength?
When we begin our fitness journey some of these questions may ‘POP’ into your mind, and it is for good reason… you want to get results! This information will help to guide you in the right direction when it comes to effective strength training exercise selection.
Don’t be mislead and told that you need to do some ridiculous exercise routine that will completely waste your time and make you no stronger than when you started. To get strong effectively you need to do exercises that will target most of your largest muscle groups:
- Knee and hip dominate movements
- Horizontal and vertical push movements
- Vertical and horizontal pull movements
So, you’re probably wondering what these movements are or simpler put what exercises should you do? Well, I will be covering this below in short detail explaining what exercises will get you stronger efficiently.
Best Exercise to Strengthen the Legs
The legs have big muscles including the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. You can stimulate all these muscles with one exercise… the squat! Not only will the squat target these muscles, but many more through-out the body; getting you stronger faster.
There are many different squat variations to help you reach your specific goal(s) and to also keep training interesting and avoid the law of accommodation. If the body gets used to the same stimulus it will stop getting stronger. The idea is to get the most out of a variation and move on to another to consistently challenge the body and make progressive strength gains.
To learn more about how to program the squat with some other exercises to benefit your strength training program and get you stronger faster, check out my full article ‘Best Exercises to Strengthen the Legs’.
Best Exercise to Strengthen the Back Muscles
Just as above, to fully challenge the back muscles and gain real strength you need to be doing a compound movement like a squat or deadlift. These movements are the most efficient to building functional strength and muscle mass because they will recruit the most muscles by allowing you to lift heavier weight.
There are many variables that can contribute to what is the best for any one individual; meaning some of us may find a movement to seem more natural based on your body structure; specifically limb length, size, and or proportions. Furthermore, what is available to you based on environmental factors may play a role in exercise selection, but let’s take into consideration you have full access, squats may be the ‘TOP’ exercise when it comes to both leg and back strength development. Also, you can get a different stimulus by utilizing specialty bars like the safety squat bar or a cambered bar to target the upper and lower back.
For more information on getting a stronger back and how to organize a training plan, check out my full article ‘Best Exercises to Strengthen the Back’.
What is the Best Exercise for Your Abs?
When most of us think of strong abs… you picture the six-pack muscle development you see in the magazines or on that infomercial claiming the product will give you instant results… don’t be fooled and to be honest, six-pack abs are not a sign of strength rather a sign of good dieting. To gain functionally strong abs you need to strengthen them with progressively challenging exercises including the exercises listed above: squats and deadlifts.
Your trunk or midsection consists of your abdominal muscles and lower back muscles. They work together to keep you upright, structurally stable, and help to protect the spine. So, if your only doing crunches on the living room floor wondering why no results than it might be time to try a different approach.
I’m not saying that squats and deadlifts are the only exercises to do, but they should not be skipped over when considering the best exercise for your abs. If you want some more ideas on abdominal exercises you should be doing, check out my full article, ‘Best Ab Exercises for Strength Athletes’.
What is the Best Chest Exercise?
This question is largely determined by many factors, specifically your access to gym equipment. Although, you can build a great chest with just push-ups, but are you willing to do multiple H-U-N-D-R-E-D-S of them? Or, maybe it’s a better idea to concentrate on a strength training program that uses different pressing variations that will stimulate the most muscle and get you stronger.
Although, it is said that dips are the ‘KING’ of upper body development due to the amount of muscles it works, I like to think that the bench press and its variations could be the most effective because of the ability to overload and continually challenge the muscle with new stimulus.
If you want to find out more about how to program some effective chest building exercises and get results, check out my full article ‘Best Chest Building Exercises’.
What is the Best Exercise for Arms?
When you think of arms, what comes to mind… big biceps right! Ok, that’s a part of it, but the triceps are actually a larger percent of your arm. The good thing is that if you’re doing a sensible training program you will develop some decent triceps muscle from the pressing movements mentioned above.
So, for the sake of that understanding let’s focus on the biceps muscles. To get bigger and defined biceps, it’s going to take a combination of exercises, but if I had to choose one, I would go with chin-ups… you may ask why chin-ups, isn’t that a back exercise?… and yes it is, but also places a large amount of stress on the biceps and will surely provide great results if you’re able to get in enough volume and increase the intensity over time.
Along with chin-ups or if chin-ups are not an option for you then the most obvious is to do curls and its many variations to target different muscle areas and maximize development. I have gone into greater detail here in my article, ‘Best Biceps Exercises’.
It’s Never too Late to get Stronger!
With the information above, I hope it will help you to better structure a plan on gaining strength. If you want to become stronger it takes some thought and experimenting, but with the right combination of exercises based on your goals you can develop an amazing amount of strength and muscle with patience and determination.
An abundance of strength and muscle does not happen overnight, but through years of consistent training along with proper nutrition, and recovery strategies it can happen. If you need some advice on starting a training program or want assistance with a nutrition plan to maximize your results, feel free to reach out to me by email and I would be glad to help.
If you have any questions or wish to share your thoughts you can leave it below in the comment section.
If you want to win, do the ordinary things better than anyone else does them day in and day out. –Chuck Noll
All the best,