The best exercises for all nine of the major muscle groups is really up for debate. Some trainers will not agree with my list which is okay. These are the staple exercises of most people’s routines. In alphabetical order we have:
1. Best Exercises for Abs
Most will argue you have to do crunches, decline sit-ups and that is it. I would add any move that takes your knees towards your head like hanging knee raises and leg raises. Twisting moves will work the obliques as well so add in twisting crunches.
2. Back Exercises
Wide grip and reverse grip pull downs are good choices. As are both types of rowing movements: barbell and one-arm dumbbell rows. A combination move to work more than just your back can be effective so use dumbbell pullovers.
3. Best Exercises for Biceps
I love working arms as do most guys. Using a variety of moves to hit them at different angles is important so use seated and incline dumbbell curls, standing barbell curls and hammer curls.
Work this muscle group to failure using seated and standing calf raises, one-leg calf raise. Like biceps, change the angle and point your toes in or out to work the muscle differently.
5. Best Exercises for Chest
You can’t go wrong here with the four most popular best exercises – barbell and dumbbell bench press, dumbbell incline bench press and of course dumbbell flyes.
Legs are tough on you psychologically because it can hurt working big muscles. In this case, use dumbbell lunges, leg curls (standing and laying) and the best one of all, straight leg deadlifts. Deadlifts will work more than just legs – your core, back and shoulders will all be involved.
7. Best Exercises for Quads
Using machines is not always a bad thing so try leg press and leg extensions for starters. The best one is still squats so try variations like barbell squats (on shoulders in front) as well as dumbbell squats.
You will normally try to hit all three areas: front, middle and back deltoids. Overall moves include seated dumbbell press and standing barbell press then isolate areas with dumbbell raises – side, bent-over and front variations.
9. Best Exercises for Triceps
Great biceps need solid triceps with definition to show them off. I really like standing and lying dumbbell extensions, bench dips and close-grip pushdowns.
You will notice links in each section above. I have previously done a complete exercise description for these separate articles. Each link will take you to them. Enjoy your workouts!