My top 5 exercises

In a previous article I mentioned the importance of focusing on the basics building a strong base and working from there.A lot of time I see people on the gym floor not having a clue on where to start when it comes to the right training program and just end up jumping on the nearest crosstrainer. I included videos of a warm up you should be doing along with a handful of exercises with the best of technique.All that info can be found HERE 

Go read that article,watch the videos and work on the exercises mentioned then I suggest you move on into these 5 exercises which I feel are the best for your gym program.

Here are my top 5 you need in your gym program.

  • Squat

The king of all exercises and something everyone should be working on whether that’s a basic air squat to a heavy weighted front squat.If I only had to choose one exercise for most people to do it would be this movement.There isn’t a better exercise for development of full body strength,improving core strength and lower body muscle development.Start by working the basic air squat.Get that movement right first then look to advance.There are many variations of the squat.Generally I start with air squat then progressing into a goblet squat working my towards a barbell back or front squat.All the usual set up rules need to apply when setting up for your squat from the correct stance,bracing yourself before you descend into the bottom of the squat,keeping the back tight,sending your knees out and sitting your weight into your heals aiming to break parallel once your mobility allows you.If not go work your mobility every day such as tight ankles/calves,or possible even tight hip flexors. You want to work on your basic air squat technique first then just watch video HERE then once you got that right you should work towards some extra load with a goblet or barbell back squat below.


  • Deadlift

Huge fan of this compound exercise and another great movement you need in your gym program.I always recommend to pull from the floor at least once a week.As for the deadlift itself there are many variations from the KB deadlift,straight bar to the hex bar deadlift.I use the hex bar myself and would use this bar with 80% of my clients with the other 20% doing a straight bar as they have great range in their hamstrings to allow them to pull from floor in that position.The deadlift is a super posterior chain exercise for improving overall strength and it is for sure an exercise that provides you with good confidence being able to pull a heavy weight from the floor.A good set up is feet under your hips,toes point forwards,hingeing with the hip as you sit into the bottom position keeping your back flat, chest up all with your head in neutral.A lot of the time I do hear of people complaining of low back pain after deadlifting.This could be down to something simple as not bracing yourself before you set up,poor technique,going too heavy or perhaps you should go look at even using a hex bar as your just not mobile enough to find the correct position at the bottom of a straight bar.

Quick clip of a hex bar deadlift is below.

  • Pull up/Chin up

Another classic exercise that everybody has the ability to work towards and when you do eventually hit your first chin or pull up it really is a pretty good feeling.For most this movement will take time to build towards.Majority of us cant just rock up to a bar and hammer out full strict chin/pull ups for reps.We all need to start somewhere.I generally recommend working on basic things like ring rows,single arm rows or even just hanging from a bar or even looking at doing some negative chin/pulls up which you can see a client of mine perform here below.

  • Overhead pressing

In the previous article mentioned above I highlighted the importance of working on push ups and doing them right.In that video HERE I covered all different progressions of push ups from beginners to advanced and hope all those tips helped you out.Moving on from the push up I would like to see at least another form of pressing movements in my gym program.This could be anything from standing barbell overhead press to a favorite of mine the kneeling barbell/dumbell single arm press.

  • Core/carry movements

This list here is endless but here are 2 drills that I would certainly have in my program.

Farmer Carries 

This is a exercise I rarely see performed any more in most mainstream gyms. At our gym, we include some form of weighted carry in almost every workout, so I am used to seeing people do them. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, the loaded carry has some benefits for everyone.Excellent all round exercise for improving your grip strength,increasing shoulder health and superb drill for engaging and working on your core.There are so many variations of carries from

Pallof press

Really good exercise to have in your workout for developing and improving your core strength and a drill that forces you to learn how to brace better.All you need here is a basic medium resistance band.You are a golfer,tennis player or any other rotational sports person that needs a strong core then would highly suggest you get on this exercise.Demo below



I hope you find this information useful and if you need any more advice just pop me a message. You can see more advice from me on my social media pages, which are linked below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send me a direct message here.





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