One of the most common questions you will get asked as a Personal Trainer

One of the most clichéd questions you will get asked as a personal trainer is‘what’s the best exercise for…….?’

The most common one being ‘what’s the best exercise to get a six-pack?’ and my reply always remains the same, ‘Diet, diet and guess what? Diet! (It takes 250,000 sit ups to burn only 1 pound of body fat. Get the picture?). Your job as a personal trainer is educate your clients on exercise technique, exercise selection and nutrition. If you do that then you will have a far greater chance of building a sucessful personal training business with a plethora of great client testimonials. At FFTAcademy we believe in following the 'Pareto Law' Focus on the good – 20% effort – 80% result. Exercises that provide more bang for your buck!.

So here is OUR list of best exercises:

Total Body – Now we are talking. The king of all exercises and lots of bang for your buck. The Mighty deadlift. So much carry over with this exercise. Works the entire posterior chain (Hamstrings, Glutes, Lower to mid back, Traps) and we are also getting massive core stabilization with some biceps and forearms thrown in. On top of ALL that when reps are taking higher so does your heart rate. Get deadlifting today!

Back – Pull ups and Chin ups are the clear winner here. No better way of getting a V shape than pulling your own body weight off the floor. However not everyone can perform pull-ups/chin ups well enough. So here I’m going to go with the Dumbbell 1 Arm row. Works the lats, traps, serratus anterior, core and again biceps. Can also be used with high or low reps depending on goal and is easy to transition into supersets.

Chest – Get ready to be shocked – not the bench press. When we are talking true muscle activation the bench press ranks low. Pushups are great as you are using 80% of your bodyweight and there are so many variations but here I’m going with Incline Dbell Press. Hitting the upper portion of the chest and we are getting some horizontal flexion (true movement of the chest).

Shoulders – One winner here and that is the overhead press. If you want great coconuts (that’s shoulders) and a strong core then get pressing. Barbell Push Press is my personal choice but I do love single arm Dbell press and shoulder circuits like the following:

A1) Seated Arnold Press * 10 A2) Standing L Raise * 10 A3) Seated Lateral Raise * 10

Quads – Squats…..squats….squats! Add any form of squat to your routine but front squats are a great addition as there is less sheer force on your lower back plus you are hitting quads more afflictively (also getting ready to feel your core the next day after a heavy front squat session). Goblet squats are also great for anyone who is lacing the mobility to squat with a barbell).

Hamstrings – For me it has to be Romanian Deadlift with a slow tempo. Glute ham machine are also great along with Swiss ball leg curls.

Glutes – Glutes are the most underused and undervalued muscle in the body. Strong glutes equals strong body and core along with less back pain. So reverse lunge of a box is the winner here BUTT (pardon the pun!) if you want really sexy glutes get outside and start sprinting. All the force comes from the glutes. For extra credit choose a hill and sprint up it 10 times! When training women I use elevated Glute Raise as it always hits the sweet spot.

Core/Abs – Kept the best till last. As I always say abs are made in the kitchen and not the gym so your best machine is a Tupperware box and blender! (If you want a list of great exercises then please inbox me).

Your core which is your rectus abs, oblique’s, TVA, Spinae Erector and Glutes need to be trained with their main function in mind – Stability. The core is designed to brace and twist and keep the spine braced. Hence why you do not need a pretty little weights belt while you are training. Strengthen your core don’t tighten your weights belt. A strong core equals a sexier looking torso and a healthier spine.

Focus on basic movements such as plank, side planks, pallof press, swiss ball stir the pot, rev crunch, 2 point box, wood chops and gain functional strength through kbells swings, get up and compound lifts.

As I said it takes 250,000 sit ups to burn just 1 pound of bodyfat, so it should be clear there are better and more efficient ways of achieving a toned stomach.

Conditioning – Hands down winner is the concept 2 rower. Add this to you workouts from today. And row. Balls to the wall!

Bodyweight Training – Bodyweight training is a fantastic tool you can take anywhere and has been around as long as we have. Used by the Greeks and Romans to prepare for war there is nothing better to improve body strength and function. The great thing is YOU are the equipment so it can be done anywhere – anytime. NO Gym NO excuse!

The great thing about Bodyweight training is that is can be used as a mobility circuit, assistance exercise or a metabolic circuit. The options are endless. In my experience the average gym user needs to perfect basic primal movements such as squat, lunge, push up, chin up and plank before moving on to free weights. Healthy movement patterns are key to longevity and results in the gym.

Try this bodyweight circuit and let me know what you think:

A1) Prisoner Squat * 15 Reps A2) Spider Man Push up * 12 reps A3) Reverse Lunge * 10 Per side A4) Chin up or Assisted Chin up * 8 A5) Rocking Plank * 15 A6) 1 ½ Rep Bulgarian Squat * 8 per side A7) Glute Bridge * 15 A8) 2 Point Box Hold * 30 sec per side A9) Jumping Jacks * 60 sec 3 Circuits with 60/120 sec rest in between depending on fitness levels

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