Hey everyone, in this article I will be going over top strength training exercises! Much like most goals, there are no “best” exercises. However, there are guidelines to see if an exercise is great for strength training!
I will provide some suggestions for exercises that meet these guidelines! You can then consider implementing them into your training routine!
What Are These Guidelines:
- Can Be Trained Heavy
- Can Lay a Strong Foundation or is an Effective Assistance Exercise
- Is Conducive To Your Goals
Let’s get into the details!
Can Be Trained Heavy:
When we are looking to gain strength, we want our primary exercises to be ones that have the ability to be trained heavy.
Why might this be? Well, heavy training taps into our type two muscle fibres which are responsible for the majority of the force our body produces. Additionally, these muscle fibres have the most ability for adaptation. Therefore, they respond best to training stimulus.
So, when we train heavy, we are targeting the muscle fibres that have the greatest ability to adapt and grow stronger.
Another reason why we train heavy for the goal of gaining strength is it works on the capability of our CNS to handle load and recover from the demanding training. This is beneficial as the more load our CNS can handle, the greater we can perform. Also, the better our CNS can recover, the more efficiently we can train!
Foundation or Assistance Exercise?
When we are strength training, we lay our foundation with the “meat and potatoes” exercises. These are the ones we train heaviest and at the beginning of our sessions when we have the most energy.
These exercises demand a ton of response from our body to execute them, which means they have a large return on investment. Investment meaning energy from their recovery demand and the return being the benefit we receive.
These movements are generally compound exercises that can be trained quite heavy. However, the exercise also needs to work for you. Being able to perform them with proper control and technique is important to ensure they are being utilized effectively.
Assistance exercises are ones that help to build up these primary exercises. They take certain components of the primary exercise and build upon them! For example, if someone had shaky knees in the standard back squat, they may implement a Bulgarian split squat. This because the unilateral nature of the exercise would force the body to focus on stabilizing the knee joint.
Choosing exercises to lay your foundation comes down to its ability to be trained heavy and its ability to activate a large number of muscle groups; with them working together to perform the movement, (this generally comes with being able to train an exercise heavy). Additionally, the exercise should be conducive to progression via weight (typically easy when you can train it heavy) and you need to be able to adequately execute the exercise for maximal benefit.
Choosing an assistance exercise comes down to breaking down the primary movements and looking at your body’s overall weak points relative to those exercises and your goals/circumstances.
Conducive to Your Goals:
Lastly, it is important to choose exercises relative to your goals. While the principles listed above are what I would recommend for your primary exercises, it doesn’t need to be the squat, bench press or deadlift. While these are great exercises, they may not be the most effective for you and your goals.
However, different variations or styles of those basic movement patterns may be more effective. An example of this would be choosing a single leg deadlift to develop foot stability and recruit the hamstrings and glutes to work together. This would typically be an assistance exercise, however, I could see it having a place as a primary exercise in an athletic focussed program.
Below are some exercise examples for primary and assistance exercises with some options as well!
Click on the highlight of each exercise for a tutorial/examples on how to perform them! These tutorials are not my own.
All in all, there are fundamental principles that make for an awesome strength training exercise! With these principles comes factoring in your own personal circumstances and goals. You have also been provided with some ideas of exercises to go along with these suggestions!
Got any questions? Leave them in the comment section below! Thank you so much for reading and I hope to see you back!
Here are some other articles that may be beneficial for your knowledge!
Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.