One of the most important pieces of advices I’ve given client during my years as a personal trainer is, in my opinion, no matter how much weight you can lift, your overall strength will never reach its full potential, if you’re not doing what most trainers call “the basic” exercises. I’m sure some trainers may dispute this, but I’m speaking from personal experience training, as well as from the positive results I’ve witness in my clients over the years when sticking with this training philosophy.
Examples of basic exercises include, but are not limited to: pushups, pull-ups, crunches and/or planks, leg raises, and burpees. As you can see I left squats out. That’s because most people already do them in their normal routine. To give you an example, someone could bench press 225 lbs, but struggle doing 25 pushups. Another example would be someone being able to pull 170 lbs on a lat pull-down machine, but struggle when doing 10 bodyweight pull-ups. Believe it or not, there is a sizeable difference between machine weight and body weight. The struggle is real to say the least.
As a result of years of lifting and personal training, I have learned to incorporate these exercises in my daily routine, as well as my client’s routines, to achieve maximum results. In fact, my clients are shocked when I have a routine for them that doesn’t include pushups and/or pull-ups, which believe me, only happens once in a blue moon.
If you’re one that has never worked out before, or maybe your schedule is full and it’s hard to get to the gym; doing these exercises regularly, on your own, can help you achieve the goals you’re looking for. Over time, as your strength and endurance increase, you can elevate the intensity of your workout by increasing the reps, or even by doing timed circuit rounds. There are many ways you can do these exercises to not only challenge yourself, but also make them fun!
Whether you choose to do these exercises first thing in the morning, before you go to bed, or even at the gym, I believe it’s essential to mix in these “basic exercises” to your normal routine. I would even suggest doing them every day if you can. If you’re sore, take a day of rest.
A good routine to start with is 15-25 pushups a day (knees or standard), and 10 pull-ups a day. The effort you show just by getting up and doing these exercises, will go a long way! With pushups, you’re building your shoulder stabilizers, chest, triceps and core. While with pull-ups, you’re working on grip strength, biceps, back, and rhomboids. As you can see, with both exercises you’re taking care of most of the major muscle groups, with exception to squats which we left out. You will build up a sweat, burn some additional calories, and if you’re someone who doesn’t do these, it will challenge you!