My Favorite Exercises

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I believe that proper exercise selection is very important to help one achieve their goals.  If you are going to be busting your butt in the gym you want to spend your time on something that will actually give you the results you are after.  To that end I have compiled the 5 best exercises for the muscle group you want to work.  But, it is important to know what specific goal you have.  Are you trying to get stronger, get bigger, or build muscular endurance?  To help you out I am going to list my top 5 exercises for each muscle group in each one of those categories.

My Favorite Exercises for Chest

Chest Strength

Chest Size

Chest Endurance

Bench Press

Bench Press

Bench Press

Incline Press

Smith Mx Bench


Decline Press

Hammer Strength Press


Dumbbell Press

Dumbbell Press

Ring Push-up


Power DB Fly

1 Arm Push-up



My Favorite Exercises for the Back

Back Strength

Back Size

Back Endurance


Bent-over Row



Machine Row


Bent-over Row

DB Row

Inverted Row

DB Row

Machine Pulldown

DB Row

Cable Row

Pullover Machine

Flexed Arm Hang



My Favorite Exercises for the Shoulders

Shoulders Strength

Shoulders Size

Shoulders Endurance

Push Press

Smith Mx Mil Press

Handstand Push-up

Barbell Military Press

Power DB Lat Raise

Barbell Military Press

DB Military Press

Leaning DB Lat Raise

DB Military Press

Power DB Lateral Raise

Power DB Rear Delt Raise

DB Lateral Raise

Leaning Lateral Raise

Rear Delt Machine

DB Rear Delt Raise



My Favorite Exercises for the Legs

Legs Strength

Legs Size

Legs Endurance


Leg Press


C Deadlifts

Smith Mx Squat


Sumo Deadlifts


Leg Press

Good Mornings

Deadlift (any)

Front Squat

Leg Press or Front Squat

Leg Ext/Leg Curl

Step Ups


My Favorite Exercises for the Biceps

Biceps Strength

Biceps Size

Biceps Endurance

EZ Bar Curl

EZ Curl

EZ Bar Curl

Power Curl

DB Curl

Suspension (TRX) Curl

DB Curl

Cable Curl

DB Curl

DB Hammer Curl

Power Curl

Band Curl

Strict Curl

DB Hammer Curl

Preacher Curl


My Favorite Exercises for the Triceps

Triceps Strength

Triceps Size

Triceps Endurance

Closegrip Bench

Skull Crushers

Closegrip push-up

Board Press


Bench Dips

Skull Crushers

Closegrip Bench

Band Pushdowns

DB Overhead Tri Ext



DB Pullover Tricep Extension

DB Pullover Tricep Extension

DB Pullover Tricep Extension



My Favorite Exercises for the Abs (core)

Abs Strength

Abs Size

Abs Endurance

Hanging Leg Raise

Cable Crunch


Inverted Sit-up

RC Leg Raise


Cable Crunch

Decline Sit-up


Dragon Flags

Machine Crunch

Twisting Decline


Standing Ab Wheel

Dumbbell Side Bend

Wood chop/Rotations


I am not trying to make the argument that you should only use these exercises listed here for the rest of your training career.  I am, however, suggesting that if you are not regularly incorporating a good number of these exercises for clients that have these specific goals, your results may end up being less than optimal.  Ultimately you want to have a litmus test for exercises; a method for determining if the exercise is likely getting the job done.  Here is the litmus test that I use:

Strength: When training for strength you want to choose an exercise that allows you to lift the most weight combined with the most skill necessary.

Size: When training for size you want to choose an exercise that allows you to lift the most weight combined with the most isolation (emphasis) on the target area.

Endurance: When training for muscle endurance choose the most challenging functional exercise that a client can complete for 20 or more reps.  A functional exercise in this instance is an exercise that moves in 3 dimensions and has a high probably of transferring to common, everyday activities.

Let’s look at the leg press for example.  One huge benefit of the leg press is that allows the client to lift a lot of weight - most clients will use more weight on the leg press than they will on any other exercise in the gym.  That fits very nicely for the first part of the guideline both size and strength.  However, the leg press involves little skill – it is a fixed machine and as such the strength developed in that lift may not transfer that well over to other activities – squats for example.  If you want to use the leg press to develop strength you need to incorporate the other barbell lifts as well.  However the leg press does a great job of isolating – or placing significant emphasis on – the target muscles, in this case the glutes and the quads.  In my opinion it may be the best exercise to develop those areas, particularly the quads.  The point of this example is to highlight how having a filter to view exercises through will help you see the benefits and negatives of each exercise and will allow you to make more ideal exercise selection for your clients.


Selecting the optimal exercises will go a long way towards improving your clients’ fitness, but don’t forget to incorporate the standard exercise program design science as well to ensure they are achieving maximal results:

  • Strength: For most sets use a heavier weight, use lower reps (1-6), and take long rests in between each work set (2+ minutes). Be sure to incorporate progressive overload in your workouts.
  • Size: For most sets use a moderate weight, use medium reps (6-12), take shorter rests in between each work set (1-2 minutes), and use a high volume of training (8-20 tough sets for the target area). Be sure to eat enough to facilitate growth.
  • Endurance: For most sets use a lower weight, use higher reps (12+, often in the 20 range), and take shorter breaks particularly if training for multiple set endurance. Be sure to keep your cardio high enough and your bodyweight low enough to handle the demands of this style of training.




  1. Appreciate very much your very nice, useful topics
    I am always following your sites subjects as ever awaited the best topics form your site.
    Good luck

  2. Thanks for sharing your favorite exercises plan. I really agreed with you that proper exercise selection is very important to help one achieve their goals. After reading your post I really very glad.
    Thanks again 🙂 🙂

  3. Thanks Tim Henriques for sharing your favorite exercise plan. I'm always concern about my fitness. You have share here your favorite exercises for chest. Frankly speaking I also choice this exercises.
    I'm always follow your posts. I hope you will share more posts about exercise and fitness.
    Best of luck 🙂 🙂

  4. Boneca De Ferro says:

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