My Top 5 Go To Exercises

by Michael Davis in Training


After having spent countless hours in the gym or outdoors exercising, I am confident enough to say that I have tried almost all, if not all exercises there are out there. Whether it be the lying close-grip bar curl on the high pulley or using the smith machine as a leg press.

The truth is that most of us at the gym tend to overcomplicate things. Most trainers would agree that we can build a good foundation of strength and muscle by sticking to the more basic exercises.

Before we dive into top 5 exercises, let’s talk about compound exercises.

Compound movements are defined as multi-joint movements that involve two or more muscle groups. Take for example the pull up, not only are we flexing our arm at the elbow, we are also extending our shoulder backwards by drawing our elbows behind our body. Compound exercises have many advantages. Not only do they burn more calories than isolated exercises, they also help improve intermuscular coordination. This essentially means that your muscles work together more efficiently. All the exercises that I have listed here are compound movements.

Here are my top 5 go to exercises:


A must if you want to build a strong back. What makes this exercise so interesting is the many variations that exist. Wide grip and close grip are examples. Pull-ups also train your grip strength, your core, and your biceps. For a little help, you can use assistance bands, or an assisted pullup machine. For those of you that require a little more, feel free to add weight in the form of a vest or using a belt.


A simple exercise that targets your chest, triceps and shoulders. Similar to the pull-up this exercise can be adapted to the user. There are many different variations such as wall press-ups or diamond press-ups. An alternative to this is the bench press which will allow you to load more weight.


If you aren’t doing these already then you are missing out. Dealifts will make day to day activities much easier. Especially for the Mums out there who have kids. Not only will you be working your quads, hamstrings and glutes but also your lower back and your grip strength. A great posterior chain exercise !


This full body exercise is a great way to increase your muscular endurance and your cardiovascular endurance. For those of you that are feeling stronger, feel free to add a press-up at the bottom and a jump at the top. You can even use dumbbells. You can step it down by removing the press-up and/or the jump at the top. All in all, the Burpee is a really challenging exercise that can be adapted to most levels.


The squat is another exercise that will help improve your ability to carry out day to day tasks that invlovle lifting or bending over. The squat can be performed using only your bodyweight or using weights such as dumbells or a barbell. That being said, the squat requires good flexibility and ankle mobility, so be sure to work on these before adding any weight to this exercise.