The 8 Essential Exercises All Men Should Do According to the Experts
Nobody likes exercising. Ok, that’s a lie, but for those not obsessed with the perfect figure, exercising can be a chore. It’s something most of us have to undertake to keep the beer gut in check. Staying fit does have a multitude of benefits though, but you’ll only see these if you’re getting the best out of your workout.
It’s not always easy to know what exercises are the best for keeping your figure trim and your muscles bulging. Do you focus on cardio or pump iron to increase your chest size? Maybe you want to better your flexibility or strengthen your back muscles?
We reached out to several health and fitness professionals to get their advice on what exercises are a must to keep you in tip-top shape. From squats to pull-ups and everything in between, here are the eight essential exercises all men should do according to the experts.
Essentially picking something up from the ground and putting it back down again, deadlifts are great because they use a large number of muscle groups. This weight training exercise is excellent for increasing core strength and posture.
“What I love about the deadlift is it works most muscles within the body all at once. All the posterior muscles get worked to get this thing off the ground – the hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles. The forearms, arms, and shoulders need to work like hell to keep hold of the bar. Forget about sit-ups for a six-pack – pulling 100 kg plus from the floor compared to a Bosu ball sit-up will work the core better than most.”
Ben Wood – FORMMCR
“I recommend the deadlift because It’s the one exercise that quickly develops and tones the back, chest, arm, and shoulder muscles all at once. Also, if done correctly, it strengthens the lower back and glute muscles. If you’re sitting all day, this exercise is for you.”
“The deadlift can also be performed with the following exercise equipment: barbell, hex bar, dumbbell, resistance band, hinge (bodyweight), etc… Also, it has many variations that allow you to target more specific muscle groups. For example, the Romanian deadlift targets more hamstrings, lower back, and glutes versus the Sumo deadlift that targets more inner thighs and core muscles.”
Sergio Pedemonte – Your House Fitness
If you’re after the perfect ass, then this is the exercise for you. Squats, although annoying, are great for strengthening your legs, knees, and ankles, and can be done without any equipment. Another exercise that works a multitude of mussels, squats are a must according to the experts.
“My criteria for choosing this exercise is based on what is going to stimulate the greatest amount of change in your body with the least potential for injury? The benefits of performing the back squat fall into two primary categories: muscular and hormonal.”
“The muscular benefits include engagement of the entire body – from the upper back where the bar sits, the glutes, and hamstrings creating the movement, to the core stabilizing everything in between. The back squat is the undisputed king exercise for total muscle recruitment.”
“The second criteria I am looking for is the hormonal response stimulated by the exercise. Lifting heavy weights demands a high amount of energy from your CNS or your central nervous system. This in turn leads to an increase in human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, both of which are highly beneficial for your body to build muscle and function properly. HGH, along with testosterone not only helps your body build larger muscles but also helps increase bone density and reduce body fat.”
Sean Orlando – Coach Sean Online
Another relatively simple exercise, step-ups are another great way to keep fit and healthy. It’s an exercise that can be done from the comfort of your home. All you need is a box or bench you then use to “step-up.” You can add kettlebells or dumbbells to increase your workout load.
“Most people have heard the virtues of squatting, but when performed correctly, the step-up has greater potential to help create lower body strength, stability, and mobility, as well as the ability to correct imbalances between sides.”
“By doing step-ups and other single-leg exercises you can improve imbalances while gaining a surprising amount of strength. You can get very strong at home doing this type of movement with much less weight than it takes similar strength gains from squatting.”
Ian Elwood – Mission MVMT
4. Turkish Get-up
Believed to have been invented by ancient Turkish wrestlers, this strength exercise is generally done using a kettlebell. It’s all about movement and stability and ideal for those with mobility problems.
According to Spartan, the Turkish Get-up “requires you to hold one arm in a stable overhead position while moving through multiple planes of motion, finding points of stability in the anterior, lateral, and overhead positions, all while supporting yourself with one hand and transitioning from lying to kneeling to standing.” Easier said than done.
“The Turkish Get-up is an exercise that uses almost every muscle in your body while you get up and down off the floor. It helps you build stability as well as strengthen your vestibular system which helps with balance. It will also help your cardiovascular endurance because it uses so much muscle energy. And as we age, getting up from the floor can present a challenge for people. This helps to improve that skill. There are so many benefits to this exercise, I think every man should include it in their routine.”
Bill Daniels – Beyond Fitness Online
See more about - 10 best ab exercises for men
Running is the bane of my existence, but also one of the few exercises I can do without having to visit a testosterone-filled gym. While running is great for cardio, sprints can be just as effective. Running short distances in even shorter timeframes will leave you feeling stuffed, but also exercise a range of different muscles. It’s also great for non-gym goers.
“Once physically capable, I always recommend folks learn how to sprint properly. Why? There are a number of reason why sprinting is a must:
- Can be done virtually anywhere in the world
- Requires zero gear
- Consumes minimal time
- Keeps stress hormones low
- Boosts growth and repair hormones
- Promotes muscle-building
- Produces the feel-good runner’s high
Best of all, sprinting is a functional exercise that translates to a greater overall quality of life. Unlike most forms of exercise, great results come from performing sprinting workouts only once or twice per week.”
Nick Urban – Outliyr
Here is another core strength exercise whereby you use your abdominal muscles to lift the weight of your arms and legs. Called V-ups due to the fact your body looks like a v when exercising, this is great for posture and those with spinal issues.
“One of my favorite essential exercises is abs exercises. My favorite one is called V-ups! Start from a laying down position with hands above the head and legs straight out. Then bring both arms and legs together creating a V shape. (The torso must come off the ground then bring the arms up.) It’s one of my favorites because it hits the lower and upper abs together and if done properly it will increase the heart rate, giving it a cardio effect as well.”
Reggie Chambers – New York Personal Training
The classic pull-up is a tried and trusted exercise much loved by fitness gurus. While pulling your bodyweight might seem simple, this exercise is much harder than it looks. It’s a fantastic upper body workout and one that can easily be performed at home, provided you have a strong enough bar to hold your weight.
“Pull-ups hit the back, biceps, and core, covering a large part of the musculature of the upper body. They are also easy to progress (by wearing a weighted best for example) or regress using bands for assistance. They require one cheap, easy-to-install piece of equipment (a pull-up bar) and can be performed anywhere providing there’s a weight-bearing horizontal bar available. The grip can be varied (overhand, underhand, neutral) to emphasize different muscles making it a very sustainable exercise (i.e. there is always scope to change and improve).”
Joe Johnson – 9 to 5 Nutrition
8. Uttanasana (standing forward bend)
Take it from someone with the flexibility of a wooden plank, yoga really does help. While often associated with moms in activewear, yoga is great for those who suffer from sore muscles, mobility issues, and general soreness.
There are dozens of different poses to learn, but one of the most effective is uttanasana. Basically, it’s bending over and touching your toes, which is much hard than it sounds. While you won’t be able to pull this off after a few sessions, once you’ve loosened up your body and come to terms with the basics of yoga, uttanasana is certainly achievable.
“Yoga is fantastic for men, particularly for men who are avid runners or cyclists. Men often suffer from tight hips, hamstrings, and shoulders which can ultimately lead to issues with posture, injury, or weakness.”
“A regular yoga practice is a perfect complement to other sports as yoga offers a full-body workout that creates both strength and flexibility. One particular yoga pose all men should incorporate into their routine is a standing forward bend or Uttanasana.”
“I recommend this pose in particular because it increases flexibility in the hips, hamstrings, and calves, strengthens the thighs and knees, keeps the spine strong and flexible, reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, relieves tension in the spine, neck, and back, and activates the abdominal muscles. For men to get enormous benefit from one simple yoga pose, the standing forward bend delivers.”
Tina Ward – Yogaward International
See more about - Exercise routines and home workouts for men