Top 7 Weightlifting Exercises for Overall Strength and Fitness Development

In the past, fitness knowledge was hard to come by; now, there are so many sources of fitness information out there ( magazines, websites, books, tv shows, etc). This would seem to be a blessing, however the overabundance of information has proven to be a curse to many. There are many contradicting sources of information, and many workout hard according to what they are told will work, only to not get any results and quit due to frustration. They think “why work so hard if I’m not going to get anywhere?” or “I’m just not meant to be fit.” An effective workout does not need to be long or overly complex.

Here are my picks for the most effective and time efficient weightlifting exercises. Several generations of fitness enthusiasts have used this exercises to reach their goals.

Squat: Known to many as the king of all weightlifting exercises. Most think it only works out the legs, but it is a total body exercise. The whole body grows stronger with squatting. Since the bar is held high up on the body (the upper back for back squats, top front of shoulders for front squats) the entire body is worked out. The muscles of the upper body and core have to stabilize the weight throughout the exercise while the legs are working to handle the movement.

Deadlift: This works almost all of the muscles in the body. The only ones not worked are the pressing muscles (chest, triceps, and part of the deltoids). The back and legs are especially strengthened. If you size and strength are your goals, lift as heavy weight as possible and you will grow brutally strong.

Bench Press: Seen by many as the truest test of upper body strength. The chest, triceps, and shoulders handle the majority of the work, but this lift requires the whole body to work correctly. You feet must be firmly planted on the floor-never bring your feet off the ground, despite what you’ve at the gym, and your back and core must support the movement as well.

Press aka Overhead Press: Before the bench press was seen as the ultimate test of upper body strength the Press (overhead press) was seen as the truest test of strength. With no bench to support you, your entire body has to work to support the weight, while the shoulders and triceps press the weight overhead.

Bent over Rows: Works out the exact opposite muscles used in the bench press. This exercise will help ensure even muscular development and help keep your posture aligned. If the muscles of the chest and front of shoulders are too strong, they can pull on the arms forwards creating a hunch over look. Strengthening the back evenly with the chest will avoid this.

Pullup /Chinup: One of the most effective bodyweight exercises. It will develop most of the muscles of the back, the biceps (especially during the chinup), forearm, and grip strength. Once you can do ten, start adding weight with a dip belt or by holding a dumbbell between the feet. FYI Pullup palms face away from you, Chinup palms face you

Dips: Describe by some as the upper equivalent to the squat, this exercise works out the chest, shoulders, lats, and triceps. Once you can do ten or more easily, you can add weight with a dip belt to increase strength and size development. This variation will allow you to get benefits similar to the bench press safely when you do not have a spotter available.