Difficult basic exercises
Difficult basic exercises should be the foundation of effective strength training. These exercises should be part of your training plan, no matter what your goal is. Especially if you want to build muscle effectively, you cannot avoid these exercises.
But why is that? What are the basic exercises and what makes them so special? And are these hard core exercises really better than other types of exercises like isolation exercises?
In this article, I want to answer these and other questions about the effective use of basic exercises in strength training. You will find out by the way:
If you are particularly interested in a topic, you can jump to the relevant section with one click. However, I recommend that you take five minutes and read the entire article.
What are basic exercises?
As the name suggests, basic exercises are the foundation for effective strength training. It is also likely that these exercises are very original in nature. They are a reason, a good foundation on which you can build your learning.
Difficult basic exercises always involve multiple joints and use different muscle groups. They also talk about kinetic chains or muscle chains that must interact. They are usually done with free weights or with your own body weight.
With these exercises, large parts of the body are trained at the same time. This allows you to train the most important muscles at once with several exercises. This allows you to set a good workout foundation with just a few exercises.
Of course, this also makes the basic exercises very stressful and demanding. For this reason, many people avoid doing many of them in a row. However, it has some benefits that you shouldn’t miss. I want to go into details.
Why hard core exercises are included in your workout plan
Basic exercises are a good foundation for an effective training plan. There are actually several good reasons for this, as these exercises have many benefits. I would like to briefly present the most important from my point of view:
Learning the entire system instead of individual parts
Due to the involvement of many different body structures, complex basic exercises are especially beneficial for blood circulation and oxygen, as well as for providing nutrients to these body structures. The entire cardiovascular system experiences significantly more problems and therefore trains effectively than in the case of individual exercises. These are decisive arguments in terms of both performance and health-oriented fitness training.
Maximum transfer potential
In general, basic exercises also contribute to better athletics due to their complex structure of movements. Due to complex movements, intermuscular coordination (interaction of different muscles) is especially developed. You train the individual parts of your body to work together and act as one.
As a result, they are superior to isolated strength training in terms of their functionality and therefore their suitability for everyday use. It also leads to good tolerance to other sports. Therefore, anyone doing strength training in addition to another sport must rely on complex basic exercises.
More growth hormones, faster progress
When it comes to muscle growth and strength gains, complex basic exercises also have a decisive advantage: Growth hormones are released in significantly higher amounts than in other exercises, due to the higher load. These growth hormones act not only locally, but throughout the body. Basically, you can create a very effective training plan for your strength training with just basic exercises.
Less time spent on training
Basic exercise can save you a lot of time and I know many people find it difficult to find enough time to exercise. Fortunately, difficult basic exercises are extremely time efficient. With a few exercises, you can train most of your muscles and trigger growth impulses. Especially if you want to train all of your muscles in a full body workout in one day, you should base your training plan on core exercises. An effective full body workout without basic exercises will take a long time.
Ideal for structure and diet
By the way, basic exercises are not only extremely suitable for your muscle training in the mass phase. You can and should use them wisely in your diet. Strong growth impulses help maintain muscle in the diet, and the calorie intake of these exercises is particularly high. Of course, if you use a lot of muscle, you burn a lot of calories.
In my opinion, these are the most important benefits of basic exercises. I hope I was able to convince you that hard basic exercises should also be a central part of your training plan. The only question now is which exercises are best for this.
What are the main exercises? My best basic exercises
Basically, there are many basic exercises that follow the definition above. In my opinion, some of them are more, others are less useful. Therefore, I would like to present to you my main core exercises. Except for one, they are all based on the classic barbell workout.
These are the six most important core exercises I shouldn’t miss on any workout plan:
The following short descriptions also contain some tips for correct execution, but do not serve as detailed instructions for the exercises. I have linked a longer article on exercise. If you are unsure, it is best to find a good (!) Coach who can watch your performance and give you feedback.
A damn good book that explains in detail the most important barbell exercises: Starting Strength: An Introduction to Barbell Workout by Mark Rippeto *. I can recommend reading this to anyone seriously looking to do strength training.
Main Exercise 1: Squats
Squats are classic leg exercises. It is unlikely that any training plan will be implemented without a variant of this exercise. There is good reason for this, after all, all the relevant leg and mid-body muscle groups are used in the squat.
Very important: the knees point in the same direction as your feet during the full motion, and the heels remain on the floor as if glued.
I recommend the classic high bar squat to everyone (at least for a start). In this version, the bar is located on the upper trapezius muscle (above the shoulders).
For more information about the meaning and correct execution, I wrote in the article Doing Squats Correctly.
Core Exercise 2: Deadlift
Deadlift is probably the best exercise for the lower back. All leg muscles are also activated during the deadlift. In pure execution, the full movement of the trunk muscles is energized and keeps the back straight.
There are some things you can do wrong with the deadlift, so I can recommend that everyone only do the exercise lightly until they master the correct process. Then the weight should only be increased to such an extent that the sequence of movements is still clean. It is best to check with your training partner regularly.
Deadlifts means deadlift in English. This is because the weight is lifted from the hard. If done correctly, the weight is always reduced for a short time. When lifting, the torso should again be under maximum tension. Under no circumstances should you work with impulse!
For more information on the meaning and correct execution, I wrote an additional article on the most important rules for correct deadlift technique.
Core Exercise 3: Bench Press
The bench press is probably the most popular strength training in the gym. Not surprisingly, the entire front of the upper body is effectively trained here. If you want strong pecs, shoulders, and strong triceps, you have this exercise in your plan.
In addition, without an ordinary bench press, you would not have an adequate answer to the question common among athletes: “Why are you pushing like that?”
At the same time, this exercise is the most incorrect, which can lead to complaints, especially in the shoulder and elbow area. If you want a proper bench press, there are a few rules to follow. The most important, in my opinion, are the following:
- Always put your feet down
- Keep your ass on the bench throughout the movement
- Bring the shoulder blades together and secure them to the bench
- Don’t go too far (arms about 40-60 ° to the upper body)
- forearms move at right angles to the bar and floor
Core Exercise 4: Chin-ups
With pull-ups, weighted exercise also made the list. These exercises or bodyweight workouts should not be underestimated. For this reason, the blog also has a separate article on basic bodyweight training exercises.
Classic under back exercises are ALWAYS part of my training plan. For the lats, the large back muscles, there is hardly a better and at the same time functional exercise. Even though I prefer exercise with weights because of the easier ways to increase them, I do not do this exercise.
There are different options for pulling up. Everyone has a different focus. The best way to get to know the widest cleat is with the classic pull-up element with a slightly wider grip (palm forward). When you pull up, you lift your chest towards the bar.
Core Exercise 5: Rowing
If this is a barbell drill that you can use to effectively train your entire back, there is no way around classic barbell rowing. If I had to choose an exercise for a healthy back, I would go barbell.
This exercise is especially recommended for people who work a lot while sitting at a computer. The posture and movement of barbell rowing effectively counteracts the misalignment that is commonly found on the PC. In doing so, it prevents the effects of posture on the PC and at the same time improves posture when working on a computer and in general posture.
It is best if you hold the barbell about shoulder-width apart under the grip, with your feet just above hip-width and your legs slightly bent and your upper body tilted about 45 degrees forward. The lower back is fully tense. From this position, you pull the weight along your hips, elbows along your body to your stomach. Make sure the traction is clean when lifting weights off the floor.
Basic Exercise 6: Pressing the Shoulder
The shoulder press has somewhat overshadowed the bench press in recent years. This exercise is a little more difficult and functional. This is probably mainly because the bench press can move more weight. Plus, strong breasts are just a priority for many strength athletes. However, shoulder pressure should also be part of your upper body workout.
With the correct method of pressing the shoulder, in principle, the entire muscle chain from legs to arms is involved. However, many athletes who have played sports and bodybuilding for a long time experience shoulder problems due to poor performance. So make sure your forearms are vertically under the barbell, or that your elbow is minimal in front of the barbell but not behind it, and that the dumbbell moves up and down in a vertical line. For this to work, your head needs to dodge the bar a little.
In addition to the classic basic exercises, lunges are very common. Various other exercises that follow the definition can also be called core exercises. For example, I still find lunges to be an interesting basic exercise because they bring a lot of functionality.
How often should you do basic exercises in your workout?
In short, I am convinced that you have to do difficult basic exercises with every workout. Even if they’re tedious, they just have so many benefits that you shouldn’t miss them.
It might make sense to combine these with isolation exercises in a split workout. Basically, I would always build a good training plan around such difficult basic exercises as those presented above. It doesn’t matter if it’s a muscle building workout plan, a dietary workout plan, or a plan to improve strength training performance or move to another sport.
It makes sense to start training each large muscle group with a complex basic exercise, and then, if necessary, deplete that particular muscle with isolation exercises. This gives you a good base load and you can prioritize according to your needs.
Even if it makes sense to come up with a new training plan from time to time, you should always include complex basic exercises. There are enough alternative exercises and variations here to have enough variety. Otherwise, you can’t do clean heavy squats throughout your life.
How much weight should you take during the main exercises?
How much weight you should use for training mainly depends on your training goal. You choose the right weight for your core workouts no differently from other exercises. Just take a weight with which you can achieve your desired reps:
- If your focus is on building muscle, you should do 6-15 reps (= hypertrophy workout).
- If you are primarily concerned about increasing strength, try to tire your muscles in 2-5 reps (= maximum strength training).
- If you want to train your strength endurance, it’s best to choose a weight so you can do 15 to 30 reps with it.
Of course, all three areas of study can be intelligently combined in long-term study planning.
You can just try the right weight by trying it, or you can try the weight and then calculate the weight that should be correct.
Another tip: Mostly with difficult basic exercises and especially when used as a maximum strength workout, you should not eat anything at least an hour before strength training. You wouldn’t be the first to relive the last meal of the heavy squat again. I also had to learn this lesson once.
Your summary of the main exercises
Difficult basic exercises should form the backbone of any good training plan. With their many benefits, there is hardly any good reason to ditch them. It doesn’t matter if you build muscle, gain strength, define your muscles, or just get in and stay in shape as efficiently as possible. It always makes sense to do difficult basic exercises on a regular basis.
In principle, even complete, effective strength training can only be done with the most important basic exercises and thus achieve remarkable results. Those who only work with isolation exercises will find it difficult to achieve these results. For this reason, you won’t see ambitious strength athletes or bodybuilders who don’t regularly do these exercises in their plan.
In fact, complex basic exercises have only one drawback – they are not so easy to learn. With a little practice and good instruction, this is not a problem: either you work Starting Strength: Mark Rippeto’s introduction to barbell workout * and regularly check yourself with your training partner, or you are looking for a good Personal Trainer to teach you.
For my Muscle Building Basics, depending on the package, besides some effective workout plans, there is a Basic Exercise Guide in which I will describe the most important basic exercises so that every healthy participant can do them quickly and safely. can be learned So if you are looking to build muscle and are looking for a guide to help you achieve it with minimal effort and workarounds, take a look at this: In my book on the basics of building muscle.
And don’t forget: your health is your health.