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Learn to perform every exercise! The Exercise Guide has exercise photos, details, community tips and reviews to help you reach your fitness goals.

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Newest Exercises
Friday, December 31, 2010
Car Deadlift
Muscle Targeted: Quadriceps
Axle Deadlift
Muscle Targeted: Lower Back
Box Squat with Bands
Muscle Targeted: Quadriceps

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Timeless Exercises

Some exercises never disappear from a proper training protocol. I call them “timeless” because, no matter what new trend enters the workout world, these maneuvers just don’t go out of style. In fact, they are so beneficial that they should always be included in your program, no matter what your goals are. These exercises target a large amount of muscles at once and help you get the most bang for your buck when you are training. If you have recently had a workout program set up for you and you notice that some of these are not on the list, you need to re-evaluate its validity and make some changes to incorporate these five timeless exercises in it.

Exercise No. 1: The squat

Why it is so effective: Squats are one of the most effective exercises because they work your entire lower body in one moment. This means that you are stimulating a great deal of muscle fibers, which increases testosterone output to help your legs get big, in addition to improving your upper body.

How to perform it: These are a number of ways you can perform this exercise. You can either place a barbell across your back or use a squat rack. I you don’t have a spotter or are lifting a heavy weight, a squat rack is probably your safest bet. Once you have found your balance, slowly bend at the knees, ensuring they are moving directly over your toes. Lower until you are at 90 degrees or less with your knees and then, using your glute and quad muscles, rise back up to the starting point.

Exercise No. 2: The bench press

Why it is so effective: The bench press is a great exercise because it is a compound movement. This means that you will be working different muscles at once, therefore, cutting down the amount of isolation work you have to do. This exercise targets the pectoral muscle, along with your triceps and even your biceps to some extent. These are many variations of this exercise, which will ensure that you do not become bored or start to plateau. You can try a flat press, an incline press, a decline press, a narrow press and a wide grip press – all are beneficial. Each will target the muscle from a slightly different angle thus providing enough of a different stimulus to further produce results.

How to perform it: Lay flat against a bench press machine. Adjust the seat beforehand if you are doing an incline or decline press. Get a comfortable, firm grip on the bar slowly raise it until it is directly above your chest. Next, slowly lower it until it is about one or two inches from your body. Hold for a second and then raise it again. Do not forget to breathe in as you bring the weight down and exhale as you push it up.

Exercise No. 3: The stiff-legged deadlift

Why it is so effective: Deadlifts are a timeless exercise because they improve your balance and strengthen the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles. This exercise also forms the basis of the major of the major power lifting movements, so any guy looking to train for the power lifting sport should pay particular attention to this maneuver. Once you are able to execute it effectively, you can perform such lifts as the “clean and jerk” and “snatch” more efficiently.

How to perform it: To carry out this exercise, place a barbell directly in front of your feet. Bend at the waist and grasp the barbell, keeping your knees slightly bent. Even though this is called the “stiff legged” lift, you should never lock or hyperextend your knees, which will place too much stress on the joints. Next, focusing on your hamstring muscles, rise into a standing position, making sure the barbell moves up along your legs. After you are upright, lower the barbell back to the floor to complete one rep.

Exercise no. 4: Military press

Why it is so effective: The military press is a fantastic lift because it works all the heads of the shoulder muscles at once. Each shoulder has anterior, medial and posterior component. While this exercise primarily targets the anterior deltoid, the other two will still be utilized. This exercise also targets your abs, because you need to maintain strong abdominal core muscles in order to prevent your back from swaying and moving out of alignment. These are also a few variations on this exercise, including different hand positions when using dumbbells, and in front of the neck or behind the neck presses when you’re using a barbell.

How to perform it: To perform a military press, get a firm grip on the dumbbells or barbell, whichever you choose to use. Then, keeping your abs tight and back straight, push the weight directly above your head. Pay special attention to ensure that you do not lock elbows at the top. Lower to complete one rep.

Exercise No. 5: The Plank

Why it is so effective: This is a very effective core strengthener, because it will call every core muscle fiber into play while working your static strength at the same time. Static strength is defined as the use of force that does not require movement, such as holding something in one place. It is opposite to dynamic strength, which is demonstrated in most typical weight lifting exercises.

How to perform it: To perform this exercise lay on your stomach. Then, bending at the elbows, place your forearms on the ground, lifting your stomach of the floor while balancing on the balls of your feet and your forearms. Your body should resemble a table. Hold this position for as long as you can, or up to 2 minutes. To increase the difficulty of the action, try lifting one arm off the ground as well as the opposite leg. Another alternative is to place either your feet or your arms on an exercise ball. This is particularly challenging because now you must maintain stability of your body and the ball.