Tip: There Are No Best Exercises

Nope, not even the one you're thinking about right now. Here's why.

The "Best" Exercises

There aren't any. Granted, for any given individual, there are a handful of "best" exercises for each muscle group. However, there are at least two problems with the "best" classification:

1 – What's "best" varies tremendously for each individual lifter.

Some people get a crazy lat pump from various types of rows. Me? I only feel my lats with vertical pulling exercises (pull-ups, etc.).

If you have a pronounced forward lean when you squat, squatting isn't going to be an effective quad-builder for you. However, if you're willing to overcome your prejudices and opt for hack squats or even Smith machine squats, you'll finally light up those quads. You can still squat of course, but it's probably just a good posterior chain drill for you.

2 – What's "best" is a constantly moving target.

Due to a phenomenon known as adaptive resistance, the more familiar you are with a specific exercise, the less your body will grow from it. Why? Because it's long-since figured out that particular problem. So, in a very real sense, the best exercises are the ones you're not doing.

Bottom line: Progress does not hinge upon "magic" exercises, because there are none.

Charles Staley is an accomplished strength coach who specializes in helping older athletes reclaim their physicality and vitality. At age 56, Charles is leaner than ever, injury free, and in his lifetime best shape. His PRs include a 400-pound squat, 510-pound deadlift, and a 17 chin-up max. Follow Charles Staley on Facebook