A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

If I could only do 3 strength training exercises...




I love a well rounded, full body, strength training workout in the gym. I'd prefer to have about an hour or so to work my whole body. Some of my favorite exercises to do are:

1. Pull Ups
2. Squats
3. Lunges
4. Push ups
5. Inverted Rows
6. Shoulder Press
7. Chest Press
8. Kettle bell swings
9. Planks


If I am designing a full body workout for myself, chances are all of those exercises are included. But often I think about what exercises are the BEST. What if I could only do three exercises in the gym? Which would give me the most bang for my buck and enable me to get the most well rounded workout?

Well, I have picked my Top 3 and they are listed below. As you may have guessed, they are exercises that target more than one muscle. (That means no bicep curls or tricep kick backs!) Remember, these are just the exercises I would pick. I am not saying they are the best exercises out there, they are just the best for me and my goals.



Muscles Used: back, shoulders, arms

Why I like them: If you experiment with different grips,  you can engage 
your shoulders as well as your biceps. Pull ups also use a lot of secondary 
muscles so you don't have to waste your time with isolation exercises.

**Note: Don't be afraid of doing assisted pull ups! 90% of the time, that is what I do. I can only do three unassisted pull ups, which means most of the time I use the assisted pull up machine so I can bang out sets of 10-12.**



Muscles Used: chest, arms, shoulders

Why I like them: No equipment necessary and they engage 
your core muscles. Also, there are many different push up variations.

**Note: Dumb bell chest press would be a very close second choice for me on this one.**



Muscles Used: glutes, hips, legs, abs

Why I like them: Squats target the entire lower body. They
are also just a very basic movement everyone needs to do in their daily life.

**Note: Squats irritate my knee right now, and I seem to deal with kettle bell swings better at this point. Right now, kettle bell swings are a good substitute, and my ass is always sore the day after!**

What would you choose if you could only do 3 strength training exercises?

19 comments:

  1. Bicep curls... Adam makes fun of me because I consider them a staple in my lifting routine BUT I love flexing and being like, "hey, look a beach ball is inflating inside my arm!" :D (It's a small beachball though, haha.)

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    1. lol nothing wrong with bicep curls! That is the only exercise I do in which I can get one of my veins to pop out! Though it could be because I always save it for last so my muscles are pumped by then anyway.... But yeah, I do bicep curls once a week! I usually enjoy them because they are the LAST thing so I know I am soon done. :)

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  2. Thanks for this post Meg! I fee like I know nothing about strength training so this helps, lol. I always see people doing assisted pull ups with a resistance band attached to the bar to keep their foot in. I'm dying to try that, but I'm so scared! Any tips???

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    1. I've never done them with a resistance band because my gym has an assisted pull up machine. BUT I've seen it done. I would say ask a trainer at your gym or someone you see doing it to show you how... but you said you are a little scared (the same way I am when I try something new) so I will give you my timid approach... Go on youtube (youtube has all the answers!!!) and find a video or something that explains how to configure the band. Go to a gym when there is barely anyone there (even if it means rolling up at 5am) and try it out when there aren't a lot of people around. Like I said, that is the timid approach that I generally take haha. But honestly I bet if you went up to someone you saw doing it and flash them your gorgeous smile they would be happy to show you!

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  3. I'm very impressed that you can do 3 unassisted pull-ups! That's so badass to me! If I could choose 3 I would pick squats, planks, and push-ups. There are so many different ways to change those 3 exercises up that I would never get bored!

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    1. It took me a LONG time to be able to do 3 and I am stuck. Will be quite some time before I can bang out more. Better eat some more chicken breast! Planks is a GOOD one, Courtney. You are right, that one can be changed a lot as well.

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  4. I love exercises that don't involve machines because I can do them at home! I'd choose planks and their variations, squats or lunges, and push ups! Although tricep dips come in a close third.

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    1. Good ones! It seems like most of my readers prefer the ones you can do at home.

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  5. I love strength exercises that I don't need a gym for, so that would be pushups, planks and squats/lunges for sure. I really want to do pullups too but don't have a bar at home. Might have to start hitting the gym just for that one. I love your workout tips!

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    1. I would really love an at home pull up bar as well but I have no clue where I would put it! We should get our husbands on that one, stat...

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  6. The ultimate frustration today...I got blocked from your blog today. I tried to comment and got a darn msg. hoping tech guy will ave mercy on me and not block my blogs. I like your choices, I would bench press, kettle bell swing and leg lifts I think. 3 unassisted pull ups is bad ass :) I can't get one but I working on my goal of getting stronger...maybe one day.

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    1. Nooooooo !!!! Tell the tech guy I am a teacher and this is work related blog reading!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    2. I told them I need blog access to stay sane lol It's funny I can get to a few blogs but Hell'y for ex. is till blocked :(

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  7. I have to agree that I like moves I can do at home! No gym membership so anything I can do at home is a great - I really love squats and really need to do them more often!!! :)

    Thank you for your wonderful comment on my blog today. I truly appreciated it!!!

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  8. Definitely squats and push-ups would be on my list - I might even sub out burpees for the push-ups since I get cardio and push-ups then!!!

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    1. ooh burpees with a push up... that's a special kind of torture!!!

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  9. Three unassisted pull-ups seems pretty BA to me! I love that your three exercises are uncomplicated but still work a lot of muscles!

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    1. It's fun to switch things up and do "fancy" exercises, but honestly, the basics are usually the most effective when you get right down to it.

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