Best Exercises: Muscle by Muscle


When it comes time to training, we each have our favorite exercises. You know, you walk into the gym and you’re just like “Yes, I get to do  _​_​_​_​ today!” However, are your favorite exercises the best exercises for you? Are you getting the results you’re looking for with those exercises? I breakdown a bunch of exercises that are not only beneficial for your body, but are also not the same boring stuff you did the last week.  Check out some of my favorite exercises, muscle by muscle, that produce results!

Legs: Bulgarian Split Squats

Whether you’re running, hiking up a mountain, or going throughout your day you require single leg stability and strength. This exercise is quite challenging as it stretches the rear hip flexor, while absolutely crushing that front leg. I make this exercise look easy, so make sure you start with little to no weight in your hands. Also, we tend to see a lot of cheating in this exercise. The best way to keep yourself honest is to put a mat next to the bench. Make it a goal every rep to touch your back knee to that mat. Yeah I know, it’s a doozy. Check out a demonstration video here:


Chest: TRX/​Ring  Chest Press

Most likely, most of you have a goal of increasing your pressing ability. This may be in a push-​​up test, to improve your bench press, or to just be better at pressing heavy crap! The TRX Chest Press is a great exercises that can be modified quite a bit for your abilities. The further you put your feet away from your body, the more challenging the exercise becomes. Eventually, you can get quite strong by elevating your feet on a bench or a box. The other added benefit of the TRX Chest Press is the instability of the exercise. By having your hands openly suspended you not only work on great core strength, but shoulder and scapular stability, important components for upper body health.

If you’re doing a TRX Chest Press for the first time, try it like this:

Once you get strong enough, you can elevate your feet on a bench like one of our interns Sam confidently demonstrates:


Back: Sled Rows

When it comes time to training the back, most people think of dumbbell and barbell rows, or the oh so boring latpulldown. Those can be great exercises, but I love doing sled rows. Not only do they light up the back, but they also hit the core, biceps, and legs. Plus, who doesn’t want to pull a couple hundred pounds down a turf? Talk about badass. If you don’t have a sled, not a problem. Grab a rope and an old tire. You want to make sure you walk back so the tension on the straps (we use TRX Straps most of the time, but ropes work too) are tight, squat down, and pull your arms into your rib cage, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Check out one of my coaches perfecting a 300lb Sled Row:

Shoulders: Half Kneeling Landmine Press

The shoulder is a complicated joint. It’s kind of the like calculus in math; you have a ton of shit going on and most people don’t have a clue about any of it. When doing shoulder pressing I prefer to do neutral grip pressing. Neutral grip means the palm is turned in, facing your body. This keeps the humerus (upper arm) in a healthy position within the socket. The Half Kneeling Landmine Press keeps your shoulder in that healthy position, plus has a lot of added benefits. In addition to training the shoulder, you should be bracing your butt so you get some glute activation, and working on some anti lateral flexion core training. This exercise is what I would call a bang for your buck! John is back with another stellar demonstration.

Well that’s all folks. Remember, each individual should be assessed individually before beginning any strength training program. There are always going to be exercises that will benefit you that you simply don’t like to do. However, fitness is fun so you want to pick some exercises you like doing! Give these a try, and let me know what you think.

But wait Doug, what about my arms? Oh, and how can I get that core stronger?

Good question. I’ll be back in a few days with Part II to hammer your arms, and give you that strong core you have always been looking for.

If you’re interested in more articles, tips, videos, and more please head over to my Facebook Page. I post something there on the daily!

Thanks guys!







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Doug Spurling

Doug is President of Spurling Training Systems, located in Kennebunk, Maine. He graduated from University of New England with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Exercise Science. He has several years of experience as both a personal trainer for general fitness and a strength and conditioning coach for athletes. His certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) include Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer (CPT).

Doug began his fitness experience as a personal trainer at a private fitness facility while in college. While there, he worked with everything from absolute beginners to elite athletes, elderly and pre-teen populations and everything in between. After college, Doug worked closely with top Division I schools, developing strength and conditioning programs for their athletes. He continues to work with University of New England, assisting in undergraduate courses as well as training the varsity athletes.

Doug also authors his own online blog where he shares his knowledge of and passion for fitness, sports, and nutrition. You can find more about him, Spurling Training Systems, his blog, subscribe to his newsletter, and get his free ebook by heading over to his website.