6 Exercises To Change Your Life

6 Exercises To Change Your Life

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exercises for everyone

You’ve seen a lot of talk about what moves will bring you the best results.

 Forget it all. These six moves will transform your body into the dream physique you’ve always wanted.

Exercise really does change lives. How? Aside from reclaiming your health and fitness and rebuilding your body, exercise helps you on all levels of your health. It also reshapes your life into a better version of what it was before.

There are a handful of exercises that will challenge individuals mentally and physically more than others. When those certain exercises are conquered, the individual learns to love that exercise, and, you guessed it, that exercise becomes life changing.

Here Are Six Moves That Are Sure to Change Your Life in No Time.

  1. Back Squat

Depending on who you ask, the back squat is arguably the best exercise when it comes to adding size and strength. This exercise is seen at all levels of fitness and is a part of any solid workout. The target muscles are primarily the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, upper posterior muscles and the abdominals.

How Do I Do The Back Squat?

Approach the rack and bar with a wide stance just past shoulder width, with toes pointed slightly out. Assume a neutral extension of your spine and puff your chest out as you take a big breath in and tighten your abdominal wall.

Step back slowly and get comfortable for the descent. As you descend, drive your hips back, and keep your chin and eyes up. Remember to retain a tight abdominal wall. Once you hit the bottom position, drive up through the heels while staying tight. Focus on driving the hips forward to the standing position.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

When performing the back squat, the intensity level primarily depends on your goals. If you want general squat performance to do the exercise, performing around 50% of your max effort is ideal. If you want to become stronger, you should be doing 50 to 100%. Ideally, you do not want to do 100% effort each week. When performing the back squat, leaving some energy in the tank is often recommended.

Tips For All Beginners

Don’t rush this exercise. Take your time by getting the form down. If you can’t get your thighs parallel to the floor, practice with no weight or use a box that you can squat down to. This will help with confidence in performing the exercise. Beyond that, you should ask for help. If possible, ask a coach or trainer to critique your form.

What Should I Avoid Doing?

Do not squat in the rack with no safety bars. Some people do, however, they are typically highly trained lifters that know how to bail on a squat.

Don’t set the racked position up too high. Unracking and racking the bar can be very difficult and dangerous if the racked position is too high. Going too heavy, too fast, will increase the likelihood of injury so go slow and steady.

How Do I Program The Back Squat Into My Routine?

After your warm-up, this exercise should be the first or second workout you do. This will allow you to recruit most of your motor units for the hardest and most important exercise. More motor unit recruitment will allow for greater strength and hypertrophy potential.

More Exercises For The Beginning of a Workout…

  1. Power Cleans

Very similar to the back squat in terms of intensity, this exercise will help you develop full body strength and power. Having a strong, powerful body will allow you to move more weight in any exercise.

If you become successful in performing heavy power cleans, your potential at becoming an athlete is tremendously increased. Power cleans are important because they help athletes become faster, stronger and more powerful. The target muscles for this move are primarily the hip extensors, glutes, abdominals, upper posterior muscles and shoulders.

How Do I Do The Power Clean?

Step up to a barbell, squat down and get tight. With the chin slightly up in extension, grip the bar tight and drive up through your heels on the pull. Once the bar gets past the knees, explode the hips forward and drive the elbows up like you are doing a high pull exercise.

While dropping down to the squat position, catch the bar in a front rack squat position by shooting the elbows forward. Once the bar is caught, stand up just as you would in a front squat. Drop the weight in front of you and relax.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

Let’s be real, the power clean is going to be an intense exercise regardless of the weight being lifted. If you are performing the lift with a lighter load, your focus should be on perfecting your form. More focus will turn into a more intense workout.

Tips For All Beginners

If you have to lift with metal plates, don’t max out. Also, set up the power rack hook in the squat rack position. That way, if you have to do power cleans with metal plates, you can rack the heavy loads from the front squat position.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure on this lift will happen and that will keep you hungry for successful lifts at heavier loads.

What Should I Avoid Doing?

Do not perform this lift with metal plates and allow them to slam on the ground. If you are a beginner, just like any exercise, make sure you are not rushing into the lift. What that means is that you should not go up in weight too fast or add weight before you perfect your form.

Another thing to remember is you shouldn’t be performing this lift in an area where you don’t have enough room.

How Do I Program the Power Clean Into My Routine?

Like squats, power cleans should be done at the beginning of the workout. Since this exercise takes a lot of practice, concentration and power, you’ll want to do this exercise when you are fresh.

bench exercises

  1. Bench Press

This is a life changer for almost any male who starts weightlifting at a young age. If you are someone who just started the weightlifting journey and want to see results quickly, take on the bench press for a few weeks. Beginners can see their bench press go up 20 to 30 pounds in just a few short weeks.

This is a great way to keep individuals in the weight room. The target muscles for this move are primarily the pectorals (major and minor), triceps, deltoids (front) and latissimus dorsi.

How Do I Do The Bench Press?

Lie down on a flat bench press and line your eyes up underneath the barbell racked above you. Grasp the barbell with a close grip that is just about 3 inches past shoulder width. Pull your body up so you can keep your shoulder blades back and tight.

While staying tight, inhale as you lift the bar off the rack and line the bar up in the middle of your chest. Control the weight down to your sternum while keeping your arm to torso angle. Without bouncing the bar, pause quickly and then drive up with a very slight angle back towards your start position.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

The intensity of the bench press can vary greatly. This exercise is used mostly for strength development and hypertrophy.

If you want to build strength, keep the reps lower with higher weight. When it comes to hypertrophy, use a lighter weight (40 to 85%) and perform the max amount of reps possible.

Tips For All Beginners

When it comes to the bench press, you want to make sure you’re having someone spot you. Since this exercise is levered by the arms, it might be a very shaky experience for people who are just starting out. Have someone help you un-rack and re-rack the barbell for each set.

What Should I Avoid Doing?

The bench press can sometimes be an ego exercise.

Guys, in particular, always want to do more than the other. Leave your ego at the door and be intelligent with how you perform the lift. Bouncing off the chest isn’t a rep—it’s a cheat. 

How Do I Program the Bench Press Into My Routine?

This exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be at the start of a workout. However, if you want to find your max on any given day, just like the other exercises, this exercise should be done at the beginning of your workout. Make sure you properly warm up your whole body, not just your chest and arms. Proper warm-up preparation in the posterior muscles and shoulders is crucial for this exercise.

What Exercises Can Change Overall Strength?

  1. Deadlift

This exercise is something that doesn’t get brought up much in a commercial gym. The deadlift has a reputation for being too dangerous, which is far from true. Whether this exercise is implemented into your training early or late in life, you’ll change your overall strength and muscle mass.

The target muscles for this move are primarily the hip extensors, posterior back muscles (latissimus dorsi, rhomboids), hamstrings and abdominals.

How Do I Do The Deadlift?

Approach the bar with a conventional or sumo stance. Once your feet are set, retract your shoulder blades and get them in your back pocket. Drop down to the bar with a mixed hand grip (one hand over and one hand under) for greater overall force production. Get tight before pulling by exhaling and set your eyes about 15 feet out in front of you. As you pull past the knees, drive your hips forward until you start to lockout at the top.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

The deadlift is going to be intense, no matter the load. When performing the exercise with a lighter weight, you must focus on form and power. Jerking the back and barbell to increase intensity should not be the way you perform this exercise.

Tips For All Beginners

Utilize a coach or workout partner to help you with form on this exercise. The deadlift is the one exercise that is claimed to be bad for you. Without proper form while pulling heavy weight, you might injure yourself. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you ask for assistance when you are a beginner. Even world-class weightlifters have a coach to help them!

What Should I Avoid Doing?

When thinking of the deadlift and things not to do, arching of the back instantly comes to mind.

Having too much arch in your spine under heavy loads can cause a vertebral disc to slip, which will definitely result in intense pain.

How Do I Program the Deadlift Into My Routine?

You are probably starting to see a trend with these exercises so far. Just like previous exercises mentioned, this exercise should also be done at the beginning of the workout. This is due to the heavy loads and mental focus you must have under the stress of this exercise.

Do make sure you are adequately warmed up before getting into your progressive or working sets.

 

  1. Goblet Squat

Similar to the back squat, this exercise targets every major muscle group when performed correctly. Whether you want to get stronger, build muscle or lose body fat, the goblet squat will help! The target muscles for this move are the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, upper posterior muscles and the abdominals.

How Do I Do The Goblet Squat?

Grasp a dumbbell by the head and hold it close to your chest. Widen your feet to just past shoulder width, with toes pointed slightly out. Puff your chest out by taking a big breath in and tightening your abdominal wall.

As you descend, drive your hips back and keep your chin and eyes up. Once you hit the bottom position, drive through the heels while staying tight. Focus on driving the hips forward to the standing position.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

The goblet squats are not as intense as the back squats. This is why this exercise is known as an accessory exercise that you can perform for a higher number of repetitions. But don’t let this exercise fool you. It is great for overall strength development too.

What Exercises Are Best For Beginners?

This is a perfect exercise for beginners. Before taking action into barbell back or front squats, the goblet squat should be performed in the first few workouts in order to see how you perform the squat movement pattern.

If a beginner can perfect this exercise, he or she can move onto the back squat and make life-changing gains in strength and size.  

What Should I Avoid Doing?

This exercise shouldn’t be done on a Bosu ball or balance ball. It may be hard to believe, but there are actually some people out there that do this and injury is the eventual result. Also, don’t be using too heavy of a dumbbell. Since this is an anterior loaded exercise, it is easy to round the back if the weight becomes too heavy.

How Do I Program the Goblet Squat Into My Routine?

This exercise can be done anywhere in a workout. The goblet squat is great for warm-ups and accessory movements in a workout. Sets and repetitions can be anywhere from 2 to 5 sets of 6 to 20 repetitions.

kettlebell exercises

  1. Kettlebell Swings

This exercise has been around for a very long time. However, this one has recently gained popularity. The kettlebell swings allow you to work towards a killer back and set of glutes.

Having a great posterior chain is equally, if not more important than the anterior muscle groups. Kettlebell swings are fantastic for developing hip power, in and out of the gym. The target muscles for this move are the hip extensors, posterior back muscles, hamstrings and abdominals.

How Do I Do Kettlebell Swings?

Stand with a squat-like position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and your toes pointed out 45 degrees. Start in the downward position with your kettlebell lined up with your heels.

Grasp the kettlebell with a firm two-handed grip. As you come up, keep your neck in a neutral position. Start to pull up by driving your hips forward and squeezing your glutes. Pull to chin level and descend back to the starting position.

These Are Your Intensity Tips

When it comes to the intensity of this exercise, it will more than likely be an exercise that will get your heart rate up and force you to breathe heavily. This exercise is a great accessory exercise for any workout program. Aim for at least 10 repetitions on this exercise.

Tips For All Beginners

Form is key with this exercise. This exercise targets the glutes. For most people that don’t know how to properly activate their glutes, this will help get that mind to muscle motor unit recruitment down in a short amount of time.

What Should I Avoid Doing?

Don’t perform this exercise as you would a primary movement. This movement pattern is mainly for improvements in your hips. Also, don’t overextend your spine. Hit the neutral spine position and descend back to the start of the movement.

How Do I Program the Kettlebell Swings Into My Routine?

The great thing about kettlebell swings is that it can be programmed as warm-ups, accessory exercises, muscular exhaustion or even cardio.

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Conclusion

If you can get these six moves in your workout, you’re going to see all the results you always wanted.

In fact, if you really hit these moves hard, you might just change your life in the process. Just remember to keep proper form and not to rush through the process of building up strength. Do the work and results will follow!

 

– Patrick Thompson, NSCA-CPT

 

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Terry

Gym Junkies Founder & Editor in Chief at Gym Junkies LLC
I’m Terry and I’m here to help you achieve your fitness goals. I truly believe anyone can achieve the figure they want with the proper guidance. Through my extensive fitness blog, top fitness videos, leading workout supplements, and top selling eBooks, I have been able to help thousands of people online lose weight, tone up and get in shape. My passion is helping people all around the world change their lives for the better.
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