6 Exercises You Can't Live Without

Whether you are an athlete in sport or an athlete in life, there are certain movements you should make a part of your training regime. Each of these exercises have specific benefits for overall strength, maintenance of health, and performance.

The older we get (whether we are playing a sport or not), the more important it is for us to maintain strength in our bodies to fight disease, boost our immune systems, and avoid injury. By incorporating each of these exercises into your training schedule at some point during the week will ensure a balanced plan is in place to keep you feeling strong, healthy and resilient.

These exercises can also be done together as a full body circuit, or broken up separately throughout the week paired with other exercises. To build a solid foundation of strength, aim to hit 8-12 repetitions for three sets.

(1) Squat

  • Builds strength in the lower body
  • Builds core strength and stability
  • Assists with ankle mobility (this will help increase your ROM)
  • Many different variations that focus on slightly different aspects of the movement

Front Squat

• More core engagement in a front-loaded position which transfers beautifully to explosive exercises like a power clean

Back Squat

• Generally easier to load more weight to increase strength

Single Leg Squat

• Focus on tracking knee over toes and stabilizer muscles of the foot and ankle

Split Squat

• Focusing on unilateral strength in each leg

(2) Push-up

  • Builds strength in upper body
  • Great for shoulder and core stability
  • Excellent way to build bodyweight strength
  • Many different regressions and progressions to fit capabilities

Incline Push-up

• Hands at an incline to alleviate some of the pressure put on shoulders - great for helping get full ROM

Decline Push-up

• Feet are at incline increasing tension on shoulders and core - great to progress from a regular push-up

Diamond Push-up

• Place hands in a diamond position and keep elbows tucked to ribs to increase tricep engagement

Uneven/ MB Push-up

• Allows limbs to work more independently of each other and increases challenge

(3) Plank

  • The Godfather of all core exercises
  • Increase strength and trunk stability
  • An iso-metric exercise to increase time under tension
  • Helps improve posture and balance

(4) Row

  • Strengthens back
  • Improves posture
  • Compliments imbalances as many of us are anterior-dominant, meaning were stronger with our push than we are with our pull
  • Overall upper body strength

(5) Romanian Deadlift 

  • Strengthens lower body, primarily hamstrings and glutes which help with imbalances for some athletes who are quad-dominant
  • Helps strengthen posture - maintaining neutral spine as you hinge
  • Hinging mechanics are incredibly important and transfer to other movements

(6) Glute Bridge

  • A basic glute activator that helps fire up the muscles used in major lower body lifts like squats and RDL's
  • A great warm-up exercise or accessory exercise to pair with squats - muscle memory of movement coming out of the hole in a squat

There are obviously many different exercises that will add crucial benefit to your overall strength and health, but these are just my favourites that I use as the foundation for a lot of my programming. Feel free to change each up with variation to add progression and further challenge.

Comment below with your favourite exercises and how they help you become the best athlete you can be!