Want to Maximize Your Results? This is What You Need (Part II)

Earlier in the week I started off this series with a post on using music to getting the right mindset for your training session. So, are you still listening to John Mayer (or techno music about abducting little boys) like my friend Tony Gentilcore? Or did you put on the, “Ruff Rider’s Anthem,” and hit a PR?

Today, I want to talk to you about getting the most out of your time with the best bang for your buck exercises out there… Wait, should I explain the picture first??? That my friends, is Summer Glau from the TV show, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” that ended WAY before it’s time (damn writers strike…). She is in this post for two reasons.

1. She is smoking hot

2. See 1.

OK. NOW, we can get to the post.

Let’s return to the idea of “Bang for Your Buck Exercises.” Personally, when I am reviewing other coaches/trainers/fitness enthusiasts program, I judge the program based on how much bullshit is in there. For example: calf raises, most everything done on a machine (leg presses, leg curls, circuit training), anything Tracy Anderson says, and anything that does not get you closer to your main goal (fat loss, hypertrophy, strength). That last one (anything that does not get the person towards their main goal) is the toughest one to judge.

There are a handful of exercises I put into just about every program I write, no matter the goal. I consider these to be the all around best exercises we have in our arsenal to maximize results.

The exercises included in this post will share a few characteristics:

  • Multijoint Exercises
  • Easy to Regress and Progress
  • Require Core Activation
  • Look Bad-ass

The Upper Body Trifecta

1. Chin Ups

This includes all variates (supinated, pronated, neutral, towel). There are very few people that can not due some form of chin up even with preexisting shoulder/scap issues. It is the best exercise for increasing upper body strength and increasing lean mass (if that is your goal).

If you can not preform five bodyweight, supinated chin ups, you can make use of a superband to give you some counter resistance. Another way to work on your chin up ability is to get an Iron Gym Pull Up bar and knock out a few every hour or two while you are around the house. Trust me, it is a great product:


When you become a bit more advanced, give towel chin ups a shot. With the towel chin up you direct your attention towards grip strength:


2. Push Ups

Pretty obvious, no? Push ups are the Olivia Wilde of exercises, pretty much everyone agrees (both men and women) that they (she) are sexy as hell.

(Yep, that is back to back blogs where I worked her in. Feel free to high five me on the street)

Benefits? How about shoulder health, scapular stability, core stability, the list goes on… Again, this is an exercise just about every person on the planet can do, and it is easy to regress and progress. You can start an untrained individual on an incline or progress to throwing some chains on your back for some serious loading. Here are a few ideas if you want to spice up your push ups:





3. Inverted Row

Really, this should be #1 on the list, but I wanted there to be plenty of room for variations and explanation. Again, we have some great secondary actions with the inverted row:

  • Glute Activation
  • Core Stability
  • A Bitchin’ Eccentric Movement

The best piece of equipment to perform the inverted row is the TRX, although you can use a barbell in a squat rack or a smith machine (if no dudes are doing 600lb 1/4 squats in there…).

You are most likely already doing some sort of inverted row, but here are some other options:



Alright folks, check back in next week for the Lower Body Trifecta. Hint: It does not include deadlifts where you smash your face on a dumbbell rack:


Do you have your own go to lifts for the upper body? Share them in the comments.

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2 Responses

  1. Andy says:

    Great choices, agree with all of them. I’ve stopped a lot of actual weight lifting due to back issues but do all these bodyweights moves and I’m loving them.

  2. Joe Finn says:

    That deadlift fail was hilarious. Didn’t see that coming.

    I have just got a resistance tube set. I’m going to try to work that inverted row technique in somehow. I do all my training at home (in the house or garden) so it’s always a matter of being inventive with the things I do.

    You can do so much with a few simple pieces of equipment.