It’s easy to walk into a gym like ours and feel completely overwhelmed with a sea of equipment. To be honest, it would even intimidate me if I was seeing it for the first time. As a result, many people are not eager to venture out much. They just use what they know, no matter how little that is. If this sounds like you, it’s time to start working out with more purpose starting with these top 50 gym exercises that are great for any routine.
In my blog, “How to Set an Effective Workout Schedule” I talk about various ways to break up body parts so you can design a workout based on your schedule. In this blog I will be giving you a hit list of exercises you can use in your routine.
BREAKING IT DOWN
First, in this list, I categorize these 50 gym exercises by body part, with the largest muscle groups first. When you are lifting weights, you don’t want to work your small muscle groups before you work your large muscle groups, because your small muscles will be too tired to lift the heavier weight required to work the larger ones. Large muscle groups include chest, back and quads. Small muscle groups typically refer to all your arm muscles or calves.
Next, you’ll notice that in each group of gym exercises, I first list one exercise that doesn’t require equipment (if possible). I also list alternative machines or tools to help you find what works with what you have access to. Please realize, there are SOOOO many more exercises, but these 50+ exercises are the most common – and good for starting a beginner to even advanced routine.
When you are doing a full-body workout, you may only choose 2-3 gym exercises per body part, and only do 2-3 sets of each (depending on your time). If you are working out several times a week, and breaking up body parts more, you may do all the exercises in each specific body group for that day for 3-5 sets to add intensity, and extend the length of your workout.
Lastly, rest time is super important. You can take a very basic workout and majorly boost intensity if you reduce your rest time. We use the GymBoss Interval APP and Timers (set timer at 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off for example). Using a timer boosts intensity and keeps you on track.
So that brings me to reps. You can do 12-15 reps for upper body and 15-20 reps for lower body OR you can use the interval timer to go as hard and fast as possible and not even worry about counting. Just remember, if you could do a few more reps, you likely need to up your weight.
TOP 50 GYM EXERCISES
OK, so here you go! Here are 50 different exercises mentioned below with some tips to help you design your workout schedule. (PS: It’s actually more than 50 exercises, but TOP 50 sounded better than Top 51. Ha!)
NOTE: I linked various video instruction for each gym exercise and expect some of these links will expire or change in time as people move content around. Please forgive me if some of the links do not work anymore.
Squats (Air Squat or Barbell Squat, hits all muscles)
Leg Press Machine (hits all muscles)
Walking Lunges (dumbbells, quads and glutes)
Leg Extension Machine (hits quads)
Leg Curl Machine (prone/lying, seated and/or standing, hamstrings)
Straight Leg Deadlifts (Dumbbells or Barbells, for hamstrings)
Weighted Calf Raises (or Calf Raise Machine)
Do at least 1 exercise per body part (quads, hams, glutes)
Handstand Push Up or Pike Press
Military Press with Barbell or Shoulder Press Machine
Arnold Presses or Shoulder press with dumbbells
Rear Delt Raise (or Reverse Fly or Reverse Pec Dec Machine)
Do at least 1 press, 1 raise (front or lateral) and the rear raise.
LOW BACK & CORE:
Remember to read: “How to Set an Effective Workout Schedule” for help on scheduling your workout schedule for the week.
Have fun, train with confidence and get results!