The Top 10 Weight Training Exercises

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People love a good Top 10 list. It is the ultimate rating system whether you are talking about weight trainingWeight Training Exercises exercises or movies. So what are the best exercises out there? You can probably guess at least a few because people always tout certain exercises as “staples” of a routine.

The criteria used for this list is a little different. It was made with total body fitness in mind. The idea is, if you only had 10 exercises that you would do for month on end then which would they be? This helps eliminate some exercises that might both be really good but essentially work the same muscle in almost the same way.

So what weight training exercises did we choose?

The Perfect 10

  1. Barbell Squat – This is pretty much a no brainer. You just can’t beat the benefits of barbell squats when done properly. Regardless of people who complain about them (and probably never learned proper form), this exercise builds muscles in the legs and increases overall body mass like no other. Plus this exercise can help with increasing your O2 capacity when utilizing a higher-rep workout.
  2. Dumbbell Lunge – Here is a bit of a curveball. Dumbbell lunges are utilized a lot by women because they are a great exercise. You have so much variety with walking lunges, lunging forward or back and even side lunges that you have to consider this a top exercise. Again this exercise can hit the entire leg along with the hips and core stabilizers.
  3. Good Mornings – This is an underused exercise mainly because it is so hard. It really builds stronger hips, glutes, and lower back muscles. Adding this exercise to your routine will help increase your deadlift and squat totals, which is why so many powerlifters stand by it as a staple.
  4. Deadlift – Much like the squat, this is a primary mass builder for the back and lower body, but also affects the entire body. Movements that incorporate such much of the body also help increase testosterone.
  5. Pull Ups – Too many people settle for pull-downs when they should be doing a pull up. The movement is superior because your body isn’t in a fixed position and can bend more to match the natural pulling motion of the arms. This is a great back, shoulder, and arm builder.
  6. Dumbbell Rows – Dumbbell rows are included in the best weight training exercises because of a superior range of motion and the ability to target more areas of the back compared to regular barbell rows. You can still go nice and heavy plus it is easier to focus when only working one side at a time.
  7. Clean and Push Press – This exercise is right up there with squats and deadlifts because you use so much of the body when doing it. Primarily the focus is on the shoulders with excellent work to the front and side delts along with the rotator cuffs. Secondarily this hits a lot of muscles from the calves to the traps.
  8. Incline Dumbbell Press – Most people go with a flat barbell bench press, but mechanically the incline dumbbell press uses a greater range of motion including a nice stretch for the chest. Lifting the heaviest weight is important sometimes, but when you only have a few exercises, those that can hit the target muscle more effectively are valued more highly.
  9. Dips – This is just a great upper body builder. The chest, shoulders, and triceps are the primary beneficiary of work but the back and abs also play a part in stabilization.
  10. Bicycle Crunches – For some reason people never include an abdominal exercise when listing the top weight training exercises. The abdominals have a lot of layers, but need to be targeted and trained as well. This exercise works a wide range of the midsection because you activate the upper and lower muscles when crunching and also add a twist.

There you have it, the perfect ten exercises that will work your body from top to bottom and are a must for any program.

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Ben Sanderson


Last week we looked at the top ten worst training exercises . No other exercise can accomplish what a proper squat can. Start light with good and proper form, and from there add weight . Over and over again.

Ben Sanderson

I can’t agreem more. Squats are probably the #1 foundation exercise. Strong legs help every other body part.


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