We asked Pure Austin Fitness Specialist Phil Swain to recommend his “best of” exercises that he would go to most regularly given a limited time to work out. If Swain practices what he preaches, then his recommendations for the greatest hits of exercises should work out quite well for you. Swain carves notable and sustainable results from his clients by making sure that they master each exercise with precise form. So listen closely! Swain said:
The squat is one of the most important exercises you can perform. It is the most commonly performed motion in daily life. Performing the front squat variation in particular places greater emphasis on the abdominal and thoracic spine musculature needed for improved posture. Place the bar against your throat prior to beginning the exercise. It should rest just above your sternal clavicular joint at the base of your neck. You will feel as if you are choking if you perform this exercise properly; your sternocleidomastoid muscles in your neck will not allow this to happen. Make sure to push through your heels to stand up and ensure that you keep your elbows parallel to the ground throughout the movement. At no point should you feel your lower back; instead, your abdominal and gluteal muscles should be responsible for the motion.
Next, the lat pulldown. In our society, we perform an overabundance of shoulder flexion movements in contrast to small amounts of shoulder extension. As a result, the lat pulldown is requisite to balancing out the musculature and stress surrounding your shoulder blades. At the beginning of the lat pulldown, your shoulders should be shrugged upwards. Initiate the pulldown motion by pulling your shoulders down and away from your neck; at no point throughout the movement should your shoulders shrug.
The bench press is a classic basic exercise that provides general upper body strength for pushing movements. It is not overly complicated and can be learned relatively quickly, as beginners need only to focus on shoulder stabilization. When executing, ensure that you keep your shoulder blades from shrugging during the bending and straightening of the elbows.
I chose the stability ball knee bend exercise because it really is a great total body exercise. It incorporates your chest, lats, triceps, abs, hips flexors, glutes and quads. It is also great for training for athletic competition, since it helps you learn how to coordinate your spinal stabilization musculature. You will take a plank position, hands under shoulders, and the ball under your shins. Bring the stability ball to your upper body by bending your knees. Your upper body should remain fixed in place.