“Accept what is useful, reject what is useless”
– Bruce Lee

Amidst a sea of exercise choices on social media and YouTube, for the inexperienced trainee, it may be difficult to decide which exercises are actually worth trying. Of course, part of the process of learning what works best for you is experimenting, but there needs to be a line drawn between the BS and the stuff that will take your progress to the next level. What I’m trying to say is that you don’t need to do 100 variations of the “deadbug” to develop functional core stability.

Some of the things we are going to talk about will not come as a surprise, but the list I’m going to include comes from 20 years of time in the trenches. I’ve tried all the dumb shit, so you don’t have to.

I want to be clear on one thing: you can vary all of these movements to consistently reap the benefits and not get “stale.” A movement like a lat-pulldown can be varied in terms of execution and handle choice. This does not even include variations with sets, reps, loading parameters, etc.

Without further ado, here’s a list (click to download PDF):A few things to remember:

  • Every movement you see here can be varied in a number of ways.
  • This list does NOT include variations with specialty bars, but bars such as the football bar, safety squat bar, and bamboo bar are great additions if you have access to them.
  • This list consists of roughly 160 movements, but there may be other variations that you’ve found to be more beneficial for you. No one responds the same way to a given movement.
  • If any particular movement causes you pain or does not coincide with your limitations, then that movement really should not be a viable option for you.

In short, you’re not limited to only this list, but in a sea of movement choices trainees sometimes become victims of “paralysis by analysis.” Within a few weeks time, it’s relatively easy to determine whether or not a particular movement should stay in your repertoire or be rejected.