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An Expert Trainer Reveals The Three Exercises No Strength Training Plan Should Be Without, And Why

  • Mar 9, 2024
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An Expert Trainer Reveals The Three Exercises No Strength Training Plan Should Be Without, And Why

Not all exercises are created equal, and some deserve a spot in your workout plans more than others. 

To start establishing a hierarchy, I asked top personal trainer Ollie Thompson which three moves he prioritizes above all others, and his answer wasn’t the often recommended trio of barbell exercises—the back squat, bench press and deadlift. 

how to do a split squat.

2 Suitcase carry

“The suitcase carry is just one of many carry exercises that I love to use with clients, and it’s definitely more challenging than it looks,” says Thompson. 

“The suitcase variation in particular—walking with a weight in just one hand—challenges your core laterally, helping to build spinal stability and improve the relationship between shoulders, rib cage and pelvis, which is important for a robust, pain-free and well-functioning body.”

Find out more about loaded carries, including how to do this one-arm variation.

3 Incline bench row 

“A rowing exercise needs to be in this list, and the chest-supported dumbbell row is one of the most effective and accessible variations,” says Thompson. 

“Building a strong upper back is crucial to not only help us to move and function well, but also can help mitigate any lower back pain.”

Read our form guide to the incline bench row.


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