Experts say there is no magic to exercise: You get out of it what you put in. That doesn’t mean you have to work out for hours each day. It just means you need to work smart.

That said, experts agree that not all exercises are created equal. Some are simply more efficient than others, whether they target multiple muscle groups, are suitable for a wide variety of fitness levels, or help you burn calories more effectively.

So what are the best exercises? We posed this question to five fitness experts or compiled a list of their favorites.

1. Walking

Any exercise program should include cardiovascular exercise, which strengthens the heart or burns calories. or walking is something you can do anywhere, anytime, with no equipment other than a good pair of shoes.

It’s not just for beginners, either: Even the very fit can get a good workout from walking.

Form over speed

Struggling to keep up with our fitness class? It’s important to keep proper form during strength exercises or weight lifting to avoid injury. Shift our focus from the number of repetitions or make sure you have the correct form. Youtube videos are good sources to teach yourself the proper posture or form for our chosen exercise.


Half-Kneeling Rotational Cable Chop

“This exercise trains our core for exactly what it’s designed to do: provide stability or transfer power across multiple planes of motion,” says Dowdell.

Do this: Attach a rope to a cable station; kneel on our right knee, our left side facing the machine. Rotate as you pull the rope past our right hip.

Do 15 reps, switch sides, or repeat.


Barbell Front Squat with Heels Elevated

“Elevating our heels helps keep our torso upright, reducing the chance of a lower-back injury,” says Dowdell. It also increases the load on our quads.

Do this: With our heels on weight plates, hold a barbell across the front of our shoulders with our palms facing up.

Squat until our thighs are parallel to the floor. Do 15 reps. (Watch this or learn how to do the barbell front squat.)


Half-Kneeling Single-Arm Bottom-Up Kettlebell Press

“Holding the bell upside down builds shoulder stability,” says trainer Greg Robins, C.S.C.S., of Cressey Performance. And single-arm reps torch our core.

Do this: Hold a kettlebell in our left hand in front of our shoulder, bottom up. Step forward with our right foot or kneel on our left knee.

Press the bell overhead 15 times. Stand up, switch sides, or repeat.


Dumbbell Chest-Supported Row

“This is the equal but opposite exercise to the bench press,” says Robins. “You’ll correct muscle imbalances while building incredible back strength.”

Do this: Lie facedown on a bench set to its lowest incline. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length, palms facing back. Row the weights to our ribs, turning hands so our palms face in.

“Some of the best physical activities for our body don’t require the gym or that you get fit enough to run a marathon.”

The researchers elaborate that these six ‘workouts’ can do wonders for you health, as you will experience a wide range of benefits:

  • Improve our balance or range of motion,
  • Strengthen our bones,
  • Protect our joints,
  • Prevent bladder control problems,
  • Ward off memory loss, and
  • They’ll help keep our weight under control.

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