I ran across a post about this on Nick Tumminello’s blog the other day and thought I’d share my version. Every professional in this field has a handful of “go-to” exercises that they use with most or every client/athlete. Here are mine:

1) Dumbbell Swings – Or kettlebell, depending on the day. They get the heart rate up, incorporate both hip and shoulder mobility, and load most of the major muscle groups. Hard to go wrong with that.

2) Pullups – *THE* upper back builder. And with all the variations out there, it’s impossible to get bored with them. 

3) Cable Twists – I rarely see people performing rotation exercises; that alone is enough to justify this pick. They’re beneficial, tough, and feel good.

4) Romanian Deadlifts – A super functional movement that teaches proper bending mechanics, RDL’s are great either alone or as a supplemental exercise to aid the deadlift.

5) Split Squats – A pretty fantastic squat alternative that uses single leg movement and has many regressions and progressions.