Top 5 Exercise List | Naperville Fitness Center

Hi everyone.  Happy Tuesday, and thanks for coming back to read our blog here at Midwest Fit Club.  When thinking about ideas and topics to address in my blogs, I look for things that are very relevant to what is going on in my life when it comes to fitness and nutrition.  Along those lines, I want to talk about something that my MFC partner, Shane, does every once in a while that I think about a lot.  What would that be?  Let’s talk about him and hope he NEVER finds out.

When we bring in new trainers for either MFC or MFC Sports Performance, I sit in on the initial meetings as much as I can, so I can learn about the candidate and find out the important questions that Shane wants to address.  I remember when I brought Adam Kamuda, our first MFC employee, in for an interview with Shane back in 2011.  I previously worked with Adam before, but Shane had never met him.  So when we sat down, I let Shane drive the conversation so that he can get his questions answered.  The two questions I remember specifically are:
1.   If I had a sports team, why would I want you on my team?
2.  What do you think about carbs?

On the surface, these are two innocuous questions but I think there is a much deeper meaning to each question that relates well to how Shane conducts business.  She wants team players and he wants people who are very health-conscious.  I thought it was a fun and interesting conversation, which led us to hire someone who is now a business partner with us at MFC Sports Performance.

However, there is a question he asks now to all of our trainer candidates that always has me thinking about how I want to structure my workouts.  The question seems simple, but can take people in a lot of different directions: what are five exercises that people should incorporate into their workouts?  Now when referring specifically to this question, Shane is talking about capable workout candidates with no workout restrictions that would be able to do any sort of movement.

In reality, I guess there isn’t a wrong answer to the question.  All opinions are relative, and everyone will have their own point of view on what they think is right.  Still, Shane is looking for specific answers that fit his training philosophies, which center on compound movements (i.e. multi-joint movements that work several muscles or muscle groups at one time).  These types of movements are useful, as they:

  • burn more calories in a workout
  • create a realistic full-body workout in a faster time
  • elevates heart rate during a workout, while provides numerous cardio benefits

Since I have worked with Shane for a long time, both in a business sense and in a training environment, I certainly have an insight on how to phrase my answer to get his unmitigated approval.  But I am a big boy now, and can give my top five based on what I see and how it affects others.

So here is my top five exercises that I think everyone should be doing:
1.  The plank: I’m starting simple at the beginning, as I think the plank is one of the most beneficial exercises for me right now.  The plank works so many muscle groups at one time, including core, back and shoulders.  Specifically, I like this movement to help build up my core muscles help my aching lower back muscles which have been an issue lately.


2.  Squat movement:  I really like big lower-body movements, as they promote muscle growth all over your body, burns fat, and improves overall functional body movements.


3.  Dead-lift movement:  Dead-lifts are an ideal full-body movement that are a great replication of real-life movements such as lifting boxes or a television.  I prefer doing a trap bar dead-lift, as I find it’s easier on my back, as opposed to using the Olympic bar.

Trap bar demo

4.  Pull-up movement:  I suck at this, but everyone should be doing them.  It’s not only a great movement for your back, but it is also great on your biceps and triceps (depending on your grip).


5.  Overhead press:  I could include a clean and press movement here, but a standing military press is great for biceps/triceps, shoulders and chest.  It’s a great movement but I definitely suggest a spotter if you have a lot of weight on the bar.


You’re probably wondering what Shane’s top five movements are, so I asked him for his latest list.  Without further ado, here is Shane Herman’s top five list of exercises everyone should be doing:
1.  Squat variation
2.  Dead lift variation
3.  Pull-up variation
4.  Military press variation
5.  Sprint on the spin cycle, on the track, or outside (not necessarily on a treadmill though)

It’s good to see our lists are still very similar, which shouldn’t be a surprise.  I have seen Shane and Matt Gallagher train people for a long time, so I have adopted a lot of their philosophies.  To find out which exercises would be best for you and your goals, I would highly recommend getting an assessment with an MFC trainer.  It will make a huge difference in your workouts.  Trust me!

The reason this whole topic is relevant to me right now is that we are interviewing a trainer tomorrow, and I assume we will ask her what her Top 5 list would be.  It’s not a deal-breaker to give a relatively bad answer to the question, but it’s not very good either.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

So let’s get the conversation started.  Head on over to our Facebook page, and let us know what would be in your Top 5 list.  Remember, there are no wrong answers, although Shane would prefer that you not say anything such as “curling in the squat rack” or ” leg extensions.”

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week.