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Bang For Your Buck Exercises

Just curious as to what you’d consider is the MOST bang for your buck exercise per muscle group :woman_shrugging:t3:

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Deadlift, squat, weighted dip, weighted chin-up. You won’t win Mr Olympia with just those 4, but you could look good naked.


Log viper press and prowler pushes


I like a big 4. My 4 are slightly different.

  1. Squat
  2. Barbell Cleans
  3. Bench Press
  4. Weighted Chin-ups

Trap bar DL
Front Squat
Weighted chins
Weighted dips

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Through thick and thin, from dirt patches in third world countries to commercial gyms, from hypertrophy programs to strength programs, from bulking to training for triathlons, the push-up has been there for me.

Push-ups, and other bodyweight exercises involving them, like 8-count bodybuilders and burpees, would be my choice. Boring, I know.


Cool thread idea. I like:

  • Deadlifts, any bent-knee variety.
  • Pull-ups and chin-ups, all grip angles, bodyweight and weighted.
  • Incline bench dumbbell presses. For me, they have carryover to overhead pressing strength while also working the pecs.
  • Bulgarian/rear foot elevated split squats, any variety (bodyweight, dumbbells, barbell, Smith machine.)
  1. Sprinting
  2. Front Squats
  3. Chin-Ups
  4. Incline Bench Press

All day, every day


If I had to stick to two exercises for lower and two for upper I’d go:
Trap Bar Deadlift
Zercher Squat
Weighted Chins

Any multi joint exercise…

Careful what you wish for:


Wtf? Did I just watch?

Let me clarify.

Any traditional proven over time multi joint exercise done in correct traditional fashion.

Wtf is up with all these modified Frankenstein movements I’ve been seeing on social media as of late?


By body part, From the top down:

Neck and traps - Rack pulls
Shoulders - Push Presses
Chest- deep weighted dips
Lats- weighted chins
Quads- 20-rep squats
Hamstrings- RDLs
Calves- single leg calf raises on a step with a dumbbell in same side hand
Conditioning- it’s a tie between hill sprints and sled pushes.

If you consider the whole body as a unit…
High Rep Trap Bar deadlifts. If I were relegated to one exercise for the rest of my life, that would be it.


I’m kinda confused because the best back for your buck exercises hit multiple muscle groups, almost by definition.

Like, I’d put one-arm barbell curls as the most bang for buck biceps exercise and lying French press for tris. But speaking more generally, I’d say power cleans, single-leg RDLs, dips, and neutral-grip or ring chins.

The most effective exercise for any muscle group will be the one that places the most mechanical load on the muscle through a decent % of its range of motion. This will nearly always involve surrounding musculature.

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??? I have only ever seen anyone do this as a stunt / attention getter. Seems like it would be hard to load up enough weight to stimulate the biceps because keeping the bar level would be so difficult. Seems like it would be more of a forearm workout?

It’s one I picked up in what was probably the first T Nation article I ever read, way back in the day: Exercises You've Never Tried 1 | T Nation

Yes and no. Moving a ton of weight isn’t always necessary to stimulate a given muscle. You’re not going to be curling half-bodyweight, but 30-45 pounds for moderate reps can be plenty challenging.

That’s part of the point. Keeping the bar level does recruit more forearm to stabilize, but it also forces a supinated grip which works the bi’s more and it encourages a slower tempo, which puts everything under even more tension.

TBH, I wasn’t sure if you had a typo or were serious. Maybe I’ll give them a try.

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Sprints, dips, pull ups.

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Quads: front squat
Posterior Chain: snatch deadlift
Lats: weighted chin
Upper back: seal row
Chest: bench press (I’m the asshole who’s never had any issues growing/feeling chest by simply progressing on bench. Never do any iso work and minimal db work)
Bis: preacher curl
Tris: weighted dips
Delts: push press
Traps: snatch high pull