8 personal trainers share their go-to exercises
If you’re looking for a few super-effective moves to add to your next workout – look no further. We’ve got the goods from eight of Australia’s best personal trainers to boost your next sesh. have shared their favourite exercises and there are some seriously effective ab, butt and leg toning moves among the bunch.
“My favourite go-to move is the overhead ball slam. It’s an extremely efficient full-body compound move, which gets a few different muscle groups engaged and burns tons of calories. I love performing this exercise using a dead ball, because it doesn’t bounce off the ground and you have to squat all the way down to scoop the ball up before exploding upwards again.”
A few tips from Dasha: Make sure you slam the ball as hard as you can, squat low and explosively drive the ball overhead fully extending your arms and keeping that core tight.
“A great way to get your heart rate up, torch calories and work on your lateral movement and agility. Also, it’s an excellent leg and butt shaper, lifting and shaping your legs all the way from your calves all the way to your thighs and lifting your butt too! Plus, it’s a jumping move and I love plyometrics!”
A few tips from Libby: This is a lateral (sideways) one-foot jump or hop from side-to-side. Make sure before you start that your body is in an athletic position; bend your knees a little and push your hips back slightly, but keep your spine long – this helps generate more power than you would if you started completely upright. Now, pick your right foot up off the sand and push off your left leg to jump to the right, landing on your right foot before quickly pushing off again in the other direction. Move fast and make your leaps big.
“There is nothing more physically taxing or mentally draining than the standard squat. Widely touted as the ‘King of all Exercises’, the squat is a staple exercise in my leg day annihilation arsenal and with good reason too! The squat is a basic compound exercise which targets your quads, hamstrings and glutes. It also places isometric tension on your lower back, upper back and abdominal muscles when you are trying to stabilise the weight as you execute the exercise.”
A few tips from Robbie: To get the most out of this essential exercise it is imperative that you focus on form over weight and focus on taking each repetition through a full range-of-motion. Experiment with your foot position, you may prefer a narrower or wider stance. Descending to parallel with each repetition is essential if you are to target your glutes effectively, so remember to go deep when you squat if you want to build that booty.
“My guaranteed core crushing go-to exercise is the weight plate jack-knife. It’s an efficient way to strengthen the upper and lower abdominals concurrently. I like to use a 20kg weight and go for 20 repetitions followed by 20 pulses for 4 sets to completely fatigue my core.”
How to: 1. Lay on your back completely stretched out holding a weight plate above your head. 2. Simultaneously bring your feet and the plate up to meet in the middle in one swift movement. Squeeze at the top by pushing the weight plate up towards your feet as high as you can. Slowly return to starting position. Repeat movement.
A few tips from JD: Make sure you perform the motion slowly, with an emphasis on smooth and controlled motions in order to get the most gain from your efforts. Make sure you have a firm hold of the weight, keep a slight bend in your arms and you keep your core engaged the entire time. Start light and work your way up in weight.
“My go-to move would have to be the deadlift– ideally with a heavy load. Few exercises are as physically or mentally draining and demanding, nor recruit as many muscles and fibres as the deadlift does. It works everything from your calves and hamstrings to your quads and glutes (depending on how you perform the movement). It’s not just for the legs either, it’ll work your back, your core and it’s undeniably taxing on your central nervous system.”
A few tips from Nick: Pull your shoulder blades back hard and take the slack out of the bar. Take a deep breath, fill your belly with air, tense your core muscles and arch your lower back slightly. Pull the weight from the floor while maintaining a neutral spine position and keeping the bar close to your body. As the bar passes your knees, drive your hips forward forcefully by engaging your glutes, and finish the lift strong by standing upright and pushing your chest forward.
“My go-to move is the thruster. It’s the combination of a squat and an overhead press. Thrusters are a full body movement that strengthen the legs, core and upper body, and challenge your cardiovascular fitness all in one movement. They work so many muscle groups and require core stabilization which is essential for all movements.”
A few tips from Victoria: Keep the weight back in your heels in the squat (this will counterbalance the weight on the front pulling you forward). Focus on pressing the knees out at the bottom of the squat so the glutes engage to drive up out of the squat. Keeping the core engaged is crucial throughout the whole movement to avoid straining your back and to generate power. Use the momentum from the squat to explode the weight overhead, making it one strong, fluid movement.
“One of my favourite exercises is the box jump (or broad jump). It relies on maximal exertion and can be performed in a gym or outdoors. Box jumping or broad jumps are an advanced form of training called plyometrics which uses rapid muscular contractions. It’s a full-body, explosive exercise which means it soon becomes extremely demanding, giving you bang for your buck – particularly if you are pushed for time.”
A few tips from Scott: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and sink down as you bend the knees and flex at the hips. In order to get more air, drive off using your arms for momentum causing a triple extension (ankle, knees, hips). Land on both feet and immediately absorb the impact but flexing the joints (ankle, knees, hips).
“My favourite move is the pull-up. Pull-ups and chin-ups are an excellent gauge of strength and in my opinion a movement that everyone should be able to perform even though not many can. I mean, what if you’re ever hanging from the bottom of a helicopter and have to pull yourself up into it?!”
A few tips from Dylan: When performing a pull-up, think about lifting your chest towards the bar and pulling your shoulders down and into your back pockets. Pull your elbows down and in towards the side of your ribs instead of back behind you, this will help prevent humeral glide in the shoulder joint and keep the right muscles engaged.