The Only 5 Exercises You'll Ever Really Need

Take your routine back to basics with the help of these easy-to-perform exercises

A man's fitness routine, much like his choice in films, women, clothes and favourite reptile (Komodo dragonclosely followed by the bearded dragonsince you asked), is a subjective affair. But there are still some exercises that will work, no matter who you are.

Yes you've probably heard of them already, but sometimesin the face of a pre-summer fitness slumpits best to strip back your routine and go with the maneuvers that have been chiseling rigs for generations.

Here we present the only fitness moves you'll ever really need to know, plus how you can combine them into a quick, effective work-out to compliment all that extra training you're definitely doing right now.

You've got this!

How it works:

To start with, perform each exercise for two sets of 10 -15 reps. Try and take no more than 10 seconds rest in between sets if you're really looking to push yourself.

We've added a general structure that flows between push, pull, legs and abs, but feel free to experiment.

Finally, try and avoid performing this routine more than 3-4 times a week. Even elite athlete's need some rest.

1| Pull-Up

In terms of versatility, there really is no better exercise for your back, lats, biceps and even your abs than the pull-upiand you're working them all at the same time.

If you're looking for that enviable V-shaped torso, then the pull-up has to be in your repertoire.

As simple - and difficultias spreading your arms shoulder width apart, with your palms facing out, and pulling yourself up on a bar... the key with the pull-up is to nail your form before you add too many reps, lest you want to get injured.


Want to know more variations on the pull up and why it's so great? We've got a guide for that.

2| Push-Ups

This can be swapped out for a bench press if you happen to be in the gym, but if you're pushed (get it?) for time and or space, then the humble press-up is hard to beat.

Endlessly customisable, just make sure that your back is straight, abs are tight and that descend as slooooow as possible. You'll be surprised at just how effective a push-up is when done with proper, considered form.

Need more ideas? We've got covered that, too.

3| Kettlebell Swings

An often overlooked element of a workout, it's important to have at least one move that works those silky hips of yours.

The deadlift is the daddy of all hip-hinge movements, but we prefer kettlebell swings thanks to their less strenuous nature. Plus, you don't even need a gym to perform them...but you do need a kettlebell.

Fantastically simple, just keep your knees soft, your back straight and launch the kettlebell above your head without letting your wrists bend back. Once the weight falls back between your legs, use your momentum to throw it right back up there.

4| Squats

Another seemingly simple move that is, nevertheless, highly effective: the humble squat works your quads, calves and glutes, while also strengthening your core and testing your flexibility.

Perform with either a bar resting behind your shoulders or with nothing but your body weight. Just keep your back as straight as possible while lowering and make sure you're not lifting those heels off the ground.

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5| Planks

We get it, you don't want to do it because it's pretty boring, but the plank really is the boss when it comes to ab exercises. The crunch (a waste of time if you ask us) doesn't even compare.

Working every part of your abdomen, as well as strengthening your back and sorting your posture, aim to perform two minutes of solid plank, before spicing things up by raising either leg, or going up onto your side.


Ok, so you've got this all down, right? But if you're looking to add a sixth, fat-burning, element into it your easy routine then we've got the solution, friends.


Find some space, run as fast as you can for 10/20/30 seconds and use the jog back as your rest. Perform 10 times and just see how tired you are. So simple in theory. So horrible in practice.

While you can do this on a running machine, it doesn't quite replicate the fury of trying to run really f*****g fast outside. Enjoy.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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