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9. Deadlift BSimple – But Not Easy – Strength ExercisesGot any favorite exercises? Because I work at a health club as a group exercise instructor and personal trainer, I’m often asked what total body strength training exercises are the most effective. And when I design routines, I also include my top five go-to moves – which can be performed using body weight only, or adding additional resistance in the form of dumbbells, barbells or rubber resistance bands or tubes.

My favorites can be performed in their basic form – or enhanced by adding more complexity or locomotion for variety and more efficiency. If I was stuck on a desert island with no equipment, here’s what I’d recommend for a basic strength routine:

1.  Squats – allover lower body toner

16. Squat Jumps A

2.  Lunges – hit the major muscle groups of the lower body and core1. Alternating Lunge B

3.  Push-ups – one of the best chest exercises that also hits shoulders and triceps29. Push ups on stands B

4.  Deadlifts – target the lower back and hamstrings

9. Deadlift B

5.  Planks – zone in on the core and transverse abdominus that functions like a girdle26. Plank

Of course, this is my opinion only, and doesn’t negate the value of many other common exercises, such as overhead presses, biceps curls and triceps extensions. All well-performed exercises that target different muscle groups have value. But if I only had 10-15 minutes to attack my entire body, you can bet I’d choose some version of the above moves.

It’s good to know which exercises you prefer for those days when time is limited – it helps you get the job done without excuses!