Top 10 Personal Training Exercises & Workouts – StrengthLog

Top 10 Personal Training Exercises & Workouts – StrengthLog

Being a personal trainer is a big task.

You need to understand exercise science and anatomy, and also have good communication and coaching skills.

Still, sometimes you just want to know: Which exercises should I put my personal training clients on?

In this article, I’ll list ten of my favorite personal training exercises that I use most often when I train my clients.

The Best Personal Training Exercises Are Specific to The Situation

Before we get into the list of exercises, it is important to point out that these are the exercises that…

  1. I like and know how to teach,
  2. I have the equipment for in my garage gym where I coach, or that the online clients have access to,
  3. Fits the fitness level and goals of a majority of my clients.

The exercises you use for a given personal training client should be based on all of the above factors and more.

Ideally, the exercises you pick for your clients should be:

  1. Fun, enjoyable, and motivating (ideally all three)
  2. Effective for reaching the desired outcome
  3. Quick and easy to set up and start training

There’s a balance between the three points above, and sometimes one has to be sacrificed for another, but ideally, that is what I aim for.

Secondly, I choose my personal training exercises based on what I call the four fundamental movements of strength training.

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The Four Basic Movements

The four basic movements are a group of movements that, together, cover a large part of what we can do with our bodies.

The idea is that if you have your client do at least one exercise for each fundamental movement, they will have worked almost all their major muscle groups.

The four fundamental movements are:

  • Push something away from you. Examples: bench press, overhead press, push-ups, machine chest press.
  • Pull something towards you. Examples: pull-ups, lat pulldown, barbell row, dumbbell row, cable row.
  • Hip hinge. Examples: deadlift, good morning, Romanian deadlift, clean, kettlebell swing.
  • Squat. Examples: squat, front squat, Bulgarian split squat, goblet squat, leg press.

The push and pull exercises work the upper body muscles, while the hip hinge and squat works the lower body muscles.

I try to include at least one exercise from each of these four basic movements in every client’s strength training program.

Now, let’s get into the list of my top personal training exercises!

All the GIFs below are from our online personal training software.

1. Bench Press

The bench press is one of my favorite exercises to use with personal training clients.

It is easy to learn, you can easily adjust the level of resistance, and there is a lot of room for motivation-boosting progressive overload.

Almost everyone can learn and start training the bench press in their very first session, especially if you have access to lighter barbells, which I highly recommend.

The bench press is a pushing exercise that is effective for working the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

2. Dumbbell Row

The dumbbell row is another exercise that is very easy to learn, and almost everyone can do it.

One thing I like about the dumbbell row is that it gives a lot of opportunity to loosen up the shoulder blades and upper back, an area that is stiff in many clients after years of work in front of a computer.

Therefore, like in many exercises, I like to prioritize range of motion and proper form (pulling the shoulder blade back) before we add weight.

In terms of the four basic movements, the dumbbell row is a pulling exercise that works the upper back, lats, rear deltoids, and biceps.

3. Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is a squatting exercise that works your legs, glutes, and core muscles, and will also get your heart rate up.

The goblet squat is generally easier to learn than the barbell back squat, and is a great exercise for developing the requisite mobility and strength for squatting with a barbell later on.

While you cannot handle as heavy weights in the goblet squat as the barbell squat, it is still an effective strength training exercise. Working someone up to doing ten (or twenty!) goblet squats with half their bodyweight builds plenty of strength.

Many can start goblet squatting with a light weight in their very first session, but for some people (for example, weak or old clients), I like to start them on doing goblet squats down to a box at an appropriate height first.

Then you can gradually lower the box as the workouts go by, until you finally have them do free goblet squats.

The amount of mobility, strength, and freedom of motion this simple progression can restore in older adults is amazing.

Oh, and I forgot one more great thing about the goblet squat: it requires minimal set-up. Just a few warm-up sets with air squats and gradually heavier kettlebells, and you are ready to rock.

4. Trap Bar Deadlift

The trap bar deadlift is a hip hinge exercise, that is something in between a squat and a regular deadlift with a straight bar. It works the back, hips, leg muscles, and grip.

Compared to conventional deadlifts, deadlifting with a trap bar is often a little easier to learn, especially if you use the high handles. You also avoid the whole issue of having your beginner clients pull a knurled barbell against their shins or expensive workout leggings.

If your client wants to do straight-bar deadlifts, you can start them on that instead, or progress to that after a few weeks of trap bar deadlifts. But if they don’t care, then either deadlift variation is fine.

Compared to the previous three exercises, the trap bar deadlift by far takes the longest time to set up and warm up in, especially after a few months when the clients have gotten a bit stronger.

Therefore, if time is tight, I sometimes substitute the trapbar deadlift with the next exercise.

5. Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is another hip hinge exercise that works similar muscles to the deadlift. The emphasis is on the glutes, lower back, and back of the thigh.

Compared to the trap bar deadlift, the kettlebell swing is far faster to set up and get started with, which makes for time-efficient workouts.

It is, however, slightly more difficult to teach and learn.

One thing you can have your clients do to engrain the start and end position of the hips and back is to have them do a few sets of deadlifts with the kettlebell. Make sure they start and stop in the same end positions that they would be in when doing kettlebell swings (except for their arms, of course, which will be hanging straight down in the deadlifts). You might need to put the kettlebell on a small elevation for it to reach the proper height.

A final little thing I like about having clients do the kettlebell swing is that it is faster and more explosive than a lot of other gym exercises, which restores some of the quickness and athleticism that many haven’t used in years.

Those were the top five, and they are the exercises I use with most people who aren’t really interested in becoming powerlifters or reaching a very high level of fitness.

They simply want to do one or two workouts per week to make their bodies feel and move better, and turn the tide of the decline of strength and muscle mass. For this purpose, I find these first five exercises very effective and efficient.

The next five exercises are ones I use more seldom with “general population clients”. Some of them I use with my powerlifting clients, and others are exercises that I don’t use because I don’t have the equipment in my garage but still think are good exercises for a lot of people.

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6. Squat

For people at a higher fitness level or with more ambitious fitness goals, the barbell squat is a great way to load the lower body more than a goblet squat can do. And obviously, this exercise is a must for powerlifters.

Once again, prioritize good form and depth over weight in the beginning. Also, feel free to use a box or bench to squat against, as it gives the client clear feedback on how deep they’re squatting and can help engrain proper squat depth.

If the squat is tricky to learn for the client, experiment with their foot position, use a box to squat against, and understand that it might take a few workouts for them to develop the flexibility and coordination necessary to squat properly.

7. Deadlift

For powerlifters or anyone else who likes deadlifts, or if you don’t have access to a trap bar, the deadlift is a great compound exercise for developing full-body strength.

Some people, often older adults, struggle with many kinds of squatting exercises, and in these cases, the deadlift is a great exercise for strengthening their back, glutes, and the back of their thigh muscles.

The deadlift is another one of those exercises that makes clients report back to you after a few months that they feel much stronger when they’re doing chores around the house now.

Additionally, the deadlift can be used effectively to treat low back pain.

8. Overhead Press

The overhead press is another great pressing exercise that emphasizes the shoulders more than the bench press does.

For clients working out with me twice per week or more often, I like to alternate between the bench press and overhead press.

That gives their shoulders more well-rounded training, adds some variety to the fitness program, and also extends the period in which they can make small increases in weight or reps, which is motivating and increases the chances they’ll enjoy strength training and keep doing it.

If you use the overhead press for your clients, you will greatly benefit from having access to lighter barbells, as 20 kg or 45 lbs is too heavy for a large part of the untrained population.

Another complicating factor is that many people, especially starting from middle-aged persons and older, lack the necessary mobility in their shoulders and upper backs to perform this exercise effectively.

If that is the case, you can wait to introduce the overhead press until a little later in their training, when they have improved their mobility and coordination somewhat. Or, just start light, and try to improve mobility over time.

9. Leg Press

I don’t have access to a leg press machine in my garage gym, but if you have access to one and you can’t get any of the squatting exercises to work for a client, the leg press can be a good alternative leg exercise.

Just keep in mind that the leg press pictured above requires quite a bit of flexibility and strength just to get in and out of position because it is so close to the ground. Meaning that the same people that struggle with squatting exercises might struggle with getting in and out of this particular machine.

For them, a leg press machine that is horizontal instead of in an incline like the one above and that is at sitting height is a better option.

10. Lat Pulldown

The last exercise on this list is yet another machine that I don’t have in my garage gym and, therefore, rarely use with my clients. But if you do have access to one, the lat pulldown is a great exercise that works the back and arms, and also increases the mobility of the shoulders and shoulder blades.

Like the dumbbell row, the lat pulldown performed with a long range of motion can undo some of the stiffness caused by years of deskwork.

A great benefit of the lat pulldown is that you can adjust the resistance easily to fit a broad range of clients.

An alternative to the lat pulldown that I sometimes use in my garage gym is pull-ups, or pull-ups with assistance from a resistance band. You can also have clients step up to the pull-up bar from a box or chair, and then try to slowly lower themselves down.

Putting The Exercises Together Into A Personal Training Workout Routine

To create a full-body personal training program for your clients, pick at least one exercise from each of the four basic movements I mentioned at the beginning of the article.

Then, decide if you want to do all four movements in every single workout (making them full-body workouts), or spread them out over the week in a split training program. Both methods work equally well.

These were the personal training exercises that I utilize the most or that I think are good, and I hope you learned something from the list.

Keep in mind that there is not a single best exercise or exercise program that suits every client (or trainer), so go with what works for you and the people you train.

The best personal trainers are flexible and adaptive, and recognize that different exercise variations are just one of many tools in their toolbox.

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Top 10 Exercices et Entraînements de Coaching Personnel – StrengthLog

Top 10 Exercices et Entraînements de Coaching Personnel – StrengthLog


L’entraînement personnel est essentiel pour atteindre vos objectifs de remise en forme. Que vous souhaitiez gagner en force, perdre du poids ou simplement améliorer votre santé générale, des exercices ciblés et des entraînements réguliers peuvent vous aider à progresser. Dans cet article, nous vous présentons les dix meilleurs exercices et entraînements de coaching personnel, selon StrengthLog.

1. Squats

Les squats sont un exercice fondamental pour renforcer les muscles des jambes et des fessiers. Ils peuvent être effectués à l’aide d’une barre, d’haltères ou simplement en utilisant le poids du corps.

2. Soulevé de terre

Le soulevé de terre est un exercice polyvalent qui sollicite de nombreux groupes musculaires, y compris les muscles des jambes, du dos et des épaules. Il est excellent pour renforcer votre force globale.

3. Pompes (Push-ups)

Les pompes sont un exercice de renforcement musculaire du haut du corps qui cible principalement les muscles de la poitrine, des épaules et des triceps. Ils peuvent être modifiés pour convenir à tous les niveaux de condition physique.

4. Deadlift

Le deadlift (soulevé de terre) est un exercice de levage olympique qui consiste à soulever une barre du sol jusqu’à la hanche. Il sollicite principalement les muscles des jambes et du dos, en faisant un excellent exercice de renforcement musculaire.

5. Lunges

Les fentes sont un excellent exercice pour renforcer les jambes et les fessiers. Ils peuvent être réalisés en avançant ou en reculant, et peuvent également être effectués avec des haltères pour plus d’intensité.

6. Rowing

Le rowing est un exercice de musculation qui cible principalement les muscles du dos et des bras. Il peut être effectué avec une barre, des haltères ou une machine de musculation dédiée.

7. Shoulder press

Le shoulder press (développé militaire) est un exercice qui renforce les muscles des épaules et des bras. Il peut être effectué assis ou debout, avec des haltères ou une barre.

8. Sit-ups

Les sit-ups sont un exercice de renforcement musculaire des abdominaux, mais ils sollicitent également les muscles des hanches et du bas du dos. Ils peuvent être adaptés en fonction de votre niveau de condition physique.

9. Pull-ups

Les tractions sont un excellent exercice de renforcement du haut du corps qui sollicite principalement les muscles du dos et des bras. Ils peuvent être effectués à l’aide d’une barre fixe ou d’une machine de musculation.

10. Burpees

Les burpees sont un exercice cardiovasculaire complet qui tonifie tout le corps. Ils combinent des mouvements tels que les squats, les pompes et les sauts pour un entraînement efficace et intense.


1. Quelle est la fréquence recommandée pour ces exercices ?

Il est recommandé d’effectuer ces exercices de manière régulière, au minimum deux à trois fois par semaine pour de meilleurs résultats.

2. Puis-je modifier les exercices en fonction de ma condition physique ?

Oui, vous pouvez modifier les exercices en fonction de votre niveau de condition physique. Par exemple, les pompes peuvent être effectuées en utilisant une surface surélevée si vous avez du mal à les faire à plat.

3. Combien de répétitions devrais-je faire de chaque exercice ?

Le nombre de répétitions dépend de vos objectifs et de votre niveau de condition physique. Commencez par 8 à 12 répétitions par série, puis ajustez en fonction de vos besoins.

4. Dois-je utiliser des poids pour ces exercices ?

L’utilisation de poids dépend de vos objectifs. Si vous souhaitez développer votre force, l’ajout de poids peut être bénéfique. Cependant, si votre objectif est de tonifier ou de brûler des calories, vous pouvez également effectuer ces exercices sans poids.

5. Dois-je consulter un professionnel avant de commencer ces exercices ?

Si vous avez des problèmes de santé préexistants ou si vous n’avez pas fait d’exercice depuis longtemps, il est recommandé de consulter un professionnel de la santé avant de commencer un programme d’entraînement intense.


Top 10 Personal Training Exercises & Workouts – StrengthLog

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