What Are The 5 Basic Exercises? Moves You Can Do Anywhere

If someone told me I could only perform 5 exercises for the rest of my life I could live with that.

Getting to the 5 movements I would be stuck with is a bit trickier.

There are a few ways the body moves that can help me break this down a little. 

We push, we pull, we rotate and then we use our legs as well.

So now let’s take these 4 functions of the body and spread them over 5 exercises.

Starting with our legs we might as well put squats and lunges in right away.

Both can be done with or without weight to great effect.

But to cover all our bases let’s add a twisting motion to the lunges.

So we have 2 exercises down, squats and twisting lunges.

Next, let’s go with a push-up and a pull-up.

There are 4 movements and the 4 functions done.

So to add one more movement I’m going with a plank.

So there’s my list of 5 movements I would settle for if I could only have 5.

But I’m going to be ‘that guy’ and say I’ll add twisting to most of those movements.

You can do hip drops on a plank and get the truck rotation.

You can even do a T push and get rotation in also.

So that’s the card I’m playing, 5 basic movements that I can make small adjustments to.

Call me a cheater if you want, I don’t care, it’s my article.

So let’s have a look at them all.



Push ups

Pull Ups


What Exercises Burn Fat The fastest?

Most people are going to think cardio, and while cardio is great for burning calories and getting the heart rate up.

That doesn’t always mean fat loss.

Here is an article I wrote about getting a six-pack so you can see there are levels to this.

Getting a balance of strength training and cardio is always the winner, as I’ve mentioned in the past we need to build muscle as well.

So for the point of this article let’s ignore cardio and focus on movements that burn fat.

Let’s look at some compound lifts.

Compound lifts are movements that use more than one joint.

When we use more than one joint we’re using more muscle groups.

More muscle movement means more calories burned.

And more importantly, when we move more muscles, more muscles are going to be growing.

When we carry more muscle we burn more fat.

It’s a crazy little cycle.

So our main compound movements are.


What Are The 5 Basic Exercises - man in bottom position of squat with resistance band


What Are The 5 Basic Exercises - man in top position of lateral lunge with resistance band


What Are The 5 Basic Exercises - man in bottom position of deadlift with resistance band

Bent Row

What Are The 5 Basic Exercises - man in bottom position of bent over row with resistance band

Floor Press

What Are The 5 Basic Exercises - man in top position of lying press with resistance band

Overhead Press

What Are The 5 Basic Exercises - man in bottom position of shoulder press with resistance band

What Exercises Should You Not Do?

Well, the first exercise I’m going to say is sit-ups.

Not only is this movement not that great for your core but it puts a lot of pressure on your spine. 

How often are you in a position to do a sit-up during your day?

Never, because it’s not a functional movement! 

Why no try, push-ups, planks, or ab wheel rollouts instead?

I often tell my clients to do more push-ups for their core.

And here’s a video that goes into a bit more detail on how I feel about push-ups and core.

Next, let’s look at dips on a bench.

Another garbage movement that puts your shoulder in a terrible position and it’s not even giving you that good of a workout anyway.

Swap them out for close hand push-ups or parallel bar dips.

Now for a few movements that should be done with less load than you think.

Because I see too many people so heavy that they start doing the movement terribly and run the risk of serious injury.

The first one is good mornings, these don’t need to be done super heavy.

It puts too much pressure on your lower back, especially when you relax your core and start swinging around.

Another one to be careful with is a snatch.

Now we do these all the time at our gym.

And it is a great movement when done correctly.

But please, leave your ego at the door.

Take a few plates off and do this correctly, there are a lot of things that can go wrong with a snatch.

And when you’re throwing it above your head do you really want to take the risk?

Is it Better to Exercise In the Morning Or Evening?

Ok, how’s this for a cop-out.

The best time to train is the best time that works for you.

If you struggle with time at the end of that day then go with the morning.

And if you start work early, then go in the afternoon.

It also doesn’t matter where you train.

That’s why I put out this free E-Book ‘Train Wherever the F*ck You Want’ Click this link to get your copy.

At the end of the day what works for you is most important.

The time of day you have the least excuses for is probably the best time is it not?

Sure there have probably been countless studies done to determine which is better but they probably all contradict each other leaving us back at square one.

I train morning and night during the week.

And it really doesn’t bother me whether it’s high or low intensity.

It just depends on my schedule and what works better on the day.

As long as you can get a workout in and eat something afterward then don’t worry if it’s morning or evening.

Unless you’re planning on going to the Olympics…

You probably wouldn’t be reading articles like this if you were.