Top exercises for gaining strength!

Ever been in the gym and seen that guy or girl lifting some HEAFTY weights? Wondered how they got to be so strong? Well, it takes time to build the strength, both mentally and physically. However, there are some exercises you need to be doing for an all rounded full body strength progression. I’m here to tell which ones!

Whenever I sign up a new client, the first thing I do with them is a fitness test. To see how they move and what stage of their fitness journey they are at. If they are a newbie and just learning the technique movements, or maybe they’ve been training a while and just need some guidance. It will mainly consist of body weight movements such as squats and press ups etc. Once I am happy with their technique on certain exercises we do a strength test.

You may have heard of a 1 Rep Max test, or 1RM. It’s basically the heaviest weight you can perform just for 1 rep, and 1 rep only. If you can perform 2 reps, you have to go heavier! It’s usually good to do this with a spotter to make you feel more comfortable and confident with the movement as you are pushing yourself to your limits.

First on my strength test list is the squat. A very basic movement, but when it gets heavy all sorts of things in the body can happen. You may see your knees start to collapse, chest comes forward, upper back rounds. Performing a good squat with a heavy weight can be hard. But doing a barbell squat not only using your legs, but all your muscles are working together to get that weight up.

Number 2! Deadlift. Probably one of the hardest movements to teach someone, well, I’ve found in my experience. It’s a movement that people usually complain it hurts their back. That just means either your technique isn’t right, or the weight is too heavy. Stick with a lighter weight until you are happy with the technique. Get someone to watch your movement. Having a second opinion on all lifting techniques is beneficial. Tag me (@vikkiaxellfit) in your Instagram post and I’ll give you some technique advice!

Onto number 3…Bench press. Now, I’ll admit I used to avoid the bench press or any form of chest exercise when I first started training, but it is SO important to train all muscle groups. It avoids any muscle imbalances and helps any postural issues if you have them. But again, the bench press doesn’t just work your chest. You are using your shoulders, triceps and core all to help you push that weight away. So if you are moaning about those ‘bingo wings’ this exercise is going to assist in getting them a little firmer.

Have you noticed a pattern yet…? I’ll let you have a think!

Okay, we are nearly at the end! Number 4 is going to be pull-ups. Bet your instantly thinking, ‘Well I can’t do pull-ups sooooo’, that’s okay, neither can I! Just because you can’t do pull-ups doesn’t mean you just skip this exercise. Practice makes perfect right! There are numerous alternatives that you can do to progress onto full pull-ups. Start with the assisted pull-up machine to really focus on building the strength and technique. Incorporate negative reps into your sessions. Jumping up to where you would finish a pull-up, then slowly releasing down for 3 seconds. Repeat this for as many reps as you can for 3 sets. You can also use a band, get one from amazon they are a bargain! Use this a little resistance to help you pull yourself up. Then slowly reduce the resistance of the band and you will soon be doing full pull-ups. It’s a long process, but be persistent and you’ll get there.

Finally, number 5…drum roll, please…Military barbell press. You can do this seated or standing. I personally prefer standing as it engages your core more but be careful not to make this into a push press by using your legs to help you with the press. Focusing on those bouder shoulders, the top of that hourglass figure, usually neglected by most females. It’s a great exercise to help build strength and shape girls! It’ll take time, the shoulders are a small muscle, but keep going at it.

If you haven’t noticed the pattern, they are in a push/pull routine. You could do these 5 exercises 3 times a week and you would see improvements. Incorporating push/pull into your workouts is a great way to target various muscles instead of isolating just the one. When I go through a workout I switch between push exercise like a squat, then a pull exercise, like a deadlift. Both focused on legs, yes, but different target muscles being used, allowing the opposite muscle to rest slightly.

Lifting weights WON’T make you manly, bulky or hench!

Let’s remember girls, lifting weights WON’T make you manly, bulky, or hench! It’ll shape your body, improve strength and you’ll find you lose fat, with a healthy balanced diet too. I also regulary post videos of these exercises on my Instagram so come and say hey! Any questions feel free to comment below and I’ll get back to you!!


V x


Instagram: @vikkiaxellfit

Twitter: @vikkiaxellfit


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