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My 10 Desert Island Exercises

If I was trapped on a desert island and could only do 10 different exercises (a likely scenario) these are what I would pick!

1. Pull Ups

A great back all rounder. I believe in a situation like this where options are limited, we need to pick a good helping of exercises that give us bang for our buck, and only resort to isolation exercises as a last resort to hit a muscle.

2. Seated Cable Chest Press

Because I'm trying to maximise my selection, I need to be mindful to pick exercises that challenge the entire range of a muscle. When we use free weights to train our chest, we're not getting any tension on the muscle at the top of the exercise. By using a cable we can change this, and create a constant challenge to the chest.

3. Dual Cable Lateral Raises

Same as the cable chest press, a lateral raise performed on a cable machine allows us to train the delts at both the top and bottom of the exercise. Using dumbbells means we get no challenge to the delt at the bottom. If we're limited on the number of choices, I believe a dual cable lateral raise is our best option here.

4. Deadlift

Another good allrounder. Not only is this going to be a good way for us to train our back, but we're going to be getting some lower body work done as well.

5. Single Arm Cable Pushdown

The triceps is one of the only muscles where I've opted to include more than one exercise for (as you'll see further down) and that's because I want to get two different sholulder angles in there to maximise growth. This exercise will train the triceps with the arm by our side (putting more work on the medial and lateral heads of the Triceps Brachii).

6. Single Arm Cable Skullcrusher

This exercise is going to cover the long head portion of our triceps training. On top of this, using the cable macine will also allow us to keep a constant challenge to the muscles, whereas a dumbbell skullcrusher, set up traditionally, won't.

7. Leg Press

Not only is this going to be a great way for us to hit our legs, but we can be clever with it. Using foot position and different cues, we can play around with what muscles are getting more work. If we want to run a couple of months of more quad focussed pressing we can, and then for the next couple months we can switch over to more glute based.

8. Face Away Cable Curls

If you've never used this exercise before, change that right now. The Face Away Cable Curl is a fantastic exercise to grow your biceps. This exercise not only offers us a full range challenge, but it will feel heavier at the top than at the bottom. This is great, because we know overloading the lengthened range of a muscle (in the case of the biceps this is when your elbow is straight) is a good boost for muscle growth.

9. Single Arm Cable Row

Just to give my lats some special attention (this is the muscle responsible for making your back look wider) I've opted to include an isolation exercise for this area. Your lats will get hit in the pull ups, but nowhere near as well as when using this exercise.

10. Leg Extension

Last, but by no means least, the Leg Extension. The Leg Extension is a pretty big key to the puzzle of building big quads. There's no other exercise that trains the quads in the same way as this machine. So, in my opinion, it should make it on to the desert island.

What 10 exercises would you take with you?


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