What Are The 5 Best Exercises?

What Are The 5 Best Exercises? This image of a question opens the article which aims to answer the question: What Are The 5 Best Exercises?

Article Contents

The 5 Best Exercises
Best Exercise #1: Rowing
Best Exercise #2: Kettlebell Swing
Best Exercise #3: Running
Best Exercise #4: Barbell Clean and Jerk
Best Exercise #5: Skipping


In his pursuit of physical and martial arts perfection Bruce Lee incorporated resistance, body weight and cardiovascular exercises into his training regime. After much consideration and exercise experimentation he identified what he considered to be the 5 best exercises for developing both functional physicality and building strength in each of the body’s major muscle groups.

These 5 exercises formed the foundation of what he called his ‘general’ or ‘overall’ development routine which he performed three time per week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). And while ‘Lee left no exact record of the weights, sets, or repetitions he employed with this particular routine, there is ample evidence’ to suggest that he performed ‘2 sets of between 8 and 12 repetitions’ on each of the 5 exercises (Little 1998).

But, I bet you’re begging to know, what were those 5 exercises that the world’s greatest martial artist employed to forge his body in to a lean, mean, kung fu fighting machine?

Lee’s best exercises included: 1) clean and press; 2) biceps curl; 3) shoulder press; 4) squat; and 5) bent-over row.

However, a bit of investigation will show that his exercise selection was somewhat flawed. For example, why select shoulder press when the very same movement features in the clean and press? Here he would essentially be training the same muscle group twice in the same session. Arguably this is a waste of time. Not only that but it negates the opportunity to make use of better exercises.