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20 Greatest Exercises of All Time – Change My Mind, If You Can

Only the best of the best.

What are the 20 greatest exercises of all time? Wow, what a common yet very specific question that top fitness coach Jeff Cavaliere decided to answer.

Jeff Cavaliere was the head physical therapist of the New York Mets for 3 years and is now a YouTube sensation. He delivers clear information without noise on his ATHLEAN-X YouTube channel.

In this list are compound exercises and isolation ones, for everyone to try regardless of their fitness level.

To be clear, these are the 20 greatest exercises of all time according to Jeff Cavaliere. Scroll down to see if you agree with it or not.

20 Greatest Exercises of All Time

Cavaliere lists the 20 greatest exercises of all time in no particular order, but we decided to group them according to what type of movement it is and muscle group. Check it out:


  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Cable Lateral Raise
  • Lying Triceps Extension
  • Dumbbell/Barbell Push Press
  • Crossover
Dumbbell bench pressSource: RP Strength
Dumbbell bench press – one of the greatest exercises of all time


  • Barbell Cheat Curl
  • Weighted Pull-Up
  • Single-Arm High Cable Row
  • Dumbbell Waiter Curl
  • Dumbbell Pullover
  • Facepull
  • Rotator Cuff External Rotation
  • Dumbbell High Pull
  • Barbell Dead Row
Biceps Workout for Bigger Arms
Barbell cheat curl


  • Squat
  • Dumbbell/Barbell Reverse Lunge
  • Deadlift
  • Barbell Hip Thrust
  • Reverse Hyper
deadlift variations


Why are these the greatest exercises of all time? Cavaliere explains each one individually in the video below, but he always takes into consideration how much muscle it builds as long as it doesn’t leave your body at risk of injury.

As a physiotherapist, being injury free is Cavaliere’s priority when it comes to working out in the gym.

To know more about his list of the 20 greatest exercises of all time, check the video below.

VIDEO – 20 Greatest Exercises of All Time

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Compound Exercises

As mentioned earlier, most of the greatest exercises of all time are compound movements. Why is that?

Compound exercises are effective for building strength because they work multiple muscle groups at once. They also recruit more muscle fibres than isolation exercises do. This means that compound moves build muscle faster and burn more calories over time. Ready to start getting fit? Here are some compound exercises you can add into your workout routine:


Squats are a great exercise for building your legs, butt, and abs. They’re also the most basic compound exercise you can do. If you want to build muscle mass and strength, squats should be at the top of your list of exercises—and there are lots of different squat variations to choose from!

The squat is performed by bending down with your back straight and lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor or lower, then standing back up again. There are several different types of squats.


The deadlift is a compound exercise that works several muscles in your body. It targets your core, legs, back and grip strength. The deadlift is one of the best full-body workouts you can do to build muscle mass and burn fat.

The deadlift also helps with other exercises such as squats, lunges and rows. If you want to improve your performance on these types of exercises then adding in some heavy deadlifts will help build up those muscles needed to get better results from those exercises.

If you are new to weightlifting or have never done any kind of workout before then I would suggest starting with lighter weights until you get used to how it feels when using heavier weights in order not hurt yourself by doing too much too soon!


Pull-ups are a great exercise to include in your workout routine. They can be done using a chair or tree branch, and they work the back, biceps, lats and abs.

greatest exercises of all timeSource: Eleiko / JST

You can also modify them to make them easier if you are just starting out on pull-ups or you have a specific injury that prevents you from doing the full movement of pulling yourself up with your arms. In general, the more challenging version is better because it will build more muscle mass throughout the upper body area by increasing strength in those muscles over time.

A good way to start developing some basic fitness levels before tackling this challenge is by doing inverted rows on an incline bench at home or at the gym; this will help strengthen core stability as well as arm strength for pull-ups later down the line.

Bench Press

The bench press is one of the most popular exercises among weightlifters. It works the chest, shoulders and triceps.

To do the exercise: lie on your back on a flat bench with your feet planted firmly on the floor. Grasp a barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and lower it toward your chest until it touches (about halfway down). Then push it back up to its original position. You can also use dumbbells for this exercise; just remember that you’ll have to increase or decrease the weight accordingly depending on which version you’re doing (the grip will be different).


In conclusion, compound exercises are a great way to get in shape quickly. They help you build muscle, lose weight and improve your overall health.

Now go back to the list of 20 greatest exercises of all time and add them to your workout.

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