The Benefits Of One Lift A Day

Written by Alex Dillon

One Lift A Day

In a lot of instances, the reason for not attending a gym or exercising is that one simply doesn’t have the time to do so.  Trainers, exercise enthusiasts and gym owners will often humour that response and suggest that nothing is more important than training or making gains, or that you should make the time to train.  The flaw in this idyllic response is that it just isn’t that simple.


Quite often, life happens and you’re left with half an hour to spare with little clue what to use that half an hour for.  Well, half an hour is plenty of time to get one exercise done, dusted and completed and if you string 7 of those together, you can focus on one lift a day and continue to make progress!  Here are my top 7 exercises you can perform individually throughout the week with that precious half an hour.

overhead squat

Back Squat


This is a must.  I could bet my house that +90% of strength and conditioning coaches would agree.  Our legs support us and carry us, you want them to be strong and resilient.


Ladies, this exercise massively engages hamstrings and glutes, so for “hump” development, you’d do yourself a disservice leaving this out.  Gents, studies have shown that men who performed back squats alongside bicep curls, ended up with bigger biceps than those who performed bicep curls alone.

Chin Up


A brilliantly versatile exercise that can be adapted to the athlete’s needs/ability.  Superb for developing your wings and the athletic V-shape.

Box Jump


You may be thinking “this isn’t actually a lift” and you do have a point.  Sort of.  This exercise is fantastic for improving power output and the almighty science has proven, body weight is the optimal load for producing maximal power.  Simple!  Being strong is amazing, but being strong and fast is even better.

body composition goals

Military Press


This exercise is used far too little.  The military press is amazing for developing broader shoulders and overhead pressing strength.  Depending on the rep range/volume load you use, the goal you achieve can vary massively.


I tend to use this exercise super-setted with some rear delt flyes, band face pulls or any other rear delt low load exercise to develop the whole deltoid.  Don’t forget about the muscles you can’t see in the mirror!

Press Up


Again, this exercise is very versatile.  The slight alterations you can make to alter the adaptation you achieve from this are endless.  My favourite is weighted press ups, using press up grips to create a neutral grip.  This doesn’t just challenge your horizontal pressing strength, but also your trunk stability too.  Keep your hips nice and high and press away.  You’ll develop a heroic chest in no time!


Lifting your feet onto a bench, or changing the angle of your body also changes which part of the chest you target.  For example, to simulate an incline press, raise your feet onto a box to hit your upper chest.  Bring your hands underneath your shoulders, or just inside, to develop sleeve filling triceps.


Single Leg RDL


A fantastic rehab, conditioning, injury prevention, hamstring/glute development, whatever you’d like to classify it as, exercise.  Ladies, just like the back squat, for hump development, this exercise is second only to the best squat.


Not only does it develop a goddess like posterior chain, but also develops stability through your hips, knees and ankles.  We’ve already established being strong and fast is amazing, being strong, fast and stable is unbeatable.



I apologise.  Let me say that again, I apologise.  In terms of tying all of these exercises together and adding a conditioning element to your week, there is no better exercise than a burpee.  Break them down, start small, allow yourself plenty of rest and build up from there, trust me.


This exercise targets both upper and lower body conditioning and will really get your heart racing.  Wear a heart rate monitor and you can easily use them to stay in various zones of % heart rate.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Chris Appleton

Chris Appleton

Writer and expert

Chris is an editor and a level 3 qualified Personal Trainer, with a BA honours degree in Sports Coaching and Development, and a level 3 qualification in Sports Nutrition. He has experience providing fitness classes and programs for beginners and advanced levels of clients and sports athletes. Chris is also a qualified football coach, delivering high-level goalkeeping and fitness training at a semi-professional level, with nutritional advice to help maintain optimal performance. His experience in the sports and fitness industry spans 15 years and is continuously looking to improve. In his spare time, Chris likes to dedicate it to his family while training in the gym.

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