Push! - Pull! - Squat! - Hinge! - Brace!
By including just one exercise from each of these groups you will exercise all of the major muscle groups within your body whilst recruiting them in functional movement patterns. There’s no need to isolate individual muscles or exercise the same muscles with a variety of similar exercises. Remember that this has to fit in with a large volume of aerobic training and with work, family and social commitments too. Repeat a session such as this once or twice per week (possibly more in the off season) and ensure it can be completed well within an hour of gym time. If possible schedule strength training 5+ hours away from your aerobic endurance work in order to allow both forms of training (cellular signalling) to be optimised.
Pushing weight away from your body includes variations of chest (bench) press and shoulder press most commonly. These target muscle groups such as pectorals, deltoids and triceps plus all of the synergistic stabilising muscles around the shoulder joint especially.
Pulling weight towards the body includes exercises such as rowing movements and pull-downs (or the reverse pull-ups / chin-ups). Muscle groups are mainly those within the back (latissimus dorsi and biceps) plus the scapular stabilising muscles.
Squatting can include double and single leg variations, various foot placement options etc… and also variations of leg press. The squatting action engages all leg muscle groups and the trunk and spinal stabilisers too.
Hinging movements include deadlift varieties, bench barbell thrusts and bridging. These primarily target the posterior chain muscles (hamstrings, gluteals, lower back).
Bracing basically refers to what we often call core stability. These exercises involve us contracting and stabilising around the spine and trunk whilst moving our limbs in various ways to add resistance to.
Give it a go – choose one exercise from each group that challenges you but allows for good quality of movement and then aim to progress as the weeks go by. To add variety simply exchange exercises for alternatives that fit within the same group and include both single side (unilateral) and double sided (bilateral) exercises.