Jack's Dirty Dozen

Whilst I use over 150 different exercises across my tailored online programme, I also like to stress that huge progress can be achieved with just a handful of basic exercises. Below are 13 of my go to exercises, the Dirty Dozen.  Given their simplicity and effectiveness the title is a bit unfair, although not many people are fans of No13. 


You can take any combination of the 13 exercise below (example 6 exercises performed in 3 supersets) and build many different strength sessions. Combine this with some basic cardio work like walking or jogging for 15 mins and you already have an effective programme.


Please enjoy mixing up the exercises below and do share any combinations that you work really well for you!

1 Squat

If you’re just starting out, doing body weight squats is not as daunting as getting under a loaded barbell! Having a strong foundation for squats is so important as its an exercise we use again and again and as a bonus squats will challenge your core too! 

Reps 12 -15

2 Lunge

Working your legs is essential for many reasons, including building strength, muscle and burning loads of calories. 

Top Tip – Always start out with body weight lunges before moving on to using DB or KB’s 

Reps 10 each side

3 Chest Press

Using dumbbells allows a greater range of motion than using a barbell and this in turn means you can work more of the pec muscles during the exercise 

Top Tip – Don’t go too heavy to quick and loose that technique 

Reps 12 - 15 

4 Dumbbell Flye

Doing chest flyes is a great way to isolate the chest. Most chest press movements engage more with the shoulders and triceps, but flyes keep the focus purely on the chest. 

Top Tip – Don’t be afraid to exaggerate the arch in your lower back slightly. This will help keep the tension on your chest as opposed to your shoulders 

Reps 12 - 15

5 Push Up

The classic push-up is a great exercise for improving muscular endurance in your pecs, front shoulders and triceps, as well as a fantastic way to work these muscles to full failure to encourage muscle size growth. 

Top Tip - Don’t rush your reps – taking your time to lower and lift your torso and even have a little 1 second pause at the bottom. 

Reps 12 - 15

6 Dumbbell Press

Shoulder strength is so important to have that all round strength and is often what people miss out of their workouts 

Top Tip – Don’t drop those elbows below that 90-degree angle as it will cause you unnecessary strain on those shoulders 

Reps 12 - 15

7 Dumbbell Thruster

This is a terrific compound exercise that works muscles all over the body and bring together the squat work we did earlier 

Reps 12 - 15

8 Bicep Curl

If you’re a beginner you may be wary of picking up free weights of any kind. With biceps curls you won’t need to worry about that because it’s not about going heavy, it’s about the feel of the muscle lengthening and shortening. You can start with the 2.5kg ones and still feel it! 

Top Tip - Keep your elbows pinned to your sides. Don’t let the chicken wings come out!! 

Rep 10 - 12

9 Tricep Kick Back

The triceps, which make up two-thirds of your upper arm, play an essential supporting role so we got to work them bad boys out! 

Top Tip - When straightening your arm at the top portion of the lift, be careful not to bend at the wrist. This removes a lot of the tension from the triceps and places it on the forearms. You should also ensure your arm is held up against the body at all times 

Rep 10 – 12 each arm

10 Dead Bugs

The dead bug is an excellent exercise for promoting total core stability while improving coordination.

Top Tip - Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to stability – don’t go to fast! 

Reps 15 each side

11 Leg Raise

Leg lifts or leg raises work the core as well as the hips and low back, making them a great move to master for improved overall strength. While sit-ups and crunches work the abs, they don't recruit other stabilizing muscles like leg lifts do. 

Top Tip - Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to stability – don’t go to fast! 

Reps 15 - 20

12 Plank

There is perhaps no exercise that provides more benefits with less movement than the classic plank. 

Top Tip – Don’t be afraid to progress to more difficult version of the plank when you have mastered the one that you are on! 

Reps – start with 30 seconds, aim for 1 min and build from there.

13 Burpees

Burpees works your arms, back, chest, core, glutes and legs – you name it it’s a full body workout in one movement, it also works as a heart rate raiser helping you burn through those calories! 

Top Tip - Engage your core at all times. Perfect the basic burpee first before moving on to the advanced ones! 

Reps 10 - 12

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