Jeff Nippard and Will Tennyson Break Down the Top Exercises for Each Muscle Group

What exercises will build up the best body?

If you are looking for a comprehensive full-body workout but cannot figure out which exercises to choose, then stay tuned. This is a common issue that people have with full body workouts, as they cannot decide which exercises to do. Luckily, fitness influencers Will Tennyson and Jeff Nippard recently got together to break down the best exercises for each muscle group. 

Let’s take a look.

Best Exercises Criteria


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There are 3 things that Jeff Nippard takes into consideration when they are breaking down the top exercises for each muscle group:

  • High Tension & Stretch: Nippard is a firm believer that muscles require resistance during stretching to be effective.
  • The Exercise Should Feel Good: The exercise should be pain-free and fluid, targeting the muscles rather than straining the joints.
  • The Potential for Overload: Gradually increasing weights and reps in training is crucial for progress, so does each exercise have the ability for you to overload the muscle?

Best Leg Exercises

The legs contain some of the most important muscles in your entire body when it comes to developing a balanced physique, and they can be broken down into the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Below are Nippard’s suggestions for maximizing their growth

Smith Machine Squats

You may think that the Smith machine is for people who go to Planet Fitness, but some of the greatest legs on the planet have been crafted by this machine. Smith machine squats put an emphasis on the quads and glutes. 

Nippard suggests performing long-length partial reps focused on lengthening the quads to enhance the movement’s effectiveness. Tennyson argues that this technique, lacking rest at the top, is more challenging than exercises utilizing a full range of motion, which is what is often suggested. This can also be better for hypertrophy.

Leg Curls

A favorite of bodybuilder Tom Platz, leg curls are known for being a great hamstring builder, as they fully engage the muscle. While many enjoy the lying version, Nippard prefers the seated variation, citing the advantage of the starting position, which pre-stretches the hamstrings.

For those who may have some doubt, Nippard references a study that compared seated and lying leg curls, and states how in the study it was found that seated version promotes greater muscle hypertrophy in the hamstrings. As a bonus, Nippard suggests leaning forward during the exercise amplifies its impact, as long as the position remains comfortable.

Best Chest Exercises


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Everyone’s favorite day of the week; chest day. What exercises does Nippard suggest for this?

Barrel Incline Bench Press

Nippard highlights the incline press as a key exercise for upper pec development, and to further back up his claims he references a study from 2020. Nippard points out that both incline and flat bench presses equally engage the middle and lower pecs; but the incline bench press specifically targets the upper chest, which the flat bench will not do. The upper part of the chest is responsible for the “3D” look.

Another piece of advice Nippard gives is to use the 45-degree free weight incline press for its superior strength carryover compared to its Smith machine counterpart.

Seated Cable Flyes

When it comes to the seated cable flyes, Nippard suggests advancing the chair position for a cable flye to enable a deeper stretch, which is more effective for keeping tension right on the chest. Rather than doing your standard 3×12 or whatever you do, Nippard suggests performing just one set to failure when engaging in high-repetition exercises.

Best Back Exercise

The back is a crucial muscle for building up a thick, wide physique. So what are the best exercises for this muscle group?

Chest Supported Row and Pulldown

Nippard likes to use chest supported movements for extra stability and to help effectively engage the back. When completing this movement, Nippard advises allowing the back to round just a bit at the bottom of the row so the scapula protrudes. This position allows for a more intense contraction when pulling the weights by squeezing the scapula together.

For pulldowns, Nippard suggests a close grip. He also suggests pulling the elbows straight down to better target the lats.

Best Shoulder Exercises

Shoulders are responsible for giving you that wide look up top.

Cable Lateral Raises and Reverse Pec Decks

Nippard suggests that you should adjust the cable to the hand level, as you can enhance the stretch of the movement. 

For the reverse pec decks, Nippard suggests that you position yourself sideways and reach across for a deep stretch to really hit the rear delts.

Best Arm Exercises

Now for the favorite of everyone’s workout routine, arms!

Bayesian Cable Curl and Overhead Cable Tricep Extension

Bayesian cable curls are performed facing away from the cable stack, and you bend forward slightly to get a full contraction. Then you lean back as you lower the weight to fully stretch the biceps. For this movement, Nippard recommends adjusting the cable to waist height when performing Bayesian cable curls to train the biceps in a stretched position. 

For the triceps, an overhead routine targeting the long head of the triceps is optimal due to the shoulder positioning. When you grow the long head, this enhances the triceps’ appearance from behind and contributes to a more pronounced hang during front poses, such as the front double biceps pose.

Cable Tricep Kickback

While the overhead tricep extension does not necessarily give the best contraction, cable kickbacks do. 

Wrap up

Overall, when it comes to creating a full body workout routine, finding the right exercises can be hard. That being said, do you agree with this list of the best exercises for each muscle group?

Let us know!

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.