This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Bart Loews.

You only really need one exercise for each main muscle group.

No matter what anyone tells you, no matter what exercises you do, the first few months on any workout you’ll see great gains.

Most workouts will have you do 2–3 exercises for 4–5 sets per exercise.

There is no physiological reason, as a beginner, that you couldn’t get by doing 1 exercise for 6–8 sets per muscle group.

You won’t hit all the different motions, you won’t isolate all the different muscles, but by doing major, simple, multi-joint exercises like bench press, rows, and squats, you can hit all of your major muscle groups, see great growth, and not waste any time.

Do this every other day and you’ll grow plenty.

If you want to be more of a body builder, after a few months, if you have the time, you can split it up (like push, pull, legs) do more exercises targeting different areas (Like incline bench, different rowing motions), isolation exercises (bicep curls, hamstring curls).

As a beginner, you’ll get growth doing it either way. If you’re pressed for time, just do one exercise per group, do a few more sets and you’ll gain. If you have plenty of time, you can do various exercises to strategically target different muscles. You’ll gain there too.

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