It is not easy to decide which exercise is the best for each person, simply because we are all built differently. There may be an exercise that works fine for one person, but do not give any good results to someone else.
For instance, the 'bent over barbell rows' is recommended by most people as the so called king of back exercises, however I cannot for the life of me feel it working my back. On the other hand, one arm dumbbell rows work great for me. Don't believe that any single specific exercise is a must for a particular body part.
Why Beginners May Need To Work With The Basic Lifts
I understand why trainers suggest the standard compound lifts for each body part. These lifts are key in providing the best "bang for the buck" and are the top exercises for functional strength. The problem is, however, at times it takes weeks to months for a beginner to feel anything with some exercises.
It Takes Some Time to Establish the Mind-To-Muscle Connection
The big compound exercises are important and should be used, but they are the exercises that take the longest to "feel". Over time you will develop a strong mind-to-muscle link and you will really be able to milk these exercises, but until that happens I recommend that you work a little more on exercises that you can really feel.
Give Priority to Exercises that Work for You
During the first four years of lifting weights, I performed seated behind the neck military presses. I heard this was the greatest exercise for getting wider shoulders. Honestly, I was terribly weak at these and they never at no time felt like they were working my shoulders.
My partner was working his way up to one hundred and eighty five pounds for five reps and I was stuck at one hundred for five reps for four years. After I figured that I was not getting any results from doing this lift I decided to do seated dumbbell military presses and stuck with them ever since. I also do some nautilus military presses and they work fine for me as well.
My Workout Partner Hated Barbell Curls
I love flat bar barbell curls however this dude did not feel them in his biceps. He liked concentration curls and Preacher Hammer Curls a lot more, but I get nothing out of these. Therefore, the point is that you need to choose exercises that work for you well. Do not believe you have to stick to what is generally recommended. If what is recommended doesn't work, you have do what works for you.
The Exercises That Don't Work For You Now May Improve Over Time
If you hate incline barbell presses now, do not think that it will always be this way. Over a period of time they may become your favorite. I used to dislike flat bench dumbbell flyes and preferred cable crossovers. I only felt dumbbell flyes working my shoulders and cable crossovers really seemed to really hit my chest muscles. It is not the same anymore. Flat bench dumbbell flyes is now working my chest very hard, so much so I have to avoid doing too much in this exercise.
What I Recommend
Spend most of your time on the exercises that feel great for you now and give them priority. If you do 3 exercises for a body part, make sure at least 2 of them are working the target muscle group. Do those 2 first, and then use one exercise that is suppose to be the best for that muscle group. Over time you will have a compilation of top exercises which will be unique to you.