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Friday, July 1, 2011

The Best Exercise

In last Thursday's post I informed all you lovely loyal readers of my blog that I am going to start discussing "the best".  Today I will be talking about "The Best Exercise".

First thing you should know before I reveal what exercise I think is the best is there is no one perfect exercise.  A training program should never consist of only one movement.  Our bodies are designed to move in a variety of ways, so in order to stay healthy we must train our body with a variety of movements.

If I had to choose one, and only one, exercise to perform the rest of my life... what would it be...

I suppose I would have to choose the Clean & Jerk.

I know what you more astute individuals are going to argue, "the clean and the jerk are two separate exercises Mike!!  You're such a dope!!".  Yeah, but... It's my blog so I'm going to say it's one exercise.  So there!

I would choose the Clean and Jerk for the following reasons...

1. It may be the most functional exercise there is.  It teaches you how to pick a load u[ off the ground and put it over your head.  You can't get any more functional than that!

2.  Every muscle and every joint in the body is utilized during this movement.

3. The Clean & Jerk works on all 10 "General Physical Skills"
  • Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance:  when performed at high repetitions.
  • Stamina:  when performed at high repetitions.
  • Strength:  Any time you throw heavy weight over head you are improving your strength!
  • Flexibility:  My hips have become much more flexible since I began Olympic lifting. The Clean forces you to squat deep in order to catch the bar correctly.
  • Power:  Olympic lifters are the most powerful athletes in the world.
  • Speed:  Guess what sprinters do in the weight room to get faster?  That's right!  Clean & Jerks!
  • Coordination:  Timing is essential when performing a Clean & Jerk.  You must time the second pull perfectly and get under the bar with proper foot position.
  • Agility:  Dropping under the bar during the Clean and the Jerk requires great agility.
  • Balance:  Is essential during the catch phase of the clean and the catch phase of the Jerk.
  • Accuracy:  You must be accurate with your timing and foot position to have a successful lift. 
4.  You can perform the Clean & Jerk with heavy weight and lower repetitions if you want to work on power and strength.  Or you can perform the Clean & Jerk at high repetitions to increase your cardiovascular/respiratory endurance and stamina.

Or if you want a real ball-buster, do heavy weight at high reps!

30 reps @165lb

If you could only choose one exercise what would it be and why?


You already took mine but I love the deadlift as well for pretty much all the same reasons you listed for the clean and jerk. The one thing about the deadlift is there are different stances. You can do the more well known stance with your legs inside your arms and your arms at a shoulder width apart or a "sumo" deadlift with your feet opened up and hands in closer together. If doing the deadlift correctly it is extremely functional. It teaches proper "picking up something off the floor" posture while strengthening your lower back, spinal alignment and keeping your upper back and shoulder blades strong. Oh and you use your legs too!

@msimon I LOVE the deadlift too! Like you said, "it teaches proper picking up something off the floor". There are way too many people that don't know how to do that properly.

I would say running, but only because its what I've been doing for 15 years! Clean and Jerk seem like a great exercise though. I also like the burpee!

burpee has the best name! so therefor it is more motivational and exciting to want to do. :)

@Chuck Running is an essential part of any training program, but it lacks a strength component. What I do like about running as an exercise is you can vary the distance, time and intensity to get different training stimulus.

@KT You can't argue with that reasoning ;)

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