Dr. Jamie Richards
What are the 6 best exercises everyone can do?
I was asked this question by a patient recently and before I could give an adequate answer, I had to give it some deep thought.
Initially, my mind was filled will all of the challenging lifts and movements that could be done in a well outfitted training facility, but unless “everyone” had access to such a place or access to the required equipment, some of those movements wouldn’t fit the bill.
The other MAJOR criteria that needed to be accounted for is scalability. Could the lifts and movements be paired down for those with minimal fitness experience or simply poor health?
With that said, here are the 6 best exercises everyone can do...
1. The Squat
The squat is a full body, compound movement that trains thighs, hamstrings, hips and glutes. Due to the weight bearing nature of squatting, this movement also strengthens bones, ligaments and tendons.
A squat can range from a full squat while holding a barbell with extra resistance across your back to a very scaled partial squatting movement while holding onto something for extra stability.
2. The Deadlift
The deadlift is straightforward…bend down and pick something up. It’s a movement most people perform daily. Once again, it could range from picking up an extremely heavy barbell from the floor to just bending over slightly and standing back up.
In addition to its simplicity, the deadlift requires minimal equipment, strengthens the midline, trains more muscles simultaneously than any other lift, it’s safe, develops grip strength and has real world application.
3. The Carry
A natural extension from the deadlift is “the carry”. It’s as simple as walking with resistance.
This movement can be performed by carrying something at your sides, over your head, or in one hand only. The benefits of this movement include upper body strength, grip strength and fat loss.
Trust me…it sounds easy, but 100 feet later you’ll be breathing as if you just ran a marathon.
4. The Sprint
Speaking of gasping for air…sprinting is next on our list.
Sprint training is among the most explosive training you can do. It trains the lower body, burns off layers of fat and builds muscle.
I know what you’re thinking: “how would my grandmother be able to sprint?” It’s all relative! Even walking as fast as possible would pass as sprinting for grammy.
5. The Push-up
The push-up is a full body, highly functional movement that involves midline stability, upper body strength development, and best of all, requires nothing other than your hands and something to push against.
The ideal version of a push-up includes maintaining a plank-like torso and pushing your body off the floor. If this is too difficult, even pushing yourself away from the wall will do the trick.
6. The Pull-up
The last choice was a difficult one, but I settled on the pull-up for a few reasons. As with previous exercises on our “everyone can do” list, the pull-up and its variations needed very little equipment.
It’s true, a full pull-up is a very difficult movement and a tremendous test of true strength however, the ability to modify the pull-up into something much easier made this an appealing choice to cap our list.
Now…you could make the case some of these movements may be borderline “too difficult” but their upside was just too high to leave them out.
Modify these movements where required, but honestly, no more excuses…it’s time to get moving and start living the life you want instead of the one you’re still complaining about.
What’s the biggest challenge keeping you from exercising?