“If you could only perform five exercises for the rest of your life, which five would you choose?”
This really gets me thinking, as for the last 9 years I’ve had a gym with everything I could want at my disposal, so to now trim it down to what 5 exercises I would choose to do for the rest of my life – given my chosen goal, to Age Athletically.
The ability to move an object (or objects) from point A to point B is absolutely critical, and often overlooked in most gym settings. My personal favorite is the Sandbag Gut Carry as it does a tremendous job of strengthening the hips and lower back.
This can be weighted or not – the basic practice of getting your body from the floor to your feet is the important part. For those with strength goals, the heavy Get-Ups leaves no weak link in the body. The Strongmen of the good-ole days would use the 48kg Get-Up as a rite of passage.
Same as the Get-Up – depending on where you are in your journey – weighted or unweighted both have their place. Working with deep unweighted can be very beneficial to your long term knee and back health. If your goals are more focused on building strength (capabilities, resiliency, injury resistance, metabolism, etc) then I highly recommend the Sandbag Gut Squat. This pattern is very easy to learn, allows you strengthen the legs, glutes, and back without loading the spine.
I wanted to include some kind of hip hinging exercise and of all the options, 1 really stands out to me. The Single-Arm KB Swings help strengthen the hips, core (in an anti-rotation pattern), and even the shoulder girdle & rotator cuff. It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of exercises.
That’s right, for number 5 I’d choose the Push-up. Shoulder strength and core bracing in 1 exercise, I’ll take it. I did an absolutely inordinate number of these last Monday and for the next 4 days my midsection was slightly tender to the touch. The great benefit that the Push-Up has over a Bench Press variation (other than the core bracing) is the ability of the shoulder blades to move freely on the Push Up.
In the video attached I address a common shoulder fault in the push-up that causes people unnecessary discomfort from the movement.