My family and I played "The Deserted Island" game this weekend. We each asked ourselves if we were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 items could you take with you and why.
That pales in comparison to what my 4 year old Frankie would take: her plastic pink sunglasses, her Alvin & The Chipmunks DVD, the other 6 people in our family (apparently we only count as 1 item), Rice Crispies and a giraffe.
The game got me thinking about a question that I received over email last week.
Someone had asked me if I could only choose 5 exercises, what would they be? Which 5 do I think are essential to anyone’s program?
So here’s my answer…
1) Turkish Get-Ups – I wrote an article about TGUs HERE and why I was convinced that they are now the King of all exercises. Anytime you have an exercise that can help correct muscle imbalance and help with mobility issues in addition to being a great conditioning exercise, you have to at least consider it in your top 5. TGUs combine shoulder & abdominal stability with lower body strength, coordination and mobility all into one exercise. If you don’t do these, you need to start now.
2) Chin-ups – If you do chin-ups the right way they become a full body exercise. Doing them the right way involves you contracting and arching your entire posterior chain from your calves to your upper back. Focus on pulling your chest to the bar (not jerking your head at the top to barely get your chin over). Stop the exercise when your form starts to deteriorate.
3) 2-arm KB Swings – I’ve been using 2-arm KB swings as my primary conditioning exercise over the winter. No other exercise combines hamstring & glute strength & endurance, athletic power and grip strength into one exercise. I’m fully convinced that doing swings have helped me get a lot stronger and have allowed me to stay lean over the "hibernation" months.
4) Push-ups (all variations) – Hand stand push-ups (with my feet on a wall) are my favorites right now. I also like doing these off rings (or blast straps) for some added shoulder stability. If you’re tired of doing the plain vanilla kind or find that you’re just bored of them, try some decline-close-grip push-ups with your feet on a chair. Those are my go-to push-ups early in the AM to help me get some blood into my muscles.
5) 1-Leg Squats – I was a little reluctant to put Pistols in this list because it’s really hard to do them properly. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that pistols are an important exercise for both muscle building and performance. I’m a HUGE fan of 1-leg exercises (the TGUs can be considered a 1-leg exercise as well). There isn’t much in life that we do with 2 legs at a time, so the carryover of 1-leg exercises into the "real world" is very high.
So, did I miss anything?
Leave your comments below and let me know.
Chris, CSCS, CTT
P.S. There’s a BIG Promo coming up on Wednesday. Stay tuned for details