- If you had to pick 5 exercises to use for the rest of your life would they include these?
- Are you training to build optimal fitness and function over the long haul?
- If you had to could you pick 5 exercises for yourself to sustain your fitness and function for a lifetime?
- What exercises would you choose?
To me strength exercises should be about functionality and functionality is about quick and easy application. In addition to this strength is also the goal.
Strength Exercises For A Lifetime Of Strength And Function
So if we examine this scenario closely then bodyweight resistance is definitely going to factor into the equation. However there may be another training implement, or two to include for fast and effective application as well.
I don’t think anyone can argue with the power of the almighty push-up. This bodyweight calisthenic has been around for ages and it will be around until man no longer walks the planet.
The value of the push-up is that there is no restriction on you being able to get in your strength work. The fact is that you don’t need a lot of time, space, or any equipment whatsoever in order to bang out a set, or multiple sets of push-ups. Convenience is a strong trait and you can’t beat the convenience of the push-up.
In addition to this push-ups can be varied to achieve different training results. In other words, you can perform a huge number of standard push-ups to build muscular strength and endurance, but you can also perform push-ups in different ways to challenge yourself further as you progress at the movement.
A simple change of hand position, foot position, weight distribution, push-up angle, and the speed and tempo of the movement are all variables that can completely challenge you in different ways using this single movement.
To put it simply the push-up makes the top 5 easily.
Just like the push-up the pull-up is another must have when it comes to making a top 5 selection. Like push-ups are essential for the pushing component of movement your pull-up strength is also going to handle the pulling aspect of your movement needs.
This is important for building strong posterior muscles consisting of your shoulders and lats. Strong posterior muscles are absolutely crucial to have for longterm health and performance. This is also necessary for developing and maintaining symmetry so that you can keep a good posture and keep injuries away.
Once again no real equipment is needed to perform this movement…at least nothing much to carry around with you. Now having said that you’ll still have to find something to suspend yourself from, but this can be found in many places that might not be as inconvenient as you might think.
Door frames, tree branches, a TRX, and park playgrounds are a few places you can start for finding potential pull-up gyms. The point is that once you find that pull-up bar, or structure to pull your body up with then you’re off to work.
Once again this fits the narrative about convenience and you can also leverage your pull-ups in different ways to achieve a different result (just like with push-ups). You can perform the pull-ups by assisting yourself with a jump (jump pull-up) if necessary, you can perform an isometric by statically holding your body in place, or you can control yourself in the descent of the pull-up really challenging and strengthening your grip, forearms, upper arms, and lats.
At the end of the day you’re covering a lot of bases with the pull-up so it makes the top 5.
Now I know the word squat by itself is a bit generic because there are many variations of squats. So for the sake of argument we can say that we can utilize this movement to perform it either loaded or unloaded.
If you have access to a barbell for squats then great, but if not then you can squat while holding a rock, a sandbag, or even a kettlebell if you can get you hands on it. The beauty of performing squats is that if you have none of those things available then you can get in what you need with bodyweight squats and simply kick your volume into high gear to challenge your strength and muscular endurance.
Once again squats are convenient, functional, and absolutely necessary in terms of human movement and health. You must have strong legs in order to have a functional body that is equipped to handle life.
So knowing this to be a necessity it is for this very reason that squats make the top 5.
If we’re talking function then kettlebell swings are hard to turn down. Just like squats will help to build strong quads… kettlebell swings help cover your posterior leg muscles activating your glutes, hamstrings, hips, and low back.
Kettlebell swings are also a ballistic movement so they help to keep your body sharp for quicker and more forceful movement. Because of the ballistic and dynamic nature involved with performing kettlebell swings this movement will also do wonders for your cardiovascular fitness as well.
If you don’t believe me on this then try banging out 20 or 30 swings with a 53 lb. kettlebell. Believe me you’ll notice the oxygen debt your cardiovascular system will have to work to pay back in a hurry just from doing a single set.
The kettlebell swing is a hard hitting movement that meets a lot of needs in terms of strength, function, and overall conditioning. A strong posterior chain of muscles is necessary for a strong functioning body so kettlebell swings make the top 5.
Sprinting is undeniably an essential movement for function and survival. By sprinting you’re keeping your body conditioned and more athletically capable for survival.
Whether you’re just having to keep yourself in tip top shape for fighting, hunting, running from danger, or just to keep your body fat percentage low then sprint work needs to be an essential part of your training.
If we’re talking about only having a top 5 go to for training then this is where sprinting will meet the need.
Convenience is also big here and with that sprints can be done with, or without additional equipment. Sprints can be leveraged to build a superior level of conditioning, they can be used to build speed, and sprints can really ramp up your metabolism while helping you to develop a serious anaerobic work capacity.
You don’t even have to hold a gun to my head for me to put sprints into my top 5. Sprints belong in the top 5, period!
Strength Exercises: The Takeaway
At the end of the day if you want to make sure your body will perform at a high level of function then you need to train with movements that will keep you sharp in foundational movement patterns. With that being said these 5 movements I mentioned here are a good start.
Which movements would you add to the list?
How many of the movements that I’ve mentioned here do you currently use in your training?
Post up and share below in the comments!
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