Exercise tends to be a highly commercialized, highly argued area of expertise. Trends come in, stick around for a few months, and then are simultaneously stored into the back pocket of society. There was the ab chair, the ab belt, the crunching craze, to yoga or not to yoga, and so on and so forth. Not to mention the perfect pushup, perfect pull-up, perfect this and perfect that. But what are the best exercises that an individual searching for eternal health and wellness should do? Let’s get back to basics; lifting should be done the way Grok did it way back when. Here are my Top 5 movements:
1. Snatch/Overhead Squat
The snatch is regarded as one of the premium movements to test an athletes strength. It combines explosiveness with brute strength with stability all in a single movement. However, it can be highly technical. It is a whole body and multi-joint movement, attempt with caution. Anytime you have weights over your head, you are going to be really working your shoulder stabilizers.
2. Kettle Bell Swings
Similar to the snatch, the kettle bell swing is a very hip explosive movement. Along with being an explosive movement, the kettle bell swing is an incredible leg and core workout. When performed correctly, the swing can really strengthen your hamstring which is very important in avoiding injuries.
3. Turkish Get Up
It’s all about stability with this exercise. Core stability, shoulder stability, and even leg stability are all key functions of this movement. The turkish get up will also greatly help you with your balance in everyday life. Not to mention, this is one of the most functional movements to perform in a weight room. If you think about it, anytime you try and get out of bed, you are doing some form of a turkish get up. If you want to be able to get out of bed when you are older, try some turkish get ups.
4. Clean & Jerk
Another one of the classic olympic movements, the clean & jerk can really improve your strength. It combines power, speed and strength into a single movement. In almost a poetic notion, the clean & jerk starts with a powerful deadlift, followed by an explosive jump and pull under the barbell. That is followed by a front squat, an incredibly demanding core movement. Then, an explosive jerk of the bar, and a quick sweep of the feet into a lunged position.
Some might disagree with this movement being on this list, however I think it is quite necessary. As we have talked about before, a “sprint” does not necessarily have to mean running. All a sprint really is, is doing something very fast, at a high intensity, for a short period of time. It could be a crossfit MetCon, or a few quick down and back pool sprints. Whatever your choice might be, getting that heart rate going and hitting that Vo2 max is really the key here. Getting to that heavy breathing point is going to improve your breathing and will help you burn fat and build muscle.
Whatever your interests might be, these essential movements will improve your strength, flexibility, agility, explosiveness, balance, coordination, etc, etc. If you are unsure of what you should be doing in the gym, check out our post on a Students Guide to the Gym.