If you could only choose one weight training exercise, what would it be?
I’ve been asked this question a few times in my career, and my answer has stayed the same. In the real world, I would have many choices. Regardless, let’s think hypothetically. What factors would I consider to make my choice. Blow are a list of factors I would use to make my decision:
- Is the exercise good for longevity?
- In other words, can I perform this exercise at any age without any adverse effects. Will the exercise slow the aging process?
- Can I remain injury free performing the exercise?
- There are many effective exercises to choose from, but how many of them also come with a high risk of injury. The effectiveness-to-risk ratio (ERR) must be reasonable for me to consider the exercise for long term.
- Will the exercise train multiple muscles groups?
- For me to get the most of one exercise, it must train more than one muscle group at a time. This will help to burn the most amount of calories and build functional strength.
- Will the exercise strengthen my core?
- When building a strength and conditioning program, the core must be an integral aspect. As we age, maintaining a strong core is beneficial for longevity, efficiency of movement, and maintaining mobility.
- What effect will the exercise have on my posture?
- Because the exercise is my only choice, repetition must not compromise my posture.
- Will the exercise require a lot of equipment?
- I would like the exercise to utilize very little equipment, be cost effective, and require very little space. The exercise must also require very little setup.
After careful consideration, I choose the deadlift.
Along with the factors I shared with you at the beginning, here are a few benefits that make the deadlift a complete exercise:
- builds core strength
- improves posture
- increases grip strength
- effectively stimulates the secretion of testosterone and growth hormone. (These hormones build muscles and improves body composition.)
- strengthens the posterior chain, which is the upper back, middle back, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings
- strengthens the upper body, which includes the shoulders, arms, and back
- ties all moving parts together, increasing mobility, efficiency, and overall strength.