If I Could Only Choose One Weight Training Exercise…

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:

  1. builds core strength
  2. improves posture
  3. increases grip strength
  4. effectively stimulates the secretion of testosterone and growth hormone.  (These hormones build muscles and improves body composition.)
  5. strengthens the posterior chain, which is the upper back, middle back, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings
  6. strengthens the upper body, which includes the shoulders, arms, and back
  7. ties all moving parts together, increasing mobility, efficiency, and overall strength.