T Nation

If You Could Only Do One Exercise?


#1

Im surprised to have not seen this thread on these forums recently. Basically, answer the question in the post title with justification for your choice. Some people may think this question is stupid, but I think it provides interesting insights as to what the general population thinks is important. Ill start:

For me, this would have to be the Atlas Stone lift.

Why?
I love the atlas stones because it gets virtually every muscle in the body!

The start of the lift is very much like a deadlift, requiring one to have a strong grip and lower back with the added requirement of a strong chest and biceps to squeeze the stone.

The middle portion of the lift, where the stone rests in the lifters lap is similar to a paused deep squat.

Finally, lifting the stone to the platform (or your shoulder) is similar to a front squatting movement with the added difficulty of requiring superb back and chest strength to hold the stone in front of you.

The only weakness I can see is in pressing strength, which the stone does not require much of.


#2

Always a fan of these mental exercises.

If we’re allowing the clean and press to be considered 1 movement, my vote is the sandbag clean and press, with the keg a close second.

The sandbag is unwieldy, and requires a great deal of brute strength to both get to your chest in the first place and then get overhead. This can train explosiveness and raw strength, and very little technique can really be employed to make things easier.

If we’re counting the above as two movements, and it really absolutely has to be just one movement…

I’ll go with safety squat bar squat. The safety squat bar just makes this movement horrible and requires full body strength to really move the weight.


#3

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
Im surprised to have not seen this thread on these forums recently.[/quote]
Six months.

Answer’s still the same. Dumbbell clean and press because, https://www.t-nation.com/training/biggest-exercise-in-bodybuilding

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
If we’re allowing the clean and press to be considered 1 movement[/quote]
I’d say that’s valid to be considered one movement because it’s accepted and understood in the lifting community to be an exercise - the clean and press.

It’s not a spontaneously made-up combo like a “dumbbell RDL and row and curl and press and overhead extension” or something. That’d be a complex, at best, which is by definition a series of exercises done consecutively.


#4

I have seen these a lot.

I would also go to the barbell clean + strict press. I would do the full clean to get the squat movement in also.

If the obvious choice can not be made, I would do squat. Just because I like them and they can be used for variety of different purposes.


#5

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
Im surprised to have not seen this thread on these forums recently.[/quote]
Six months.

Answer’s still the same. Dumbbell clean and press because, https://www.T-Nation.com/training/biggest-exercise-in-bodybuilding

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
If we’re allowing the clean and press to be considered 1 movement[/quote]
I’d say that’s valid to be considered one movement because it’s accepted and understood in the lifting community to be an exercise - the clean and press.

It’s not a spontaneously made-up combo like a “dumbbell RDL and row and curl and press and overhead extension” or something. That’d be a complex, at best, which is by definition a series of exercises done consecutively.[/quote]

The argument is definitely going to be philosophical rather than biological to be sure. You could even just eliminate the confusion and go full on viper press to make it “one movement”, or go crossfit and refer to it as the “floor to overhead”, but considering it’s all a hypothetical exercise, I like to know the parameters.


#6

Farmer carries for the win. Easily loadable for progression, has great carryover to the real world, strength meets conditioning, & hits a lot of muscles.


#7

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

Answer’s still the same. Dumbbell clean and press because, https://www.T-Nation.com/training/biggest-exercise-in-bodybuilding [/quote]

From that article:

Unfortunately, it’s like wrapping up foreplay with Khloe Kardashian. If you thought that was tough to get through, you’re not gonna enjoy the next part, either.

Hahaha


#8

[quote]Tyler23 wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Answer’s still the same. Dumbbell clean and press because, https://www.T-Nation.com/training/biggest-exercise-in-bodybuilding [/quote]
From that article:

Unfortunately, it’s like wrapping up foreplay with Khloe Kardashian. If you thought that was tough to get through, you’re not gonna enjoy the next part, either.

Hahaha[/quote]
Thank you. I do have some moments of inspired work.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
[…] but considering it’s all a hypothetical exercise, I like to know the parameters.[/quote]
C’mon, man. Well-defined parameters are useless since we can change the context of a topic to suit our discussion points as-needed. Isn’t that how this Internet thing works? :wink:


#9

Obviously bench. It would mean I only need to go to the gym on Monday.

Clean and press comes to mind for the explosive and mobility demands. If that counts as 2, then a snatch. (Sorry but not db varieties for me)


#10

Thrusters come to mind for me cause they’re kinda similar to a clean/press and they’re definitely considered one motion. However, I would have to pick farmer’s walk. There’s just something about carrying more than your bodyweight in each hand and walking around that just gives me some kind of adrenaline rush. That and it works muscles groups as far as I know.


#11

Count me as another vote for clean and press varieties.

Basically any variety: barbell, kettlebell, dumbbell, strongman log.

Kettlebell probably is the most portable for a desert island.

Barbell is the one that I actually do most frequently right now.

Strongman log is my favorite.


#12

Zercher full cycle, without a doubt


#13

Trap bar farmer’s carry (I’ve only done them with the trap bar, other implements may be different/better). Might be cheating since it’s essentially 2 movements (deadlift+carry).

  • No complex form required, stand up with it and walk as far as you can
  • Hits everything
  • Combination of strength and conditioning
  • Builds mental toughness
  • Probably the most “functional” exercise with the most carryover to real world activities
  • Do it outside in the Australian sun and it’s probably the best fat melting exercise ever invented

#14

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#15

I would choose the snatch. It would be a bitch to learn and actually become proficient at to consistently make progress but I think it would be worth it. I like that the snatch uses a bit more hamstring strength and the wide grip uses more of the mid traps compared to a clean and jerk. I would hope that it isn’t considered cheating to not fully execute the rep and perform only up to the first or second pull in some sessions if my upper body can’t handle it.


#16

Heavy kettlebell swings (two-handed) for me. I think the last time one of these came around I chose single-handed, but two-handed is better for power output and loading. The reasons why I vote for this lift is because of the total volume of muscle it recruits, it’s explosive nature, the conditioning aspect and also it’s safety. I know it’s usually thought of as a conditioning exercise, but when it’s loaded heavily enough it is great for strength and power.


#17

Dumbell curls