The Best Exercise

What’s the best exercise? Which exercise is the best one? Well, that depends, but these questions usually have a little more attached, like what’s the best exercise to lose my bingo wings, or to correct my posture, or to improve my golf swing? Everyone’s looking for that perfect exercise, the one that will magically fix all your problems, the cheat code to unlock all the potential in your body. So, which is it, does it exist? No.

Now, I’ve covered losing body fat before, so I won’t dwell on it for too long. But, you can not spot reduce fat. No exercise is going to speed up that fat loss, you have to be in a calorie deficit. Then your body eats that fat for energy. What you can do, however, is spot increase muscle. So, you can work a certain area to increase the size of your muscles, [like bicep curls to increase the size of your biceps, or leg extensions…] A lot of people get confused, though, and think fat turns into muscle, and vice versa. It does not, they are two separate entities within your body, so increasing or decreasing one, doesn’t necessarily affect the other. If anything, they tend to go hand in hand. They tend to both increase at differing rates, or decrease at differing rates.

Is there a perfect exercise to solve postural problems? No, not really. The deadlift is often floated as one of these magic movements, but it’s not the case. More often than not, just getting moving, doing loads of different exercises, moving in different ways, that’s what helps more. Certainly doing things that will expand your range of movement. Unless there’s something physiologically wrong with your bones, most postural issues come down to poor and regular routine, where your body is in a position so often, it just believes that’s the way it should be. Deadlifts won’t solve everything, but they might help.

Things get a bit murkier when we look at sport specific training, because as I say, “Train for what you’re training for.” So, certain exercises will certainly help your performance. For example, if you’re going to run a marathon, you’re going to want to make running the focus of your training. But again, variety can help even more. Weight training, multi planar movements, whilst they might not be obviously important to a marathon runner, they can offer you strength and stability that regular running might not. And the more of your body you can sensibly train, the less likely you are to get injured. You can run in a straight line on a treadmill all you want, but even that doesn’t strictly mirror what you’ll have to do in a marathon. And there’s a lot to be said for strengthening the muscles that support the main muscles you’ll be using in your sport as well.

Everyone’s looking for the quick fix, they want to believe that there’s some magical move or food, that will instantly solve all of your problems, but it’s just not the case. More often than not, variety is the spice of life, and it’s probably going to be more useful to you, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. It’s also going to be less boring. Do you really just want to be doing the same exercise over and over? Especially if it’s not going to make more of a difference than something more fun and engaging? There’s no best exercise, there’s just exercise, do what works best for you. See you again next week.

Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer