If my life were to end tomorrow in some sort of fiery automobile or airplane crash and I was to list the 10 most important parts of my workout life; or if due to this rapid change of events I was to be limited to only doing 10 different exercises or activities for the rest of my life that this is what they would be…
In descending order of course.
10. Box Jumps – Not a huge fan of these but I would at least want some explosive and powerful movement/speed generated from my legs and it never hurts to get some “ups”.
9. Two Rounds of Doug Ward’s finisher work – There is no doubt in my mind that I learned how much misery could be squeezed into 7 minutes when I boxed. My coach Doug Ward would absolutely work us over at the end of each session for 2 rounds. The pain he could pack into this window was unimaginable. It was always varied, always intense and never once did I leave feeling I had left anything behind.
8. Plank – I want at least one activity to kind of chill out when I am doing it. Plus anyone who is anyone does these and talks about them when they talk about their fitness routine. If Marky Mark is doing it or Cameron Diaz than I want to too.
7. Burpees – Right up there on top of the suck-o-meter. These never get fun, I never get all that much better and they never fail to make me suffer and hurt. In all seriousness I do love the combination of push, squat, anerobic and aerobic fitness that gets jammed up into this exercise. Some exercises prepare you for certain aspects of strength, these just make you a bit more hard.
6. Heavy Bag Work – The other big take away I had from my two years of solid fighter training was that I had no idea just how good an athlete a fighter was. If you want arms and you want conditioning that will extend all the way to your legs than giving a heavy bag one round (3 minutes) of your life will do that and more. The power you can push into a punch from your toes through the tips of your fingers, the rotational forces required and at play as well as the complete engagement of the hips and posterior chain is like nothing else. Guys have won some pretty big events in this world without being a great athlete, no boxer ever won a title who wasn’t also a great athlete.
5. Mountain Biking – I am fully aware of how ambiguous this one is but at least I tied it to one style of riding on two wheels. The road bike has taken me to some pretty cool places and you always got out what you put into it. The cyclo-cross riding I’ve done always seemed to take me to some local park and was just way to painful an hour for my liking. The mountain bike will take you places that few others will see and you’ll develop much better overall coordination, power and endurance when you start logging bigger miles in the dirt.
The Final Four – I would say these are the exercises of truth, you cannot hide and you cannot fake them. These four will tell you exactly what you can do. If I only had 4, no doubt these would be the ones I’d bring.
4. Pull Ups – Straight, strict pullups here. Being able to lift your own body weight above grade is no doubt important. The ability to do it repeatedly is just bad ass. Once you gain some mastery with your ability to conquer 20+ of these you’ll also have a new sense of pride and self worth in your fitness. Few, if any body weight, exercises will ever shut you down like pullups once you’ve hit your limit.
3. Dead lift – True power and strength here. You want a strong back and fully capable posterior chain than work on and develop your dead lifting ability. Much like the squat, you might have some success early on, if you really want to work towards a personal best than you will have to completely dial in your form and technique as well. Sloppy gets you injured and it never allows you to hit your potential. In addition to the strength/power component I dig the dead lift because it also forces you to be a smarter more disciplined athlete.
2. Squats – I wrestled with naming “Thruster” in this place but in the end yielded because when doing thrusters you might miss the chance to develop your max power on the lower section if you’ve got to put the same weight overhead as well. This can go either way, back or front squat, but in the end you build up legs that will take you just about anywhere you need and the rest of the body is so busy stabilizing the load you move through the vertical plane that you cannot help but realize the complete benefits of this exercise.
1. Run – I don’t think anyone can call themselves an athlete if they cannot run and most any real sport involves running to some degree. From an availability and accessibility standpoint it might be the most natural to us all. I am not talking about churning out a marathon, racing a 5k at sub 17 or even killing 4 and 8 hundreds on the minute. Those are all big ticket items or big ticket times, what I am talking about is the overall skill set involved in running and how it is incorporated into most all that we do in nearly any sport. Insomuch as I feel it is imperative to be able to carry your body to the battlefield or fire ground you had better be able to do work when you get there.
As I was typing this I asked my girlfriend what her list was, this is in no particular order…
Pushups, burpees, wall sits, med ball pass overs, mountain climbers, dead lift, squats, wall sits, Floor wipers and running. She is has amazing abs, legs and can hold her own in almost any competition.
What is your list or what did I mess up and what did I forget?