[fitness friday] What are the best exercises?

written by john c ashworth, ma, cscs, ces

People often ask me…

“what is the best all around exercise?”

So I went looking and here is what I found.

AARP says it’s the plank.

A little time spent reviewing various expert opinions from The New York Times health and fitness portal revealed choices like the squat, the burpee and sprinting up hill. All of which are certainly on my top 10 list, because they all serve the purpose of working the entire body at once, raising your heart rate significantly, and making you functionally stronger for life and sport.

American strength training coach, Mark Rippetoe, would likely say that his choice would be the low-bar back squat. A version of the barbell squat where the bar is moved further down the athlete’s back for safety, ability to increase the load, and emphasis on working the entire posterior chain, or backside of your body, which is often neglected in training as compared to the front side.

Top Crossfit athlete, Rich Froning, says it’s the barbell thruster, which is easy to learn and combines two of my all-time favorites – the squat and the overhead press.

You could easily make an entire workout out of any one or two of these movements combined. Combine all of them and you would have a strength program that could last you a lifetime, and do far more good than most of what I see happening on a daily basis in the gym.

The real winner, though, is not the plank, the squat, the burpee, or any of the other expert moves mentioned. The real winner is the one you will actually do on a regular basis. Or the one that you actually can do, safely and effectively. If you asked me what the biggest problem in the fitness industry was today, I would say that it is our addiction for the latest or hottest fitness trend or craze. We are often in a never-ending cycle of chasing the latest greatest trends at the expense of this one very important fact. Doing something, heck anything, is the key. And I can tell you right now, that you’re never going to see me put a barbell on my back again and perform a squat. Unless it’s a few repetitions for a demonstration or video, and only if there’s no weight on the bar. My back won’t take it, and I don’t need this type of lift anymore.

My aversion to the squat is only one example of the truth that the BEST exercise or exercise program is the one you are going to engage in on a regular basis. Yes, it needs to change, adapt, cycle throughout the year, and provide you with a continually new and challenging stimulus, but at the heart of your success are movements and programs that you enjoy and will perform on a regular weekly basis.

Ask any one of my clients how much they like the burpee and whether or not they do very many, if any, on their own. The majority of them will tell you that the answer is a resounding ZERO! I don’t have to like that or even support that, but it’s the truth.

So what are you gonna do about it?


How To Maximize Your Company’s Bottom Line…

Tune in This Friday, to “In Business with Jody and Joan” to hear my provocative interview about how corporate fitness can maximize your company’s bottom line…

The show will air on Friday at 6 PM on The Pulse – Madison 1670 AM.

How would you like to get a return of $3 for every $1
you invest? Believe it or not, that is what a good,
solid corporate fitness program can do for your

With healh care costs skyrocketing, companies are
finding that providing health benefits for their
employees can have a dramatic impact on their profit
margins. But cutting costs is not the answer…

Small investments in corporate fitness and wellness
programs can pay big dividends in the long run. And
often, the payoff is almost immediate.

Tune in this Friday, August 8th to hear the full story:

The show will air on Friday at 6 PM on The Pulse – Madison 1670 AM.

The Fitness Nomad provides corporate coaching to small
companies in Dane county who understand the impact they
can have by promoting a more healthy workplace.

If you are interseted in finding out more about out
programs, you can call our studio directly at:


To get your Free copy of my special report on the
subject, “How to Maximize your Bottom Line in Minimum
Time with Corporate Coaching”, fill out the form below
and we will send one to you right away.

I would also be happy to visit with you and your
company personally to discuss the corporate wellness
services we provide and to talk about what type of
program might work best for your company.

Complete this form to receive your special report:

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Take care,

You Don’t See This Very Often…

*Note: this is an old post from when I was running my fitness business.  The links and information referencing The Fitness Nomad are no longer active.

That’s right, there we are, Leigh Mills and myself trying to Hula Hoop on local TV. You just don’t see anything like that very often…

Leigh Mills and I had a great time last Wednesday filming this segment. We had to film early in the week at the studio because I was headed out of town to learn the new nutrition system that you’ve been hearing about over the last two weeks. You can find out more about it at:


If you’re interested in sitting down to talk about what this new system can do for you, and why it’s so important to have an accurate resting metabolic assessment (RMR Test), please call us right now at 608-831-9256. We’ll schedule you for a consultation immediately.

In the mean time, you can download the full report, “How to Master Your Metabolism” by going to the link above and filling out the short form.

Take care and I would love to hear what you thought about the Hula Hoop segment with Leigh Mills. Remember, Friday is World Hoop Day! Have fun.

The Fitness Nomad