If you could only do one.

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peter yates
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If you could only do one.

Post by peter yates » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:25 pm

This is a question that has been asked many times throughout training history, but i saw an article today about it on the Iron History forum so i thought i would pose the question here.If you could only do one exercise what would it be? Obviously it will be different for each person due to body type, needs and preferences,as well as ability and physical limitations.It would also change over the course of a trainees life. Thank goodness we do not have to rely solely on one exercise but it is a good process to access our requirements and what exercise might meet them. There have been times in my life,like most of us, when time has been at a premium, yet i was determined to make the very most of the available time i had for training. I looked at the following, i wanted to stimulate as much overall body mass as possible, i wanted to do it with minimum equipment, i wanted to invigorate my metabolism, I wanted to build in a warm into the chosen exercise,thus saving precious time.I also of course wanted to do an exercise i especially liked doing no matter how hard it was. What came up as a winner was the barbell power clean and push press, as it fit all criteria.This is how i did it.
Starting with a light weight doing a set of cleans and military press of 12-15 reps.
Adding weight and continuing with the military press until unable to do a strict press. At this stage body was well warmed up and a good groove obtained.
Continuing with push press and after last rep of each doing a few front squats.I know that is another exercise but i did not put the weight down so counted it as part of the C&P combo.
Increasing weight and lowering reps to triples or singles depending on the day.
Usual time was 15-20 minutes with little rest between sets. What a cracking whole body session that is. These days though with my old beat up shoulders i much prefer doing the two DB clean and press and keep the reps higher.Anyway which exercise would you choose if you could only do one?
Regards,Peter.
Peter Yates

28kgKB
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Re: If you could only do one.

Post by 28kgKB » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:25 pm

Peter,

I'd pick the clean & press as well. Great movement! I believe John Grimek mentioned that in one of his writings that he'd do the C&P if time was at a premium.

I just today, started a new routine I'm giving a go for the next six weeks. Its a routine by Dr. Jim Stoppani's and its his philosophy (he's 50-ish) that as we age we need to increase our work load to create a natural anabolic effect in our aging bodies since we don't produce the testosterone we did when we were younger. That, and naturally losing muscle due to aging had him doing some research and the science says more training, not less, as we age. But, within reason. noting crazy and certainly not powerlifting style heavy!!

I believe there may be something to this as I noticed an increase in my bench press by using the Smolov routine and playing around with the Sheiko workouts for the bench press, too. I didn't lose any strength by increasing the days I performed the bench press. In fact, nowadays I feel three days minimum is what is needed to excel in the movement. The "old school style" routines I did back in the day of once a week heavy on the powerlifts, now doesn't make much sense when you consider that the eastern bloc countries are training each movement several times a week - the complete antithesis to what we're told regarding training and rest, particularly as we age.

Having read up on Dr. Stoppani's mind set on training for the older guy I now believe there may be something to it. The workout I'm following now is very, very involved, but suffice to say it works in two, three week intervals whereby the first weeks sets are of 15 reps with light weight. The second week is 10's, the third week is 5's. On the fourth week you're back to 15's, then 10's and then 5's again to finish the cycle. At the end of the six week you evaluate.

What I like about his routines in general is the amount of variety. Face it, after awhile simply doing nothing but bench pressing is boring. I needed to change things up a bit. I'm using cables, barbells, DB's, bands.....a myriad of equipment in straight sets, super sets and tri sets type formats with a wide variety of exercises. It becomes a challenge to finish, but I managed to complete about 90% of it in 50 minutes. The end of the routine is a mix of ab work which is still a little uncomfortable because of my hernia repair so I avoid it. The remainder of the workout is this 4 minute, multiple exercise blitz which has one using reps in the 30's and 40's (!!), light weight and for one set. Instead of that I rode my recumbent bike for a solid 4 minutes putting in a mile getting the heart rate up.

The routine is structured as a Monday and Thursday chest, back and arms routine. Tuesday and Friday is legs, shoulders and traps. Wednesday is an active recovery, very light, whole body routine. Weekends off or do something like hiking, biking....whatever. I'm enjoying the lighter weights to give my mind and body a well deserved break from all the heavy singles and rack work I was doing. We'll see how it goes.

Cheers!

John

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David Gentle
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Re: If you could only do one.

Post by David Gentle » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:26 pm

Great Answer from Peter, years ago, i asked John Grimek the same question and he came up with a similar answer toPeters suggestion, ie. do the clean and jerk,it just about involves every muscle group. He also told me he rarely if ever did barbell curls for biceps, getting a workout from barbell cleans, he did used to mess around alot with cheat curls, thats lots of swing and used amazing weights,sometimes he would rough press the weight he had just curled with the same grip.Grimek got a lot of advice from Jowett and favoured also supporting heavy weights, so when you reverted to using your usual poundage the weight felt light. I also asked Dorian Yates the multiple time winner of mr olympia what program would he use if stuck for time and could only do a few exercises, he said, Squats, barbell rows, bench press, cheat presses overhead and deadlifts, eg all the mass producing muscle exercises. Grimeks favourite exercise was squats, sometimes he spent a whole afternoon just doing squats. My favourite exercise was bench presses, at one time able to bench more than i could squat with, not the right thing, just an ego trip and being tall, squats were tough for me. Don Dorans told me to do straddle lifts instead of squats which i did like. David
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Re: If you could only do one.

Post by peter yates » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:48 pm

28kgKB wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:25 pm
Peter,

I'd pick the clean & press as well. Great movement! I believe John Grimek mentioned that in one of his writings that he'd do the C&P if time was at a premium.

I just today, started a new routine I'm giving a go for the next six weeks. Its a routine by Dr. Jim Stoppani's and its his philosophy (he's 50-ish) that as we age we need to increase our work load to create a natural anabolic effect in our aging bodies since we don't produce the testosterone we did when we were younger. That, and naturally losing muscle due to aging had him doing some research and the science says more training, not less, as we age. But, within reason. noting crazy and certainly not powerlifting style heavy!!

I believe there may be something to this as I noticed an increase in my bench press by using the Smolov routine and playing around with the Sheiko workouts for the bench press, too. I didn't lose any strength by increasing the days I performed the bench press. In fact, nowadays I feel three days minimum is what is needed to excel in the movement. The "old school style" routines I did back in the day of once a week heavy on the powerlifts, now doesn't make much sense when you consider that the eastern bloc countries are training each movement several times a week - the complete antithesis to what we're told regarding training and rest, particularly as we age.

Having read up on Dr. Stoppani's mind set on training for the older guy I now believe there may be something to it. The workout I'm following now is very, very involved, but suffice to say it works in two, three week intervals whereby the first weeks sets are of 15 reps with light weight. The second week is 10's, the third week is 5's. On the fourth week you're back to 15's, then 10's and then 5's again to finish the cycle. At the end of the six week you evaluate.

What I like about his routines in general is the amount of variety. Face it, after awhile simply doing nothing but bench pressing is boring. I needed to change things up a bit. I'm using cables, barbells, DB's, bands.....a myriad of equipment in straight sets, super sets and tri sets type formats with a wide variety of exercises. It becomes a challenge to finish, but I managed to complete about 90% of it in 50 minutes. The end of the routine is a mix of ab work which is still a little uncomfortable because of my hernia repair so I avoid it. The remainder of the workout is this 4 minute, multiple exercise blitz which has one using reps in the 30's and 40's (!!), light weight and for one set. Instead of that I rode my recumbent bike for a solid 4 minutes putting in a mile getting the heart rate up.

The routine is structured as a Monday and Thursday chest, back and arms routine. Tuesday and Friday is legs, shoulders and traps. Wednesday is an active recovery, very light, whole body routine. Weekends off or do something like hiking, biking....whatever. I'm enjoying the lighter weights to give my mind and body a well deserved break from all the heavy singles and rack work I was doing. We'll see how it goes.

Cheers!

John
Hi John, thanks for letting us know your new training program. As we have said many times there are so many ways to get the job done and it is an on going process of experimentation. We can get advise and opinions from others and then tweak and adjust to suit our personal needs,as we are all unique.Of course in training there are some principles that hold true for everyone, but how those principles are applied can be very varied. My own training has of course changed much over the years but even though i can most certainly be described as a 'hardgainer' which i prefer to call a 'potentially challenged' individual, i never got much out of the very limited training programs.I found that i was stronger and made best progress by more frequent training. I trained heavy into my 60s but then found it was much better for me to lighten the weights but create the intensity by higher reps done in perfect form and maintaining a pace with little rest between sets and exercises.I have always favored doing some type of physical activity every day and believe it becomes even more vital as we age for many more reasons that just muscle growth. The method you describe has a long history and trainers such as Don Dorans were teaching it in the 1950s. Anyway John as always i wish you good luck with your program and please update us on your progress,and above all enjoy.
Regards,Peter.
Peter Yates

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Re: If you could only do one.

Post by Talbot » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:05 pm

My choice would be the Barbell Hack Squat, made famous by George Hackenschmidt. It keeps the spine in correct alignment, and that makes the hip joints work properly, and safely, and unlike front and back squats, it works the rectus femoris, as much as the other quads, thereby lessening the chances of uneven quad development, that can lead to knee problems. Using a close, underhand grip on the bar, pushing the bar back, away from your body, as you do the lift, is also a great triceps move. 10x10 with light weights is my favorite. The volume lets you know that you are working out. I do the lift, then release the bar at the bottom, then just do a body weight squat, putting my arms straight up in the air at the top of the movement, then squat back down, and grab the bar again. That helps the tidal blood flow through the muscles.
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Talbot
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Re: If you could only do one.

Post by Talbot » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:09 pm

Oh my! I thought the illustration by our late dear friend "Sticks" didn't post, and I tried it a few times. Still, I guess three reminders is OK! I sure miss him.

peter yates
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Re: If you could only do one.

Post by peter yates » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:04 pm

Talbot wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:09 pm
Oh my! I thought the illustration by our late dear friend "Sticks" didn't post, and I tried it a few times. Still, I guess three reminders is OK! I sure miss him.
Hi Talbot, you and me too. Just checking but do you count the hack squat and free squat as 1 rep? Or is it 5 hack squats and 5 free squats making the 10 reps.Either way you will surely know you have worked hard on the completion of all sets.Should get the old ticker going too i would think.
Regards,Peter.
Peter Yates

Talbot
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Re: If you could only do one.

Post by Talbot » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:27 pm

@Peter: One hack squat and one free squat, is one rep. So 10x10 even at light weights is a lot of squats! That is the way George Hackenschmidt did them, though just the hack squats, and with more weight, AND more reps. It sure worked for him!

P.S. I use a pair of automobile jack stands, set at just the right level, so that it is easy to put down the bar, and pick it up again.

Jim Duggan
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Re: If you could only do one.

Post by Jim Duggan » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:28 am

I would lift my stones. Atlas Stone lift, from ground to shoulder. Most of the major muscle groups will be stimulated with the possible exception of the chest. Nevertheless, I still like my stones!
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peter yates
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Re: If you could only do one.

Post by peter yates » Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:34 pm

Hi Jim, good choice.The pecs must get some stimulation too from having to squeeze inward while lifting. Great pic, thanks.
Regards, Peter.
Peter Yates

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