What is the
best type of
By Move Well Founder
As a fitness professional I am often asked “what is the best type of exercise to do?”
There is no one answer. Goals, enjoyment, likes, dislikes, medical history, age, many factors play a role.
Let’s focus on goals. Common goals include:
- Weight loss
- Fat loss
- Flattening my stomach (FYI that’s the same thing as weight loss/fat loss!)
- Toning my arms
- Building a bigger bum
- Get stronger
The “best type of exercise” for these goals massively varies. For example, close grip push ups, EZ-bar skull crushes, and narrow grip dips will all help build muscular triceps (avoid the bingo wings) but have less crossover and benefit for those wanting to flatten their stomach.
In saying that….
The chances are, if you can knock out good quality dips and push ups then you are probably plenty strong enough, have a healthy body weight, and a good power to weight ratio (low body fat percentage!) so likely the flat stomach goal is not required. Do you see where I am going?
My point here is that by achieving one goal you may find you’ve inadvertently achieved many more. Especially if that goal is less aesthetic and more, well, exciting!
I often set “movement” goals for our members here at Move Well rather than aesthetic goal, such as reaching a certain weight deadlift or holding a handstand or getting your first pull up.
Why? Because the athletic requirement for movement goals guarantees well rounded results and will naturally improve aesthetics but you will also feel a much greater sense of achievement and likely stay more committed and motivated and perhaps set another movement goal!
For those new to exercise, fear not. All exercises are infinitely scalable. Here at Move Well we work closely with our Sports Therapist Jordan Waller to ensure there is always an option. I find the sliders (a simple and multifunctional tool of small discs that you place under your foot and slide along the floor) particularly useful in building an athletic base, ditto the resistance bands for making upper and lower body pushing and pulling exercises that bit easier. The latter allows for measurable improvement, when you find you need to change the band because the exercise is becoming too easy.
Back to the blog title “What is the best type of exercise?” I’ve already highlighted Move Well’s approach (movement goals over aesthetic goals, which for a first-time gym goer, might be a goal of hitting your first ever push up rather than focussing on toned arms….the arms will take care of themselves if you can do push ups!)
Now, exercise choice and prescription are of course important (and something you need not worry about if you come to Move Well!), but what is arguably more important is your training intensity (actually, no it’s not arguable, it’s a fact!).
For those budding sports scientists I mean this in the literal sense. I don’t mean lift heavy weights all the time (intensity by definition) I mean you need to train hard and with intent.
Enter all manner of cheesy gym quotes, a few personal favourites of mine:
- “Whatever your mind can concieve your body will achieve”
- “Go hard or go home”
- “Lightweight baby…., Ain’t nuffin but a peanut, yea buddy”
- “Train insane or remain the same”
If you don’t have a personal trainer and you don’t know what to do then the answer is simple: ‘the best exercise is the one you do’. Find the exercise you enjoy, but, do it to the best of your ability!
Whether you like to dance, walk, do yoga, swim…. it doesn’t really matter as long as you do it well.
However: at Move Well we do believe in three main principles for well-rounded fitness and to achieve your movement goals: MOVE (your body, fast, slow and in all directions) LIFT weights and SWEAT (on the bike or in circuits, endurance and HIIT).
I’d like to finish this blog with one more quote, one from my one of my role models in the strength world, and one that I invite everyone to consider, no matter what your favourite exercise endeavour is:
“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.” (Mark Rippetoe)