The world of exercise has become, in some ways, a quirky field over the years.
Many times you’ll hear someone tell you that something they do is ‘the best exercise’.
Growing up I always heard that squats were the best workout drill for you.
At various times I’ve been told that bench press is the best, others have said kettlebell training, battle ropes, sandbags, and on and on it has gone.
So what really is the best exercise for you?
To truly understand the answer to that question, I want you to think of every safe, useful exercise like a puzzle piece.
Because exercises, just like puzzle pieces, are only ‘the best’ when they are put in their proper place. Any single piece is the best fit on the board for one specific area, but it is a terrible fit in all the others.
So are battle ropes the best exercise you can do? Sure, if you want to build conditioning and don’t want to pound your lower body they are an excellent choice.
Kettlebells? Well they do an amazing job of strengthening stabilizer muscles while allowing you to train moderately heavy on a range of strength drills.
Squats? Great for lower body strength. Bench? Probably the best chest muscle builder. Hill sprinting? An excellent acceleration drill.
The reality is that there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of exercises that, in the right place and for the right reasons, are the best exercise for you.
But remember that they are just a piece of the overall puzzle you’re trying to put together, one that is better known as ‘athletic development’.
Spending too much time placing one puzzle piece where it belongs prevents you from putting the rest of the puzzle together.
Athletes need a wide range of training adaptations to maximize their potential. Just focusing on chest day won’t get you to the NFL, any sooner than a 30 minute battle rope workout each week will get you to the NHL or NBA.
Remember that there are all sorts of best exercises out there, and when you know the proper time to go to them you’ll be far better served in becoming the best athlete you can be.