Everyone is looking for the magic routine or the magic exercise, as if there is some secret that will transform your body better, quicker, easier, than any other. Sorry. That doesn’t work. People always assume that the advice they can get from some super trainer of celebrities is going to work better than they could get from their neighborhood gym trainer. Uh-uh. The advice you get from any trainer is going to be the same crap shoot you’d get from any other trainer. You have no way of knowing if the advice is good or bad unless you have good knowledge to know better yourself, and the average gym goer simply doesn’t.
This brings me to one of my personal issues with training blogs, in general. Most of the blog posts out there (and I subscribe to more than a few) seem to focus on describing killer routines or Best Butt Busting exercises (or any other body part you might want to develop). They can’t all be the best, can they? This is sensationalism at it’s most idiotic.There is no magic and there are no shortcuts. There is knowledge and evidence based training, and there is bullshit. Every exercise is a tool, but not every tool is appropriate for every job.
The problem I have with these posts is that there seems to be an assumption that the reader will understand how to do these workouts and exercises properly, and be able to integrate them into their existing workouts effectively. Inevitably, someone writes in how following so and so’s advice led to a major knee, lower back or other musculoskeletal injury and that so and so doesn’t know what they’re talking about and is a horrible trainer. Most of my readers are not fitness professionals or professional athletes, and I have no way of knowing if any specific advice I give will be followed properly, but I will be held responsible by that person if anything goes wrong. It almost never seems to occur to these complainers that perhaps they did the exercises badly, or improperly implemented the advice. All the same, I fault the Fitness expert writing for not properly qualifying their advice. I also blame them for giving too much of this kind of advice. Every other post seems to tout this or that exercise as the best for a specific muscle group, and the posts in-between talk about this or that routine as being the greatest. As these bloggers and professional writers are far and away the most popular, I suppose I can’t totally condemn them.
That said, people still want to know: what is the best exercise routine a person can follow for overall fitness? So here it is, a routine that will absolutely get you in great shape if you do it fervently every other day till the day you die, assuming you follow all the rules of intensity that I’ve laid out innumerable times and you are otherwise physically healthy with no major pre-existing injuries:
- Walking Lunges with dumbbells: perform up to 7 sets, with rep ranges between 12 steps and 30 steps, so long as the last 3 steps of every set are exhausting.
- Pull ups/Lat Pulldowns: perform up to 7 sets, with rep ranges between 6 and 15 reps, making sure the last rep of every set is almost impossible to complete.
- Push Ups (toes or knees): perform up to 7 sets, as many reps as you can with good form on every set (even if it’s 50 reps on the 1st and 2 reps on the last).
Make sure you know how to do every exercise correctly, or get a trainer to show you. Just doing these three exercises, in the routine I’ve laid out for you, is the most perfect and magical workout ever devised by mortal man. Do this every other day, throw in cardio on in-between days. Don’t forget to eat like a champion athlete and sleep like a 10-year-old, and you will get into unbelievably great shape practically overnight (ok, in 6-12 months).