What's Your Favorite Exercise?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Someone recently pointed out to me that I always ask for comments on my blog, yet I never ask any questions.  Point well taken.

I do want to get a discussion going, and it has to start somewhere.

So let's start by talking about our favorite exercises...

My favorite exercise has actually changed in the last several weeks.  Who knows - it may change again soon.  But for the time being, pull-ups are my go to exercise.

I never used to like pull-ups.  They're not very glamorous, especially because they're so hard.  It wasn't that long ago that I could only muster a couple repetitions before giving up.  That's not really the makings of sticking with something.

But pull-ups are a fantastic way of working a ton of muscles.  Aside from their value of being very challenging, they work every pulling muscle in the upper body.  Most people neglect to ever think about the muscles in their back.  Sure, they notice that they have lower back pain, but even then they don't think much about how the muscles you can't see in the mirror play a role in your posture.

Women always want to work their shoulders and triceps because they want to tone those areas, even though that's called spot reduction and it's impossible (but that's a discussion for another time).  Men always want to work their chest and biceps because those are the muscles you see when you look at yourself in the mirror.  Yet there are these big, really important muscles all around your upper back that no one ever seems to train.

Most people have very poor posture, and the number one postural defect is rolled in shoulders.  Pull-ups, and other variations on pulling exercises, help strengthen the muscles that will counteract that "hunched over" look.  And most people fail to think about the fact that one of the quickest ways to look slimmer and more muscular is to have good posture.

Now that I've invested the time to do them, I'm beginning to get hooked on the pull-up.  I've improved greatly in the last several weeks, and now that I can do them well, I feel a great sense of accomplishment, which is what a good exercise will do - it will make you feel good about being able to do it.

How about you?

What's your "go to" exercise and why?

Or if you don't have one, what one exercise would you like to be able to do well?


sara said...

I'd LOVE to be able to do pull-ups, especially if it would help my posture (I'm a terrible sloucher!)

While my favorite exercise changes almost daily, today it’s the plank. I love how I can feel my core muscles really working when I do it, and I like challenging myself to see how long I can stay in the position. It amazes me that only a few months ago, I couldn’t stay in the plank position for more than 20 seconds! Now I can rock the plank for much longer, and it feels great.

Carol said...

My favorite because it's the hardest one for me is the wall squat while doing the dumbell press for 40 seconds...ouch! But it sure feels good after it's over. Another favorite is the plank...love the muscle quiver.

Pat said...

Altho' I can't say it's my 'favorite' exercise, I find push ups the most challenging. I am looking forward to the day when I can get my nose close to the floor and actually lift myself up again - even when I'm on my knees rather than my toes. Do you think it will ever happen?


verna said...

The words "favorite" and "exercise" don't really go together... do they? (jk)

Forward chest press with the bands is my fav: pecs & shoulders yell at me, triceps tremble and burn, and that growl-ish sound toward the end of the set tells me I've taken it to the max. Sheesh...

Dawn Robnett said...

My favorites are tricep press downs and lat pull downs :-)

Mary said...

I'm with you, Verna--'favorite' and 'exercise' do *not* go together. At least in my world. I hate exercise. Really. I could name any number of things I'd rather do at the drop of a hat. Which is why I actually like Mark's camps--the least amount of time doing it is what I love! I can't seem to make myself do any of the horrid stuff on my own, so going to a class where someone else picks the exercises and plans the circuit and does all the brain effort at least frees me up to just do it without having to spend time thinking about it too. This, in case it is unclear, is a ringing endorsement from me. Just don't think you are gonna get me to say I like an exercise.

Trish said...

Call me weird, but I love just about all exercise (except bike riding, but that's just because my husband talked me into getting those stupid shoes and pedals that lock together and I kept falling... but I digress). I would have to say my favorites are push-ups and squats. They just feel great!