I love to hate them, the push up and the single-leg squat. Experts will tell you, the two best exercises you can do for your body are these upper and lower body moves. Both moves will work your body – hard – with out requiring a single piece of equipment. In fact, most physical trainers will agree, if you’re not doing these moves, you should be – always.
Considering the flood of new fad work outs and equipment, it’s tempting to walk away from the classics. I’ve tried different routines and classes, but I always find myself coming back to the moves that give the best results, and I hate them for it, I do. Push ups, have you done any lately? It’s amazing how hard they can be and how many muscles are involved when doing them properly. And, squats, I detest doing them! I hate them so much, and all at the dojo know it. I think it’s the face I make, lol… Why do I hate them so much? They hurt babe, plain and simple. The push up and single leg squat really dig in and work those muscles. Ey yi yi, I can feel it now just writing about it!
The truth of it is, though, no matter how much I hate these two simple, classic exercises, I really do love them. Why? They deliver results – period. I guess that’s why the Master has us doing push up after push up and those crazy squats in between other sets = holy yuck! Lol… Push ups and single-leg squats – they work a body hard and deliver strong results.
If you’re thinking about trying this dynamic duo, then I can’t stress this enough: They’re not worth doing if you don’t do them right. Women’s Health magazine reports that these two exercises require some serious strength that even a regular gym goer should ease into according to Robin Retherford, A.C.E., N.A.S.M., group fitness instructor at Crunch in Miami Beach. The best way to start out with these strong body moves are to begin with steps of varied versions of them. You’ll strengthen over time, with little risk of strain or injury, and ultimately do them correctly with the most effective results.
Getting Started With The Two Best Exercises Ever
For example: For the first two weeks add to your work out a light standing push up 2 – 3 times a week, then bump it up with a knees to the floor push up for two weeks, and finally full body floor push up. After four weeks of preping your body and strengthening, you’ll have eased into a permanent routine and ready for the full Monty moves, and onward to having a smokin hot upper and lower strong body!
The push up = great for arms, chest, shoulders, back and core. It’s a whole upper body move, and I love to hate them.
1. Begin with the standing push up. This is a great place to start if you are new to push ups. Simply stand facing a wall and extend your arms out in front of you. Lean forward slightly and place your hands on the wall. Bend your elbows until your nose almost touches the wall. Then, push back to where you started. That equals 1 rep. Do 2 – 3 sets of 15 reps, 3 times a week for two weeks .
2. Next, the knee push up. After you’ve conditioned your body to the standing push ups, you’ll move to the floor. Get into a plank position (both hands on floor, a little further apart than shoulder with and elbows straight) and lower your knees to touch the floor. Much of your weight will be supported by your knees this way. Lift your feet up, and then lower yourself, bending your elbows at 90 degrees. Push back up to start. That equals 1 rep. Do 2 – 3 sets of 15 reps 3 times a week for the next 2 weeks.
3. Finally, the push up. Get back into your plank position with your feet together and up on your toes. Again with your hands a bit further than shoulder with apart, lower yourself to the floor just like with the knee push up, but now with your legs extended. Push back to start. That equals 1 rep. If this is still a bit challenging, you can spread your feet apart (about 6 inches) to distribute your weight. Do 2 – 3 sets 0f 15 reps 3 times a week.
The single leg squat, also referred to as the pistol = amazing for your whole leg, rear, and core! Whew! But, they are hard as hell. Here’s how you’ll get there 1 step at a time.
1. Start with the stationary lunge. Standing with feet shoulder with apart, take a big step backwards with your left foot. Lower yourself until your right knee is bent at 90 degrees, then push back up.That equals 1 rep. Do 8 – 12 reps. Then, switch legs and repeat.That equals 1 set. Do 2 – 3 sets 3 times a week for 2 weeks.
2. Next, the straight-leg lunge. Standing with your feet wider than shoulder with apart, step far back with your left foot stretching your left leg out straight while sinking down with your right knee bent at 90 degrees. Then, push back up. That equals 1 rep. Do 8 – 12 reps and then repeat with the other leg. That equals 1 set. Do 2 – 3 sets 3 times a week for 2 weeks.
3. Finally, the killer single-leg squat. Place your hands on the back of your head with elbows out. Standing with feet shoulder with apart, bend your right knee while lifting your right foot behind you. Then lean forward slightly and lower yourself to the floor by bending you left knee. PRESS back up! Dang those are tough, lol.. that equals 1 rep. Repeat keeping your right foot raised for 8 – 12 reps. That equals 1 set. Do 2 – 3 sets per leg 3 times a week. You can bump up your single-leg squats by stretching your arms out in front of you later.
So there you have it. 3 steps to a great push up and 3 steps to a killer single-leg squat. Both total for a fuller strong body workout that requires no gym, personal trainer, or equipment. I like that.
As for my love/hate relationship with the two best exercises, I guess that will never change. Maybe I will find a 3 step program for that! Lol… I doubt it. I probably just need an attitude adjustment.
Here’s to loving the pain,
Here’s some video examples of how to do the two best exercises properly…
Two Best Exercises Ever – Push Ups Beginner
Two Best Exercises Ever – Push Ups Intermediate
Two Best Exercises Ever – Push Ups Advance
Two Best Exercises Ever – Single Leg Squat Beginner
Two Best Exercises Ever – Single Leg Squat Advanced