One of the most common questions I come across tends to be "Is this program/exercise okay?" or the other version "What's the best program/exercise to do for such and such?" Often the person expects a straightforward answer but that's rarely the case.
Right off the bat I'll state that I believe resistance training and power-based movements are the best. The key is to excel and be proficient at them. Stick with it long enough and you'll become incredibly strong. Yoga, kettlebells, strongman/woman, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, bouldering, grip & hand strength, and similar sports fall under this category of strength and power.
Back to the topic at hand, when the question does pop up the most sensible reply to give to the person is "It depends." It doesn't depend on the program or exercise but instead the individual's situation and their personal characteristics.
In the grand scheme of fitness, programs and exercises being "good" or "bad" is a trivial matter. It all depends on their use and the trainee. When you hear someone deem something as bad that's plain silly. Very few exercises are inherently bad. And just like coaching cues aren't absolute neither are exercises themselves. It all depends on the person and whether or not they are suited for it.
There is no "best." Although find the right coach and they can design you one hell of a program. (Carter Schoffer and Mike Robertson come to mind.)
Typically I'll tell a person the best routine or exercise is the one that hits on the following points,
Successfully adopting the plan to your daily life is a big factor. Fail to do that much and it doesn't matter how good the program is if you aren't doing it.
- It complements your schedule.
- You stay consistent with it.
- It produces results without causing pain or discomfort and addresses weaknesses and/or postural problems.
- And most importantly, YOU ENJOY IT!
And while I like to understand the structure and logic to programs, sometimes it's not necessary to have logic or explanations for everything. I learned this when I was reading Jamie Lewis' post where he discusses how he does partial squats with a ton of weight. It lead me to ask him why he does them. His answer, "Because I can."
I'm sure that sounds fairly obvious to all of you but you would be surprised at how some people design their training.
It outlines the significance of understanding your self when you exercise. Based on your own experiences, you have more than enough authority to decide what you want to do. I only say you should enjoy it above all else. If it causes pain or you don't like it, then it might be worth reconsidering why you do that particular movement or program.
When deciding what's best for yourself, reflect on Franco's Columbu's words, "If it works, it works, no matter what anybody says."
Other posts in this series,