The One Gym Exercise You MUST Do

It’s pretty difficult to comb oSwiss ball wall squatver the thousands of exercises one can pick from and decide which one is an absolute MUST to do.  So I won’t.  :)  First, this really depends on your goals.  If your goal is bigger biceps…then a leg exercise probably isn’t a must do.  If you’re familiar with the type of exercise and training we promote at our club, you know that we emphasis movements over muscle; movements that are very primal in nature and therefore…you pretty much HAVE to do them in some fashion to survive.  For example…

If you can’t squat, you can’t get on and off the potty, right?  You can’t get off the couch (which you might be on too much already).  To get in and out of a car requires a single-leg squat of sorts.  Just imagine how difficult life would be if you couldn’t squat.  My first real job as a teenager was working in a retirement home.  Let me tell you, if you want to see what life is like without strong legs…just hang out in a retirement home for a bit.  It ain’t pretty.

When it comes to squatting, if you can’t…you must (in order to live an active lifestyle).  And that’s why it’s my #1 exercise.  I don’t want to here this “I can’t” or “it hurts” or “I don’t like the way the bar feels on my back”,  etc., etc…  You CAN squat and I’m going to show you where to begin and how to progress right here…

First, depending on your condition, the “primal standard” squat – squatting your bodyweight, ass to the grass – may be too difficult to perform.  That’s fine.  That’s why there’s descending or more simple versions.  One of the easiest to perform is the Swiss ball on wall squat.  Place a Swiss Ball between your lower back and a wall while standing, and use it to support you while you squat up and down within the range of motion that you’re able.  Once you’re able to do this well, ditch the ball and squat your bodyweight while you hold onto two dowel rods for support.  Using one dowel rod would be a progression from two.

After you’ve prKettlebell squatogressed from the versions above you’re ready to squat your bodyweight.  Congrats!  You’re now assured of getting your ass off the potty!  There are a few particulars as to how to squat ideally (foot position, posture, breathing, etc.), but I’m not going to go into that here.  Instead, I’m going to give you a few progressions you can work through so as to constantly challenge yourself.



The first progression from the bodyweight squat is performing a squat on one leg.  This is quite difficult, so you may want to hold onto something like a squat rack for assistance.  Stick one leg straight out in front of you while you use the other to get you up and down.  The next challenge would be to perform the squat on a balance board of some type (rocker board, wobble board, BOSU, etc.).  Lastly, and with the help of a knowledgeable spotter, try squatting on a Swiss ball.  If you can master that…you’re one step away from the circus!  ;)   Any of these exercises can be made more challenging by adding weight via holding onto a dumbblell, barbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, etc…  Mix it up.  An active lifestyle is full of all kinds of various squatting positions.  Think about what applies best to you (i.e., squatting down to pick up your child) and perform a version in the gym similar to that.  Ultimately, the BEST exercise that you must do in the gym is probably the exercise that most closely mimics your greatest physical demand in your lifestyle.

One Response to The One Gym Exercise You MUST Do

  1. Thanks for the info…. Squats are definitely not my favorite exercise but when I am with my 86 year old mother, I can definitely see the need!! Appreciate the blog and I pray to one day be able to do a squat on the Swiss Ball without cracking my head open!! LOL


Chris Weigel, Owner/Manager of Clairevista Vitality Club

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