So as someone who has been pursuing fitness for decades I have, for the most part achieved it. I am pretty lean, good cardio and fairly flexible. I am not a pro athlete, not even an amateur one but for my age 52 I’m doing pretty good. Now this has taken a lot of dedication from me to achieve and sustain. You can find several posts on my blog pertaining to my fitness journey For example So I am at the point now where the hardest work is done, I now need to maintain what I have accomplished and work on future goals.
Part of what I am working on now is maximizing gym efficiency. One of the ways you can get a great work out is, timed workouts. You don’t do less you do it faster. So instead of staring at your phone for 5 minutes between sets you take shorter breaks and get the same work out done faster.
Now the title of the blog post is “one exercise workout” so the other thing I am working on is what is one exercise I can do that will hit all the areas I want? To be blunt it doesn’t exist but there are a couple that hit several, we call those compound exercises. Now there is another category of exercises that combine several compound exercises into one, those are Olympic lifts.
Yes, these are the lifts done in the traditional Olympics. There is one exercise the combines, a deadlift, squat and military press it’s called “The Clean and Jerk”. This is an advanced movement and it is one of the staples moves of the CrossFit community. Here is a video that shows you how to do the lift properly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HyWjAk7fhY
Note the motion of pulling the weight to the chest and squatting. This is an extreme movement and you should approach this with high caution. This is a power move, you are pulling and squatting within seconds of one another. This movement in of itself is a high injury risk movement. You should not be doing this as a beginner and when you do attempt it, you should do so with an extremely light weight to ensure you have the form correct.
The pressing over the head is also an advanced movement because you have to thrust to push this up and that force comes from either your hips glutes or exclusive deltoids until your triceps are engaged. The whole movement itself is seconds, you don’t spend a lot of time with the bar on your chest here. You also have to disengage from the movement in a controlled manner to get the bar back on the ground.
Now watch the video a few times, this is a lot of movement. The only body part not completely engaged here is your pectoral muscle group (chest) but it does participate in the upward press movement albeit minimally. This exercise really engages your core as you have to stabilize this weight and CONTROL it throughout the movement. This is the secret of the clean and jerk and why you can use this one exercise to get a great work out.
The work out? Simple:
- Your warm up – Stretches, treadmill etc. You want to come into this exercise warm with beads of sweat almost ready to begin. Blood should be flowing here, you should have engaged your cardio system to increase your heart rate. I stretch then get on the treadmill and do a few wind sprints (I run as fast as I can for 30 seconds) with walking in between sprints. So 3 30 second wind sprints with a 3 min walk between sprints. Adjust according to your fitness level.
- The clean and jerk – I put on a weight that allows me to do 8-10 reps the final 3 should be challenging. I do 5 sets of this with a reasonable break in between. Your done after the 5th set. Count your reps here. If you hit 50 reps total go up in weight 5-10 pounds.
Now this exercise if done with a moderate weight is going to ramp up your cardio. This is no joke, it takes your entire body force to rip that weight off the ground, squat it, then press it over your head. You rarely (if ever) see people in gyms doing this exercise, unless you are a cross fitter. Cross fitters do this because their goal is train efficiently and quickly. I personally can’t recommend CrossFit for those over 50, its extremely taxing.
That said, if you want a one exercise workout? Trying the Clean and Jerk. When I do this workout cycle I do it Tuesdays and Saturdays and Thursdays I do some chest work and treadmill. I change my workouts every 60 days and I have about 8 workout programs I do now. This one I dislike the most, but is the one I normally get the best results from.
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