Q: What’s the single best exercise I can perform?
A: There are so many great exercises, this question is difficult to answer. However, if I were to choose only one exercise, it would be the Clean and Press. Here’s why:
It works your hips and legs
The hips, knees and ankles must triple-extend to propel the weight into the air, working your entire lower body with one move. It also improves your muscles’ ability to absorb heavy loads, which helps prevent pulls and tears when competing.
It develops core strength
Your core stabilizes your trunk and spine throughout the movement. Energy transfer efficiency increases, adding power to almost all sport skills. And, it protects your spine from injury.
It increases upper-body strength
The pulling aspect of the Clean strengthens the back, while the Overhead Press develops your large upper-body pressing muscles.
You can perform it with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells (my favorite), med balls or even a sandbag. Regardless of the type of equipment used, it yields the same basic results.
To add the Clean and Press to your training, first identify your goal. If you want full-body power, perform it at the beginning of your workout (after your dynamic warm-up) with a moderately heavy weight for three to five sets of one to five reps. If muscular endurance and weight loss are your goals, perform it towards the end of your workout as a finisher. Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps with a light weight.