Monday, October 24, 2011

Sick Time and The World's Greatest Single Exercise

Question: Why hasn't the Rebuilt Runner written anything in the last two weeks?

A: Because he had acute bronchitis!

I thought lots of time in bed would mean lots of blogging, but when walking up a single flight of stairs caused a coughing fit, I didn't feel like even reading about exercise, let along writing about it.  My body gave up on me, so I decided to temporarily give up on it.  I did exactly one workout during my sick days and it didn't end well, so the rest was definitely for the best.

I'm still only at about 50 percent so I'll ease into things this week, but I finally had an idea for the blog.  I thought, "what is the single best exercise I could recommend to someone?"  Obviously to be in your best shape requires variety, but what one thing does the most in the shortest time?

The walking lunge!  Here's a video:

Lots of muscle guys only work the upper body, which seems ridiculous because your legs are what actually move your body around, your arms usually just move other things.  And the walking lunge is a great overall lower body exercise because it works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, hips, and abdominals.  Another reason I like it so much is that it works each leg individually; most of us have one leg stronger than the other, so we rely on the strong one to do most of the work which just further intensifies the muscle imbalance.  But single leg lifts like these force you to focus on one at a time, which does wonders for evening everything out.

The key to getting the most out of this is focusing on your form:

1. Keep good posture.

2. Keep your hips pointing forward.

3. Keep your feet straight.

And because it's pretty low intensity (you are only lifting your own body weight) most people can do a lot of them, so several long sets become a cardiovascular workout.  Other good overall exercises include squats and push-ups, but if your short on time and you can only pick one, I'd go with the walking lunge.

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