John Grimek’s No. 1 Exercise!

For some reason, the most common question on Internet strength training forums is this:

“If you could do just ONE exercise, what would it be, and why?”

The most common answers are:

1. Squats — because “they’re the best exercise for all-around strength and muscle mass.”

2. Deadlifts — because “they’re even better than squats and you can do them even if you don’t have squat stands or a power rack.”

3. Trap Bar deadlifts — because “they’re a cross between a deadlift and a squat.”

4. The pec deck — because — sorry, just kidding, no one actually says this.

a. Thank goodness.

b. Although some people probably think it.

5. The clean and press — because “it works all
of the muscles.”

Those are all good answers (other than no. 4).

But what would John Grimek have said?

We actually KNOW what he would have said because he once wrote an article about it.

Grimek was hands-down a fan of the clean and press.

In Grimek’s opinion, if you could only do one exercise, you should do the clean and press.

He believed the clean and press would give you a great total body workout.

Grimek followed his usual pattern of suggesting that you start light, add weight from set to set, and drop the reps as you added weight.

Thus, you might do something like this:

50 x 10 (light warm-up)

100 x 10

120 x 8

130 x 8

140 x 7

150 x 6

160 x 5

170 x 3

180 x 2

190 x 1

200 x 1 (if you’re feeling strong that day)

If you want to focus more on strength and power do lower reps — something like 5/4/3/2/1 or 5 x 3 or 8 x 2 — or singles.

Anyhow, that was John Grimek’s answer — and I tend to agree with him!

What do YOU think? Shoot me an email and let me know.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik