There is a thing called an SEO; a search engine optimisation. It works to make your content more visible to the web. Sometimes when you surf, you’ll see a stream of apparent nonsense at the bottom of a page. That’s there for the SEO. It’s what Google and other search engines look for and if done correctly, you can get a lot of hits. I’m really bad at this. I don’t care. I hold a profound disdain for what is deemed to be popular among the masses; for the masses are generally ignorant of what it is to be unique or personally valuable. I’m only interested in you, and if you’ve found this page—well done, have a lollipop. Or a paper cut-out of an angel.
The title of this post is standard of an SEO siren call. “The ‘X’ greatest ‘Y’”. It could be the five best Ice-creams; the three fastest cars; the ten most polished turds; or, the single greatest book yet to be published *cough*, it’s called Hammer & Glass and it’s out this year. In three months, Google it one-thousand times and I might be able to quit my day job. Maybe. Anyway, SEO’s suck and they exist to enslave you to a world that is devoid of nurture and care. But not me, oh no; I’m here to tell you the truth and nothing but the truth.
I hear you. You’re shouting at me: “Get to the point, you word jabbering despoiler of vowels!”.
What are the three greatest exercises ever?
Number one: The Squat
As a bona-fide cripple (of sorts), I’m not very proficient at these. I can squat but I perform a very good charade of a ship listing in a bad storm. But, if you remove my nerve-knobbled left leg from the illustration, the squat is without doubt the single most effective and functional exercise known to any linear-jointed biped anywhere. The primary movers: the gluteals and the quadriceps, are given stability by the hamstrings and calf muscles. If you do it well enough, you’ll even integrate your core muscles too.
To consolidate its position as the greatest of the greatest three exercises, it is worth mentioning that legs are important. That might seem obvious to you but as a fitness professional, I’m appalled at the number of people who disregard the functional value of the limbs that dangle beneath their rounded tums or skinny bums. The days of requiring rapid, bipedal movement may have been relegated by the advent of the motor vehicle but the fundamental purpose of a set of leggy pins is without compare. In short—you need your legs to move. If evolution, mother nature, or God, had intended us to forego our legs, we’d be slumming it with the invertebrates. Yeah: worms, slugs and molluscs. Go you, you fleshy, boneless shoelace.
Number Two (or three) – The Chin-Up
I had to trek to Tibet and find a lonely monk who sat guarding a rare Lotus flower to seek the answer to the question, “What is more important: the Chin, or the Dip?”. (And you know what, I had to do that journey on a set of weary legs; that’s why squats are number one).
Truth is, the answer I received from the wise monk, whose teeth were strangely white and straight for a shed-dwelling luddite, was ambiguous.
He said, “If what is before you is an obstacle, the push to overcome it is paramount; but, if what lies behind is a weight upon your soul, you must pull yourself free”.
Clearly, the monk was on vacation from California and he was likely an avid user of hallucinogenic drugs. From that, I gathered he was probably called ‘Boof’ and drives a Tesla. But beyond that revelation, I sought to pick apart his riddle.
I chose the Chin Up (or pull up) as the primary candidate for number two. Why? The chin-up is grounded (ironically) in the action of pulling oneself up, or, to place it in a nice pictorial demonstration: to climb upwards. As the apes do. You know, what our ancestors once did. There is a reason our back muscles (Latissimus Dorsi) are so freaking huge—we used them to climb when we were furry, tree-dwelling rock-chuckers. If you don’t believe we are descended from apes, check out your tail bone, your useless and degenerate pinkie toes, and the fact you feel an unusual affinity with chimpanzees.
Regardless, the chin-up, working the lats, the biceps, the forearms, and posterior deltoids, as well as recruiting the abdominal muscles, is as good as it gets for upper body work outs. It even incorporates some pectoral action. In short, the chin-up is the miracle exercise.
Number Three – Yeah, it’s number three – The Dip.
Considering the phenomenal benefits derived from the mechanical movement of the Chin-Up, the Dip can appear a poor second (technically, a third in this discourse). But hold on; there is faith to be had in the workhorse that is the push to escape gravity. Any action that requires you to push an object: a door, another door…. Seriously, all I can think of is doors… maybe a person, or an angry bovine, perhaps even a disgruntled zombie—these actions require the muscles enervated during the dipping movement. Ooh… I thought of another—you need to push a car, a trolley; or any other large mass object in your way. That is the remit of the ‘pushing muscles’: the triceps, the anterior deltoid, and the pectoral muscles.
Point is, the muscles used when Dipping are antagonists of the Chin-Up muscles. One is a push (Dip), the other is a pull (Chin-Up). When combined in an exercise routine, the two exercises effectively cover the entirety of your upper body—yes, they even work the traps, as traps depress, protract, and retract the shoulders; all of which are performed to various degrees when chinning and dipping.
When fighting zombies, or seeking monks in remote mountainous terrain, your training schedule should consist of just three things: Squats, Chin-Ups, and Dips. But don’t forget to bring water. And maybe a bag of nuts, unless you’re allergic. Though, the monk ate nuts, so bring your epi-pen. And I guess if you came the zombie route, get a Tetanus jab before you leave the city. And sturdy shoes for both quests. Maybe a camera. Certainly some plasters.
But definitely Squats, Chins, and Dips.
Now go young weirdo. Go find your zombie monk. And tell him his Tesla’s on fire.