Indispensable Lifts

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Any lifts you would say are indispensable, no matter what type of sport one is involved in?

Well, we know people need to squat, deadlift, bench, row, and do chin-ups, but for whatever reason, the big ones I see people overlooking are single-leg movements – and I’m not just talking about lunges. You need to look at three different categories:

1. Static Unsupported – 1-leg squats (Pistols), 1-leg RDLs
2. Static Supported – Bulgarian Split Squats
3. Dynamic – Lunges, Step-ups

From there, you can also divide single-leg movements into decelerative (forward lunging) and accelerative (slideboard work, reverse lunges). I’ve found that accelerative movements are most effective early progressions after lower extremity injuries (less stress on the knee joint). I think that it’s ideal for everyone to aim to get at least one of each of the three options in each week. If one needed to be sacrificed, it would be static supported. Because static unsupported aren’t generally loaded as heavily and don’t cause as much delayed onset muscle soreness, they can often be thrown in on upper body days.

Of course, I’m the corrective exercise guy, so people obviously need to be doing their mobility and activation drills along with plenty of scapular stability and rotator cuff work.

Eric Cressey