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What's the Best Kind of Strength Training Work Out?

In my opinion, the best workout is one that provides functional strength. One that trains your body to pull, push, balance, hop, step, twist, bend, reach -- all the things that we do in our daily activities and sports.

While these types of movements are common, most typical strength workouts don't include them. Instead of strengthening the whole body to function as a unit or as coordinated muscle groups, they focus on isolating muscles and training in a seated or supported position. Most Americans already spend far too much time sitting; I truly doubt that we need any more time "training" in that activity!

My favorite strength programs involve full body core conditioning, balance and power-generating exercises. The great thing about these types of workouts is that you need very little equipment and very little space. The best exercises are the classics: pullups, pushups, chops, lifts, squats and lunges. They use full body movement and weight to effectively build strength. One legged exercises and drills as well as various core classics such as bird dog, plank, side plank, bridges are excellent choices for increasing stability.

The best equipment includes medicine balls, cable machines or resistance bands, TRX systems, pull up bars, ropes and stairs.

A program that includes these exercises builds muscle strength that is functional not just fashionable.

Stay on the path!


Carol Porter is a personal trainer and fitness guide in Ashland, Oregon. She is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, exercise and performance-training specialist, and yoga teacher. Her sports interests are cycling, running, yoga, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and cross country skiing.  You can reach Carol at

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