Deadlifts, overhead presses and farmer’s walks are the most important exercises. Here is why.
If you care about being functionally strong then you must be competent at these basic movement patterns:
- Picking heavy stuff up off the ground;
- Lifting heavy stuff overhead; and
- Carrying heavy stuff for time or distance.
If your goal is strength and you’re not doing these, well, the best of luck with that. Yes, deadlifts, overhead presses, and farmer’s walks are really that important. Functionally, picking stuff off the ground, moving it overhead or carrying weight over a given distance are some of the more common real world applications of strength. These movements are practiced almost daily by most people.
Additionally, I would add pull-ups, however the skillset for everybody to pull their own bodyweight over an obstacle is not commonly required these days as it was in previous generations.
Below are some functional strength standards that are highly achievable with some consistent strength training.
- Deadlift: 100-150% bodyweight
- Single-arm overhead press: 50% bodyweight
- Farmer’s carry: 100% bodyweight (total)
- Pull-up: minimum 8 repetitions
- Deadlift: 100-125% bodyweight
- Single-arm overhead press: 33% bodyweight
- Farmer’s carry: 66% bodyweight (total)
- Pull-up: 3 repetitions