The Best Exercise

The Best Exercise

One way to see through all the BS that is out there is you remember this nugget of goodness. There is little crossover between activities.

What I mean is that the best way to get good at something, is to do that thing. Another way of putting it is, like improves like.

So for example you will see articles like “5 Exercises To Improve Your Running”. If those exercises don’t look like running, there will be little crossover to running.

Another way to put it is, Do things that look like the thing you want to improve. They will have more benefits than doing something that doesn’t.

Let me give you some examples. (this hold true for healthy individuals, I will talk about sick or injured at the end)

  • Static breath holds on land, doesn’t transfer to improved freediving breath-hold underwater.
  • Speed training with ladders/ hurdles doesn’t have transfer to improved speed In a game.
  • Proprioception training doesn’t transfer better balance.
  • Dynamic stretching doesn’t transfer to improved static flexibility.
  • Static stretch doesn’t transfer to improved dynamic flexibility.

A good rule of thumb

  • Practice that main activity you want to get better at.
  • Do support activities that look like that main activity.
  • Do micro activities that look like a part or piece of your main activities.

If you want to get better at jumping

  • Step 1) Practice jumping.
  • Step 2) Do Support Activities (Box jumping/squats/dynamic stretching)
    • Box jumps. mimic the neurological coordination of a jump (looks like a jump).
    • Squats use the same muscle and neurological firing (looks like jumping).
    • Dynamic stretching increases ROM in a way that is similar to jumping.
  • Step 3) Micro activities or break it down into parts. (Hand swing, Feet set up. or calf raises)

Now if you are injured you may not be able to perform an activity. That is when step 2 or 3 come into play.

  • Static breath holds on land are helpful if you can’t do diving breath-hold underwater.
  • Speed training with ladders/ hurdles can improve speed In a game, If the movement is similar to the movement in game and you can’t do the game.
  • Proprioception trained does give you better balance, If you have a proprioception injury and can’t balance.
  • Static stretch is helpful if you can’t do dynamic stretching, because of pain.

So the next time you see an article about the next exercise that will fix all your problems, remember there is little crossover between activities. The more something looks like the activity, the more transfer it will have to that activity.


About the Author
Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
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