If you could do one exercise for the rest of your life – what would it be?

A common question we get asked as clinicians is “what’s the best exercise?”

And this is an understandable question, people would like to know what exercise will give them the most bang for their buck. So today, I will try my best to answer the question: if I could do ONE exercise for the rest of my life, what would it be? And why?

To lay down some guidelines..

For this question, I am assuming this exercise is restricted to an exercise rehab or gym setting. Similarly, I am assuming this is the biggest bang for buck exercise for overall health, and daily function through ALL stages of life. However, other clinicians may have different answers to me that are also fantastic options. Therefore, this is my personal opinion, and my exercise of choice certainly isn’t the only option out there.

For me, if could choose one exercise to perform for the rest of my life it would have to be DEADLIFTS.

Interestingly, there are many reasons for this:

  1. Deadlifts are a compound exercise, which means they target multiple muscle groups and joints at the same time
  2. The deadlift loads the entire posterior chain e.g. glutes, hamstrings, spinal erector muscles
  3. The deadlift mimics commonly performed daily movements
  4. There is solid evidence that, if loaded appropriately, the deadlift can be effective for improving low back pain in clinical populations
  5. The deadlift has strong carryover to improving sports performance
  6. The deadlift is very safe, with very low injury rates being present, even when the movement is performed in a competition setting with maximal loads

In summary, this exercise is a clinically safe option for management of low back pain

As this exercise targets most of the bodies’ musculature, which can improve sports performance and daily function. Which is why it’s my pick for the one exercise I would do.



  1. What are compound exercises?: AFA Blog [Internet]. Australian fitness Academy; 2024 [cited 2024 May 13]. Available from: https://www.fitnesseducation.edu.au/blog/education/what-are-compound-exercises/
  2. Choe KH, Coburn JW, Costa PB, Pamukoff DN. Hip and knee kinetics during a back squat and deadlift. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2021 May;35(5):1364–71. doi:10.1519/jsc.0000000000002908
  3. Fischer SC, Calley DQ, Hollman JH. Effect of an exercise program that includes deadlifts on low back pain. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2021 May 1;30(4):672–5. doi:10.1123/jsr.2020-0324
  4. Dudagoitia E, García-de-Alcaraz A, Andersen LL. Safety of powerlifting: A literature review. Science & Sports. 2021 Jun;36(3). doi:10.1016/j.scispo.2020.08.003

Do you have any questions?

  • Call us on (03) 9857 0644 or (07) 3505 1494 (Paddington)
  • Email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au
  • Check out our other blog posts here

Our clinical staff would be happy to have chat if you have any questions.

Take the first step to a healthier you!

Would you prefer for someone to contact you regarding booking your Initial Physiotherapy appointment, Initial Exercise Physiology, Initial Osteopathy session or FREE Full Body Assessment*?

Or do you have any other enquiry about our services at MD Health?

Please fill in this form and someone from MD Health will be in touch with you soon.

Alternatively please call us on 03 9857 0644 (Kew East), 03 9842 6696 (Templestowe), 03 8683 9442 (Carlton North) or 07 3505 1494 (Paddington) to book now!

*Please note only the Full Body Assessment is a FREE service. The Full Body Assessment is for new clients at MD Health or returning clients who haven’t been in for 6 months or longer who intend to particpiate in our 13 Week Clinical Pilates Program**.

For all new clients who wish to come in for a one-off, casual or adhoc basis for Physiotherapy or Exercise Physiology the Initial Physiotherapy or Initial Exercise Physiology appointment is a paid service.

** The 13 Week Clinical Pilates Program at MD Health is not a lock in contract and you are not required to attend for the full 13 weeks if you do not wish.

Get In Touch

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Call Now Button