Become A ‘Two-Trick Pony’

If I could excel at only 2 exercises, they would have to be the deadlift and the T-pushup.

– Both can be done with minimal equipment.

– Both use a lot of energy-burning muscle.

– Both require your body to work together as a fine-tuned machine.

– Both strengthen the musculature of the “posterior chain”.

– Both challenge the body to produce, reduce and stabilize forces in all 3 planes of motion.

– Both have limitless progressions/regressions, making them excellent exercise choices for people of nearly any age or physical ability.

– Both require effort and concentration (aka: hard work) – therefore most ‘regular-folk’ won’t do ’em.  Instead, they’ll opt for countless situps and bicep curls – and have the body/performance to show for it.

To put it simply, these 2 exercises could easily be the foundation of any training plan for any goal.

To give you an idea ‘what can be done’, my former training partner, multi-world champion powerlifter Ed Coan, deadlifted over 900lbs at a bodyweight of 220.

And functional fitness guru Juan Carlos Santana (no, not the guitarist!) is said to have done multiple T-pushups with an 85lb dumbbell (yikes!).

As long as you have a single dumbbell and a li’l bit of floor space, you can do T-pushups.  And even if you don’t have a gym membership or a fully stocked home gym, you can pick up a 300lb weight set (incl. bar) for about 100 bucks at most sporting goods stores (or you already know how to find ’em even cheaper if you’ve read my home gym guide) and do deadlifts in a corner of your basement, garage or backyard.

While there is no ‘magic pill’ for weight loss, by tweaking the sets, reps, rest periods, frequency or any other variables, these two moves can become key ingredients to help you get bigger, badder, stronger, leaner or meaner.



  1. Great post! A T-pushup, btw, is a pushup in which when you’re at the top, you raise one hand until you’re in the shape of a “T”. Ie, .

    My goal is to perform an unassisted pullup. I started trying these when I was 170+ and pulled up against 90 pounds….now I’m 132 and can pull up against 20 pounds. Almost there!!

    Best wishes,

    Barbara Ling


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