We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
nb: I am no expert; just an 11-month beginner, sharing what I am discovering. I have been fairly athletic most of my life, but never especially strong. A runner's body.
We've said that physical fitness consists of 1. muscle strength, 2. cardio fitness, 3. physical power (strength X speed), and 4. muscle+cardio (ie calisthenic endurance) - plus minimal flab and sag.
We've asserted that beach muscles are not necessary at all for fitness, but that strength-building and maintenance are required for best efforts in all of the above to prevent physical deterioration and to maintain vigorous functionality after 40.
Strength is just one, but the key, component of fitness (unless you need diet too). Regarding the strength component, for efficient strength-building and maintenance, traditional Compound (multi-joint) exercises are best (their recommended program is ridiculous, tho, I think, because it is all strength). For many of us, it may take months of Isolation muscle work to be able to make the most of Compound efforts. For example, lots of men and women can't do enough pull-ups to make it useful at all and so have to work up to it. (Compound vs. Isolation strength exercises)
The King of Compound exercise is the essential Deadlift, aka picking up heavy things off the floor and then putting them down. I don't think any other exercise stresses as many muscle groups at once. Thus the efficiency. Some say the King is the Barbell Squat, but I disagree. Doesn't matter much.
Cosmetically, Deads are also the best thing for your posture. Mentally, Deads (and Barbell Squats) can be the greatest tests of will-power, of mind over matter. Proper technique is absolutely necessary for effect and to prevent injury. Man, these things are heavy - dead lifts = dead weight - and as soon as you can do 5 reps, they raise you 10 lbs.
What confuses me about deadlifts is that it seems like the opposite of what we've been told forever about how to avoid back injuries. It's hard for me to imagine deliberately leaning over and lifting something heavy. I suppose these guys are keeping their backs straight enough to avoid trouble . . .? He did say that the wide stance was easier on the back.