Other "Perfect" Exercises
What about running and bicycling? Are they perfect exercises? Many people who do them regularly will swear by them and say they are. They certainly are good endurance exercises if you do them for at least a half hour or so. But, it should be obvious that these sports only exercise your legs. This is only one out of the five movements that are necessary for a balanced strength exercise program. Bicyclists and sprinters can develop very strong legs. Distance runners are very slender and their legs are too. I used to be a fairly good distance runner and can vouch for the fact that, while this exercise certainly toned my legs, it did not give them the strength required for squatting with a heavy weight on my back. So, like in the K*I*S*S* Fitness Program where walking and running are used as endurance exercises, I would recommend a balanced strength exercise program on top of any running or bicycling program that you might undertake. I would give running and bicycling a score of 5.5 or 6 in my rating system for a perfect exercise.
And, finally, what about swimming? Is it a "perfect exercise?" Swimming certainly is a good endurance exercise if you do it for a half hour or so. It also strengthens some large muscle groups. However, like rowing, it doesn't exercise pushing muscles to any degree. It also doesn't exercise your stomach or lower back. It does exercise your legs but not as fully as rowing. Swimming is funny in that the leg movements aren't really "human." We try to imitate aquatic creatures by doing flutter kicks, frog kicks, and dolphin kicks. While these movements certainly do exercise a person's legs, it is important to remember than humans are put together to do a squatting motion. Finally, the pulling that is involved does exercise your upper back --- a lot (Like oarsmen, swimmers can also be slump-shouldered). I would give swimming a score of 6.5 or 7 in my rating system for a perfect exercise. Like runners and bicyclists, swimmers should do some additional strength exercise.