So, you want to get strong. It makes sense. Strength is a good thing, and I can tell you how to build it.
It’s simple really. Plug in X, Y, and Z variables and you will get stronger – guaranteed. There’s no guesswork involved. Strength is really simple to attain, and if you are willing to put in the effort to get stronger, then you can have it fairly easily. Will it be hard work? Sure it will. If strength were an easy task, everyone would be strong. And we all know the state of the health and fitness community.
The truth is, I’m sick of all the banter. The ad’s, the promises, the lingo – it’s absurd really…
Get strong fast!
Chisel your core in minutes a day!
The ultimate secret to maximum strength! Introducing THE BUBONIC GIZMO!!!
We’re bombarded with ridiculous messages everyday – the noise is overwhelming.
So, let’s say you want to get strong. You have the desire, the passion, and the discipline to take you to a stronger body. You enact the ideal lifestyle to build and foster strength. You’re successful at last. Congratulations.
Now that you’re strong, what are you going to do with that strength? What purpose is it going to serve for you?
Do you even have a concrete definition of what strong enough means to you? Is strong enough 100 pounds, 100 kilos, 3 plates per side, or 8 wheels? When does it end? When will you become strong enough?
That’s a very important question to answer. If you don’t, you may be chasing unrealistic goals for the rest of your life.
Contrary to what most men’s magazines would have you believe, no, we weren’t all meant to bench press 600 pounds or squat 1000. The deadlift is a great exercise and all, but being able to pull nearly a half ton won’t help you that much in real life. Of course, these numbers will confirm that you are one strong dude in the powerlifting community and that you have a mindset for achieving almost anything you set your mind on. But, could you outrun an armed attacker? Could you carry somebody out of a burning building? Could you swim or climb to safety? Even though I’m open to exceptions, I’ll have to say “Methinks not in most cases. ”
Specialization is a good thing, it has its uses – especially specialization in strength training. However, we are not robots and shouldn’t behave like them. We’re people, social creatures whom have the ability to fully appreciate and enjoy the many experiences that life has to offer. Strength is only one attribute of fitness, which is only one aspect of health. Strength is important, but it’s not the end-all, be-all because it will END eventually. Unless your life is ended prematurely, before returning back to dust, your body will become progressively weaker over the years. I’m sorry, we can’t help it. Aging will take its toll no matter what we do to counter it.
Now, this isn’t an excuse to give up early. On the contrary, we need to refocus our attention on what is truly important and redouble our efforts to achieve it.
So, what could possibly be more important than strength training?
Natural Human Movement.
Not moving like robots. Not moving like animals (although imagining that you are an animal is a fun and useful activity).
Move like a human that is happy and free – even exuberant!
Trainers and coaches from across the world are beginning to realize that strength is just one small part of health, fitness, and athletic ability. Strength is just a by-product, a sub-set of natural movement. We get stronger when we move naturally – not the other way around as many fitness programs would have you believe. More strength isn’t necessarily going to help you. If it’s a limiting factor, then yes, you should be directly focusing on life-applicable strength training for your needs. This is a way of getting back to baseline health, general physical conditioning – which we should all have a goal of possessing for life’s basic requirements.
However, strength is only one piece of the bigger picture, which is natural human movement. So, next time someone tells you about the latest, greatest strength training program, secret, or tool, take their advice with a grain of salt and focus on the big picture of physical living.
5 Things You Need to do Right Now…
1. Write down why you are strength training, and for what purpose.
2. Write down your goals and decide exactly when you will meet them.
3. Answer the question “when will I be strong enough for my life?”
4. Answer the question “what will I do once I become STRONG ENOUGH?”
5. Take action on your goals!
Something that most coaches don’t explain about strength is that it is utterly dependent on natural movement – normal human range of motion at each joint. If you don’t have full range of motion, then you can’t exert full strength. It’s as simple as that. So, if you’re lacking in mobility, you need to work on this FIRST – this is the foundation of Natural Human Movement. A good program is Intu-Flow by Scott Sonnon. I’ve used it almost everyday for the past three years, and there are plenty of resources here on my site all about it.
After you’ve developed those basic movements, it’s a good idea to add resistance to them. There are several programs out there that I could recommend for this, but I’ll suggest the Bodyweight Exercise Revolution since you should master your own bodyweight movement in 3 dimensions and 6 degrees of freedom before adding additional resistance. This is also an intelligent transition away from conventional strength training methods, without throwing the baby out with the bath water.
From there, the sky is the limit really. There are infinitely different forms that natural human movement can take. Dancing, rock climbing, and martial arts are all good examples. The important thing is that you’re putting natural human movement before strength training in your priorities. But it’s not supposed to be an issue of willpower, in which you subject your lifestyle to forces of natural movement INSTEAD of conventional strength training – this would be missing the point entirely.
The ultimate message I wish to convey is that it would do us all some good to start seeking after activities that are intrinsically rewarding, things that we would do just for fun, even without the promises of health and fitness benefits. This is the key to compliance and sustainability. If you love doing something, you’ll keep doing it!
To your health and success,
Fitness Professional and Natural Movement Enthusiast