“Funny how it all works out. Right before I did this I was feeling burnt out, now the whole city bout to get burned down.” – Jack Harlow
Strength training – the building and maintaining of our muscular-skeletal system. I’m no expert at it, I still learn new things everyday. But over 15 sweaty years of pushing myself and helping others do the same, it’s a domain I’ve learned a lot about. The quickest way from point a to point b is a straight line. Make sure you are getting results from the work you are putting in. Don’t be a hamster on a wheel.
Here’s a quick rundown of the four brackets of strength training as I’ve learned to see them:
- Pure Strength – Body Building, Olympic style – Mass Building
- Endurance Training – High Stamina – Great for An Active Lifestyle
- Explosive – Athletic Training
- Calisthenics – Body Weight Training
Many people train for a specific goal, which may require staying completely in one lane. Say a marathon runner for instance, whose goals aren’t going to be reached in Lane A. Or a body builder working to grow, who needs to focus their energy into putting on mass. Apply your energy directly towards your goals and you’ll see more satisfying results.
I’ve become a huge advocate of blending all four brackets as I like to call them. The makings of a physical warrior. One who’s capable. I spent years focusing heavily on A. and C. during my life. I’ve fallen in love with all four. Being able to run five miles, do hang cleans and single leg deadlifts, sets of pullups and pushups and still move heavy weight in the gym. I’m a weirdo for our ancestors so I look at Sartans, Samurais, etc. I envision they’d have been something like that. Challenge yourself with new workouts regularly and it hardens the body. It never knows what to expect just that it better repair quickly and be ready to roll again tomorrow.
- Pure Strength – Dumbbells, barbells, free weights – My personal favorite growing up, just moving weight. Everyone can relate, let your frustrations out on the bar. Keeping track of your number of sets/reps/weight is a great way of ensuring gains. If you’re trying to put on mass you want to break down the muscle tissue. Nothing does that like heavy weight. Slow and controlled. Challenge yourself with negative reps. I always showed people this visual; picture weaving your eight fingers together (minus thumbs). That’s what a bridge of muscle looks like. When you peel your hands apart you’re breaking down that bridge of muscle fiber. The process of eating protein repairs that bridge and strengthens it with another layer. Break down muscle, eat protein, gain mass. That’s the concept of body building. Those men and women visualize artwork on the body, it’s beautiful. Building and sculpting muscle where it’s needed for balance and symmetry. Trusting the process. That process of your body repairing muscle tissue can in fact burn an extra 50 calories a day. Burn 350 more calories a week when you’re lifting weights.
- Endurance Training – Biking, Boxing, Swimming, Dancing, High Rep Training, Cables/Resistance Bands – In the weight room this is the ability to lift moderate weight for high repetitions. With shorter breaks in between exercises you aim for keeping the heart rate high. This creates a high calorie burn when you incorporate weights/resistance training and a cardio output. The difference between lifting heavy weights and cardio training is that the when you cool down after getting off the treadmill or elliptical your body stops burning calories. As mentioned, breaking down muscle fiber is what keeps your body burning calories and working for you while you’re not. It’s great to find a balance of A and B. Endurance training makes for a great compliment to anyone with an active working lifestyle. Anyone outdoorsy, hiking and rock climbing for instance. You don’t need the excessive muscle mass weighing you down on a 4 hour climb to 14,000 feet. Train for your goals!
- Athletic Performance – Free Weights, Resistance Training, Agilities – For many of us as we age athletic performance becomes less important. Most of us stop with recreational sports and just focus on overall wellbeing. With more of your sprintwork, hangcleans, snatches, isolateral movements you’re often working to gain speed and torque. (They kill in sports). Extremely high effort workouts, great nutrition and serious rest. Remedy for success. But unless you’re still competing athletically we lack a need for those as we grow older. With an intense new passion for hiking and rock climbing I like pushing it to the edge, quite literally on cliffs. There’s no room for wrong footing or being off balance so I’ve been grinding a lot of extra single leg work lately. Train for your goals!
- Calisthenics – Body Weight Exercises, Martial Arts, Gymnastics, Yoga – Calisthenics training is probably the most overlooked of the four. Most people are so concerned with trying to overload a barbell they don’t even realize they haven’t mastered a pushup yet. Let alone an elevated pushup. What about a one armed pushup? The possibilities are endless when it comes to body weight training. Typically we think of exercises like pushups, pull-ups, dips, air squats, lunges, etc. Certainly the makings of a fine body weight program, but my personal favorite is what I call a meditative body flow. Similar to being in a yoga flow I find rhythm stretching and working my body in uncomfortable positions and angles, using my bodyweight as resistance and forcing reps where it feels uncomfortable. Guiding deep breaths and finding an empty mind. These calisthenics that stretch your muscles in ways they aren’t typically used create the fine shreds, aesthetics. Any beginner or even a 20-year vet in the gym will benefit from mastering the ownership of their bodyweight. Take a silverback gorilla for instance, he doesn’t lift weights but I’d say he’s pretty strong.
Whatever your goal is, stick to it. I’m right there with you doing the same thing every day. Striving for more. Let no one put a limit to your success and may we all find love and passion in what we do. Love you all! Hope this helps!
Love hearing from you all. Thanks again for the support!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org | Instagram @wildcodylife