We’ve been looking at a lot of “out there” things lately. Different exercises and concepts but let’s not forget our fundamentals. The foundation for what we do. One of the cornerstone fundamentals is STRENGTH. To quote strength coach Mark Rippetoe, “Strong people are generally more useful and harder to kill” Strength is one of the biggest difference makers in sport. In combat sports there are there weight classes, because the bigger guys produce more force and therefore do more damage. Why are men’s records in sports better than women’s records, because men have more muscle and therefore put out more force. Simply put strength is the ability to put out force, the more force you put out the stronger you are. Yes we need endurance, mobility, agility and power but in the end all of these are enhanced by being stronger.
Strength training is vanilla. Its basic, simple there’s no special things to it. It’s not flashy exercises. Its basics movements done well under load. Strength training is usually defined by low rep, high resistance movements with long rest between sets. Strength in the real world is not limited to this, it does not live in isolation. Being strong alone does not cut it but as far as something having the biggest effect of ability, strength is it. Strength must be used under fatigue and stress sometimes. In our training we must train to be strong under those conditions as well. We must do it safely though, as there are many risks to training fatigued and progressing properly and the correct combinations of movements is important, this is a topic for another day though.
…lets add some sprinkles
All of this stuff is about being a better mover. Being stronger part of being a better mover. We define strength in movement patterns not specific exercises themselves. Your squat, bench press or deadlift doesn’t define how strong you are. Yes if you are strong in those exercises you are stronger than most people, but there are gaps in your strength. Don’t just be strong in a squat, be strong in a squat pattern. How strong are you in a lunge or a pistol squat or a kettlebell front squat? Yes some exercises are better than others for building strength and certain sports prioritize some over others, but being strong in the pattern is the best approach. All it is, is a change of mind-set. Putting less value on a singular movement and more in a class of movements. Be strong in the patterns. Not a major change. It’s like adding sprinkles to vanilla ice cream, it’s still vanilla ice cream just with a twist. It’s still about being strong.
Consistency vs Variety
We need consistency, but we crave variety. We get consistency from the patterns we get variety from the movements. The pattern is squat but the movements are back squat, front squat, split squat. The pattern is push but the movements are bench press, military press, dips and one arm Kettlebell press. You get the idea
· Pick a movement from the patterns.
· Pick a number of reps to focus on
Generally this is in the 2-6 rep range, but it can be any amount of reps really it all depends on you and your goals and the exercise you are doing.
· Track your progress
· Move more weight for the same amount of reps or the same weight for more reps. Simple
· Change movements after a few weeks (6-18)
An example from my training:
These are my main movements that I currently train and track.
Squat: Split Squat (6 reps)
Press: One arm dumbbell bench press (8 reps)
Pull: Chest supported row (6 reps)
Hinge: Deadlift (3 reps)
Carry: Farmers walk (1/2 BW per hand – max distance)
Transition: none, I just make sure I train it.
These are not the only movements I do in these patterns, but these are the ones I am currently focusing on
Progress is simple …not easy
Get strong in the patterns
More weight for the same amount of reps or more reps on the same weight
Track your progress
Change exercises after a few weeks
Note: It doesn’t have to be barbell movements it can be dumbbells, kettlebells or odd objects. As long as you can track your progress.
Its basic vanilla, it's the foundation. You can do many exercises, you can do a few exercises and it doesn't matter. As long as you are getting stronger in the patterns. Focus on progress. JUST KEEP GETTING STRONGER!