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Barbell Logic

Jan 10, 2023

Strength and endurance - can you do both!? Yes, in fact, you can.

While the adaptations and strength and endurance conflict, you can reach high levels in both.

CJ shares his story of ruck marching, voluntary hardship, lifting, and joy. He describes how he balanced life, lifting, and rucking and realized he needed aerobic endurance events to be part of his life.

He also shares how you could add endurance training to your program if you miss it (or want to try it out).

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Joy Lost but Rekindled

CJ enjoys rucking. He had a background of aerobic endurance events in the military and his free time.

During a particularly busy time in his life, he did not realized what he had lost and how he had repeated a foreign narrative of strength exclusivity that left him cold. Strength and endurance are mutually exclusive, right!?

Then he injured himself on what should have been an easy event, that he could have crushed a few years ago.

He did not want to be that fragile and remembered he enjoyed long, slow, endurance events.

He evaluated his priorities, preferences, and available time, and decided to start rucking again.

Rucking as Lifter - Strength and Endurance

What's rucking?

Rucksack is the German word for backpack. Its background comes from the necessity of Soldiers to move from one place to another with the equipment they need to fight.

More recently, civilians seeking voluntary hardship have begun to ruck by themselves or in group events.

Strictly, it's an endurance event, but strength and endurance benefit performance, as rucksacks can be heavy, and having a muscular frame helps.

The other aspect of rucking, especially considering its martial history, is the communal aspect - this was something Soldiers did together.

Shared Suffering

Unless you train in a great black iron gym or have some good training partners, lifting is a solitary exercise modality.

GoRuck and other organizations bring shared suffering into the event. You have to work together with other people to accomplish the event.

This is something CrossFit gets right. The community aspect maybe more than anything else may be what keeps people coming back to CrossFit gyms.

If you're looking to pursue strength and endurance events and looking for more social time, why not combined them?

Suffer with your friends.

Strength and Endurance

It is true that you cannot pursue maximal strength and endurance. These adaptations limit each other.

You can, however, pursue high levels of adaptations in both areas (as in better in both areas than the vast majority of people).

This requires time and commitment, but it is possible.

Ultimately, you need to decide on what matters to you - how much do you care about pursuing or excelling in a certain modality.

If you've deadlifted 550 lbs, how much work are you willing to do to hit 600 lbs?

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