Jan 25, 2022
Why do we emphasize strength as opposed to other physical
attributes, and if we value strength, how do we achieve it. Niki &
Matt explore WHY you should get strong & how to get strong.
Strength--and the process of getting strong--produces lasting
changes in our body. Our body changes to the stress we impose on
it, with denser bones and bigger, more capable muscles. This
changes how we interact with the world every day. Like unlocking a
new ability for a character in a videogame, strength upgrades your
capability, allowing you to do things you could not do
When we decide to get stronger, we want to get the most bang for
our buck. For strength exercises, this means exercises that move
the most joints and involve the most muscle mass. We'd rather do 4
exercises than 14. We're not looking to live in the gym or do as
much as we can (and, if you do, that's okay, we can always add
more, but remember that there comes a point in time where you HAVE
to add more volume and more stress and spend more time in the gym
to continue to realize strength gains, so enjoy the simplicity and
relatively short workouts novices can execute).
We like exercises that are incrementally loadable. Barbells--more
than any other implement--allow small weight jumps and for us to
train multiple joints as we overcome gravity and attempt to keep
our center of mass over our center of balance.
The term "functional" has been overused and has come to mean almost
nothing, but if we understand that the movement we do in the gym
resemble and carry over to movements we execute in our life, then
we realize the functionality of free weight movements.
Nothing is more natural than bending over and sitting down and then
getting back up again, like the squat. The deadlift mimics picking
something up off the floor. The press resembles lifting something
up over our head.
People who have never undergone a systematic exercise program can
increase stress in a linear manner with small enough jumps. While
many point to the flattened top of the curve when they reference
the law of diminishing returns, as a beginner you can enjoy the
steep portion, with quick gains.
For those using barbells, we most often add the same amount of
weight each workout in a linear fashion until this stops. If you
aren't ready for barbells and are using bodyweight exercises or
lightweight objects in your home, we most often add reps (though
eventually the resistance must go up).
The great part about this is that you'll feel better
quickly--likely within 2 weeks. Furthermore, the improvements last.
So, if you have to take a week off, the increased muscle mass and
improved strength do not lessen as fast as conditioning
So, if you're unsure about strength and how you might get strong,
enjoy this. If you know someone this might benefit, be sure to
share this with them.
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