Friday, December 4, 2015

Life Strong

 The other day, somebody asked me if I missed competing. I do miss training for something, but I'd rather just get as strong as I can so that I can handle challenges when they come my way in life.

I had a couple of  incidents recently that illustrated to me just how important strength is in life.  The first was at Thanksgiving dinner when my 83 year old father fell backwards out of an unstable chair. He's a tough guy but has had knee replacements,  a hip replacement, and a bunch of other stuff. So it was gonna be a real challenge for him to get up by himself. I was fortunate enough to be there and to get behind him and lift him up and get him back on his feet without any problem. He is around 200 pounds. No, that isn't that heavy.  But if I couldn't do it, he would have had a heck of a time getting to his feet. And then I was duck hunting and my 85 pound lab went out for a retrieve and couldn't get up on the dock because he has an artificial shoulder and his hips don't feel so good either and I was able to reach down while I was holding on with one hand to the duck blind so that I wouldn't fall in, and pull him up to the blind ( with the duck still in his mouth). Not earth shattering, but if I hadn't been lifting weights, I would have struggled for sure.  After that, I was like, OH! That's why I train. It was like this electric charge of HELL YESSS! went through me and I thought, Always train because it is essential for life. Stronger is always better than weaker

What I am saying here is that as you get older and you are not training for a specific competition, train for life. Train because daily tasks are easier when you are stronger, and train because life can throw some curve balls at you that require you to step up and display your strength. Ah, people say. I don't need to be that strong. Yeah, how strong is that strong? Get as strong as you can! And if you have injuries, get strong as a mutant Viking in the exercises that you can perform. And focus on the basic exercises, the bang for your buck exercises that involve lots of muscles. Life exercises. And get both lower body and upper body strong.

It is not that hard to get strong for life. You can train as little as 2 days a week and get there.

Here is a 2 day-

*Feel free to substitute the Power Clean for the deadlift on day 1 or 2. I would just do sets of 1 or 2 in the Power Clean and add 10 pounds a week.

 Day 1
Squat or deadlift- work up, in 5 sets, to a heavy set of 2
Bent rows 4x5
Max set of 5, in 5 sets in the close grip bench.
Chin-ups 3x whatever you can do

Day 2
Squat or deadlift- work up, in 5 sets, to a max set of 5
Press - DB or BB-  work up, in 5 sets, to a max set of 5
Dips 3x whatever you can do
Hammer curls or grip work(wrist curls, Captains of Crush) 4x5

Each week, drop a rep on the squats or deadlifts, and on the pressing exercises. Sets of 5 this week, 4 the next, 3 the next. Keep the assistance work the same.
And if it takes you 6, 7, 8, sets to get to a max set, that is fine. Or if you get there in 4 sets, go for it. 5 sets is just a guideline. After you work up to a max set of 1 rep in a few weeks, start the program over again.

Easy, huh? And you can do 3 days also, just bookend the squats and deadlifts on a Monday and Friday, and then add a heavy pressing movement on Wednesday  or a heavy weighted chin-up and dip and biceps day on Wednesday.  Or strongman stuff on Wednesday. Or a heavy Prowler day, where you get cardio and strength.

Whatever program you choose to do, just know that you don't need a lot of work to get there, but you need heavy work to get there.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.