“When am I ever going to need to lift this weight this heavy?!”, is something I often hear from clients. It’s a valid question.
200lbs is scary the first time around. And if you're not exactly clicking your heels on your way to the gym, it might seem pointless and unnecessary.
So what’s the point? What's the point of putting up with all of the fear, uncertainty, and discomfort of lifting heavy things?
Because life is a strength sport.
While you might not need to lift 200lbs everyday, you'll use the ability to lift 200lbs every single day.
Strength makes daily tasks easier -- whether it's carrying your sleeping toddler up 3 flights of stairs or simply walking to the store without knee pain.
If you can lift 200 lbs, you won’t feel like your lungs are going to burst carrying groceries up the stairs or playing that game where you toss your kid in the air for a half an hour straight.
The ability to lift really heavy things makes everything else feel lighter.
Plus, occasionally life requires you show off your heavy lifting skills. This could be helping your friend move their over-sized couch or moving the washing machine out of the way because something fell behind there and you weren't #blessed with the arms of an orangutan.
Let's not forget about vacations.
When you take those two weeks off I’m guessing you want to make the most of it and go on tons of adventures. Strength opens up the realm of possibilities for how you spend this precious time.
Viewpoint at the top of a volcano? Oh man, you have your backpack with all your shit it in? No sweat. Well, maybe a little sweat. It is a volcano after all -- they tend to be on the hotter side of things if I remember correctly. Either way, you’ll commit to that hike without an ounce of fear or hesitation.
This is me moving to a new apartment once upon a time.
It was only a few blocks away aka half a mile, so I didn’t want to get a cab #budgetlikeaboss
It was a brutal, horrible 15 minutes and I don’t ever want to do it again. That said, I did it. And even though those 15 minutes sucked, I actually saved a lot of time and energy.
The point is, life gets better when you're strong. After a few month's training my clients can do more things they love, with less energy. It's awesome.
Plus, lifting something you didn’t think possible is empowering.
It shatters preconceived notions of what you’re capable of. This confidence and perspective shift irradiates into other areas of your life.
The feeling of personal accomplishment has a huge ripple effect.
By the way, here are my two of my online clients, Diana and Christopher, nonchalantly squatting 115 lbs for the first time after months of hard work, because they're badasses.
While you may not ever need to squat with 115 lbs on your back outside of a gym setting, that doesn’t mean developing that kind of strength isn’t necessary to build your best life and the most awesome version of yourself.
Ok, so you're convinced. You want to get strong. Awesome! I love hearing that!
Where should you start? What should you do?
If you want to have a long lifting career without injury you need to work on improving your movement quality and exercise technique every single session.
Beyond that, the best way to get strong is by practicing what Dan John calls the 5 Fundamental Movements, which are listed below with an example for each category:
Push- Single Arm Bench Press
Pull- Batwing Row
Squat- Goblet Squats
There are plenty of other awesome exercises you could do, but I'd recommend starting out with these because they'll give you quick results, and build a solid foundation of strength, making future progress quicker.
For the first few months do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise per workout. Write down how much weight you lift, and how many reps/sets you do to track your progress.
Technique comes first. Don't add weight or reps unless it won't noticeably change how your technique looks. My online clients squats you saw earlier looked really similar to how their squats look at 50 lbs. That's what you want to build muscle in the right places and keep your joints happy.
To recap, improve technique, add weight, add reps.
Embrace the journey, be consistent, and stay focused. Oh, and enjoy your new and improved life of strength, confidence, and adventure :)
By the way, I take no responsibility if your friends start asking you to open pickle jars for them all the time :P