Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Kyle has a great post over on APT Physical Training about the value of a so-so program done consistently. It's well worth the read.

Do Something!

I've long trumpeted the idea that showing up and putting some work in trumps almost everything else in terms of long term benefits. It's nice to see some more empirical, if anecdotal, evidence of that.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August Break

As I'll be away for the rest of August, there will be a posting hiatus until Labor Day weekend.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Strongman 5/3/1 and Prowler article

If you're not reading Jim Wendler's blog regularly, you may have missed this guest post.

Ryan Vance, competitive strongman, posted about using the 5/3/1 program.

What's so special about this post? The 5/3/1 program is at least originally aimed at powerlifting. Powerlifting is a 1-rep max sport, ultimately - you're judged by the best weight you can lift once. Strongman is much more mixed-mode. You need power, strength, strength-endurance (ability to lift heavy things repeatedly), and endurance. The efficacy of the program in building not only maximal strength but the ability to lift things repeatedly, then recover and do it again, is demonstrated by Mr. Vance's success. It shows what a versatile program 5/3/1 really is.

What was that about the Prowler? Mr. Vance's post also mentions using Jim Wendler's three prowler variations. Here they are, over on T-Nation. All high-handles only, rotating intensity, hard Prowler pushes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Focus on Results, not Time

The gym I work at sells personal training in 50-minute sessions. Most workouts I write take between 45 and 60 minutes to complete, depending on rest and the rep count (3 sets of 6 or 8 takes less time than 3 sets of 10 or 12, given similar rest).

I like to tell people "I sell results, not time." This is true - if you lose weight/gain muscle/get stronger/look better as a result of the workouts, I'm doing my job. If you merely spend 50 minutes with me two or three times a week but don't get them, it doesn't matter that I gave you exactly the time you paid for.

As a client and a trainee, don't focus on your length of workout. The important thing is, was this workout the training you needed today for optimally reaching your goals? If that means a short, hard workout, great, it's short. If it means going a bit longer, great.

As a trainee, it's extremely easy to pad out a workout with extras you don't need because you expect the workout to go 60 minutes. Or to cut it short and remove exercises you need to do because you only budgeted an hour. Remember the focus is on results, not on the length of time it takes to get them.
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