Why Strength Train

Hardly_Hangin

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Assuming you're not a bodybuilder or competitive athlete, why is it important to train strength? Research indicates that strength is directly correlated to health and longevity, and naturally the muscle growth required for strength is visually appealing. But to what end? Where is the line of "strong enough" and how do you maintain?

Before i was doing kettlebell strength/conditioning workouts, and was only in the gym 30-45 minutes, which was great. I got bored with that and I began the starting strength program 4 weeks ago, and have seen substantial gains. Now everythings heavy and every day is a blistering grind. And im wondering why im doing it. I dont care if i look like a bodybuilder, and i dont compete - so why should i continously push myself to get super big and strong?

Just looking for insight/direction - why do you strength train? In the field i can see mental toughness crossover along with the ability to pack heavy loads, but i could get that from just rucking, right? Should i keep pushing my body to get big and strong?
 

Ram94

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Assuming you're not a bodybuilder or competitive athlete, why is it important to train strength? Research indicates that strength is directly correlated to health and longevity, and naturally the muscle growth required for strength is visually appealing. But to what end? Where is the line of "strong enough" and how do you maintain?

Before i was doing kettlebell strength/conditioning workouts, and was only in the gym 30-45 minutes, which was great. I got bored with that and I began the starting strength program 4 weeks ago, and have seen substantial gains. Now everythings heavy and every day is a blistering grind. And im wondering why im doing it. I dont care if i look like a bodybuilder, and i dont compete - so why should i continously push myself to get super big and strong?

Just looking for insight/direction - why do you strength train? In the field i can see mental toughness crossover along with the ability to pack heavy loads, but i could get that from just rucking, right? Should i keep pushing my body to get big and strong?
Strong, yes! Big, no. If your goal is performance in the back country.
 

mtwarden

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Strength training is one of the pillars of overall fitness and not to be ignored imho. It doesn't matter the activity or sport, being stronger is going to help.

Long gone are my days of lifting six days a week, but have settled nicely into lifting twice a week with a modified (modified by me) Wendler workout. I concentrate on deadlifts/squats/bench/overhead press and then mix in pull/chin ups, lunges, dips and a few other odds and ends.

The rest of my days I'm hiking on the trails.

This combination has served me pretty well for the last ten years or so. I do numerous (and generally strenuous) multi-day trips throughout the year (including hunting season :D) and age hasn't impacted my ability to do so (thus far anyways).

Part of that reward is clearly from regular strength training and my "investment" is only about hour/week- pretty easy to invest 60 minutes in a week's time.
 

TrapMessiah33

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No one has ever complained they are too strong. On top of being correlated with increased health and longevity, being stronger allows you to work at a lower intensity level while performing a given task. This is relative, however, because obviously if you are gaining 10+ pounds in order to gain this strength then the juice may not be worth the squeeze. That's why programs like CrossFit and other methods of training which focus on aerobic, anaerobic, and strength work are so valuable because they allow you to become stronger without sacrificing too much on the endurance and anaerobic side. I personally have been doing 3 days of bodybuilding and cardio, with the other 2 or 3 days of the week being CrossFit style workouts with a sandbag or rucksack.
 
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Assuming you're not a bodybuilder or competitive athlete, why is it important to train strength? Research indicates that strength is directly correlated to health and longevity, and naturally the muscle growth required for strength is visually appealing. But to what end? Where is the line of "strong enough" and how do you maintain?

Before i was doing kettlebell strength/conditioning workouts, and was only in the gym 30-45 minutes, which was great. I got bored with that and I began the starting strength program 4 weeks ago, and have seen substantial gains. Now everythings heavy and every day is a blistering grind. And im wondering why im doing it. I dont care if i look like a bodybuilder, and i dont compete - so why should i continously push myself to get super big and strong?

Just looking for insight/direction - why do you strength train? In the field i can see mental toughness crossover along with the ability to pack heavy loads, but i could get that from just rucking, right? Should i keep pushing my body to get big and strong?
I strength train for a bunch of numerous reasons. Mental health, mental toughness, and performance. I've found I'm mentally in a much better place and have found direct correlation to my back country performance. My simpleton brain is like this: Heavy pack + strong body = lighter pack weight felt. Keep at it is my vote.
 

KnuckleChild

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Before i was doing kettlebell strength/conditioning workouts, and was only in the gym 30-45 minutes, which was great. I got bored with that and I began the starting strength program 4 weeks ago, and have seen substantial gains. Now everythings heavy and every day is a blistering grind.
Starting strength is a fine place to start but it sounds like you might be accumulating too much fatigue. Cutting the volume down for a week or 2 (going off program) or just lightening the weight up a little and staying further from failure for a week or 2 of sessions might help.

As for why to do it, I could give you a long, rambling, nuanced answer about the health benefits and skill transfer to other athletic endeavors. But I just like moving heavy things against gravity. Not sure why, but I do. Cardio feels like a chore and I use hunting as one of the incentives to keep me honest, but I’ll lift the weights just because they’re there.
 

mtnobsessed

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Strength training is one of the pillars of overall fitness and not to be ignored imho. It doesn't matter the activity or sport, being stronger is going to help.

Long gone are my days of lifting six days a week, but have settled nicely into lifting twice a week with a modified (modified by me) Wendler workout. I concentrate on deadlifts/squats/bench/overhead press and then mix in pull/chin ups, lunges, dips and a few other odds and ends.

The rest of my days I'm hiking on the trails.

This combination has served me pretty well for the last ten years or so. I do numerous (and generally strenuous) multi-day trips throughout the year (including hunting season :D) and age hasn't impacted my ability to do so (thus far anyways).

Part of that reward is clearly from regular strength training and my "investment" is only about hour/week- pretty easy to invest 60 minutes in a week's time.
I've also wondered the same as th OP. I've been doing Wendler as well and wondered at what point I stop increasing weight and just maintain. Did you just pick a weight to stop and continue the same workouts at the same weights and just repeat? I'm at a weight increase day today and thought I would work this increase through and start ramping up my cardio for September elk.

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Jimss

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I weighed 110 lbs at 6’ in college. I began weight training and at my peak weighed 160 lbs. strengthening my 110 lb frame definitely helped me.

Now I weigh 145. I’m super active hiking each day at work. I really believe staying active is super important for overall health regardless of what you do. Obviously everyone is build different so likely require different activities to be in optimum shape.

For hunting it’s best to mimic the country and style of hunting you prefer. The closer you train at similar elevation, steep terrain, pack on back, etc the better off you will be. I never really need to work out because I do the same thing every day at work as I do in most hunting senecios.
 

Beckjhong

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This is an excerpt from a Mike Prevost article. Gentleman spent a good part of his career studying rucking.
Full article: https://www.otpbooks.com/mike-prevost-ruck-training-programs/

What type of training has the most impact? Dr. William Kraemer, one of the leading researchers in the field of strength and conditioning, conducted a study looking at strength training and aerobic training on performance of a 3.2 km / 2 mile ruck with a 45 kg / 99 lb load. The table below summarizes his findings.

Mike-Prevost-Rucking-Chart3.jpg


Aerobic training alone was useless. Strength training alone provided some benefit. The best results involved total body strength training and aerobic training, however, upper body strength training accounted for the majority of the strength training affect, a conclusion also reached by Knapik et. al in a review of the research literature.
 

mtwarden

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I've also wondered the same as th OP. I've been doing Wendler as well and wondered at what point I stop increasing weight and just maintain. Did you just pick a weight to stop and continue the same workouts at the same weights and just repeat? I'm at a weight increase day today and thought I would work this increase through and start ramping up my cardio for September elk.

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My usual pattern is I hit it pretty hard and increase as recommended, then due to a long backpacking trip, family vacation, etc, I don't lift for a couple of weeks. I have to back off the 1 rep max a cycle or two, hit it pretty hard again, get caught up (or sometimes go beyond) and then another hiatus- rinse and repeat :D

There have a couple of decently long stretches, maybe three or four months (three or four complete cycles) where I haven't missed a session and progressed each cycle.

I think part of Wendler's appeal and effectiveness, is the small carrot out in front- moving the weight up. I've topped out a couple of times where I couldn't make the required reps, simply backed off a cycle (or two) and started in again.

Basically I don't sweat where I'm at. I find the important thing is to keep plugging ahead and moving weight :)
 

Mtnmilsurp

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And im wondering why im doing it. I dont care if i look like a bodybuilder, and i dont compete - so why should i continously push myself to get super big and strong?
?

As Rippetoe says, you’re either getting stronger or you’re getting weaker and the body gets stronger by having enough stress to cause adaptation. I think if SS is feeling intense at 4 weeks you’ve probably increased weight too rapidly. You should be able to continue linear progression for a good 4-6 months. I think a program like SS only makes sense if you have an off season in which you can afford to gain a lot of weight that you don’t want in the fall. I’ve put on as much as 45lbs in 4 months and went from easily running 7:00/mile to sucking wind at 10:00/mile. It was great to be that strong but sucked to be that fat.


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OP
Hardly_Hangin

Hardly_Hangin

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As Rippetoe says, you’re either getting stronger or you’re getting weaker and the body gets stronger by having enough stress to cause adaptation. I think if SS is feeling intense at 4 weeks you’ve probably increased weight too rapidly. You should be able to continue linear progression for a good 4-6 months. I think a program like SS only makes sense if you have an off season in which you can afford to gain a lot of weight that you don’t want in the fall. I’ve put on as much as 45lbs in 4 months and went from easily running 7:00/mile to sucking wind at 10:00/mile. It was great to be that strong but sucked to be that fat.


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I agree, i was pretty aggressive with my squat progression and started too high with deadlift.
 

JasonWi

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It's so difficult to know how strong and how much weight a person should be moving around that's still beneficial to their health and lifestyle?

I would do ( once per year) go for the 1k# lift club (bench press, squats, DL) then spend the rest of the year just being functional and injury free. This past year in December I accomplished it again and I think it's my last time of doing it...mainly because there's no reason for me to risk major injuries that could prevent me from enjoying the rest of the activities I do.

So what I've determined for myself is I'll continue to lift moderately heavy and just do more reps of those weights. For example I no longer go above 300# on bench press, above 400# on DL and #325 on squats, not that I'm unable but I know my strength is still very good and I've had far less aching joints and prolonged sore muscles.

Listening to my body and realizing this is something I want to be doing for another twenty years, helps lower my ego and prolong the process.
 

Poser

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I’ve been on Starting Strength programs for about 10 years now. As others said, I’m a firm believer in everyone, all people, should be strength training to some degree. You only stand to benefit from being strong with no real downside. Since hunting is inherently a much “heavier” activity than the average human or even the weekend warrior “athlete”, it would stand to reason that being “pretty strong” is going to improve your performance and longevity in this game.

So, I’ve been much stronger than I have the last couple of years. At one point, I was squatting 385# for fives and pulling in the high 400s. I found those numbers to not be sustainable with my desired lifestyle. So, for awhile, I’d get “stronger” and then get weaker with hunting trips and a long ski season. Over time, I settled at an “acceptable” strength level compromise. I mostly train twice a week: Tuesday and Thursday and maintain a Backsquat of between 275-300# for 3x5, a bench press of 215-235#, a press of 135-150# and a deadlift of 315#-350#

With those strength levels, I can be in the conditioning shape I need to be in, get a training hike in on Wednesdays and hammer it in the mountains on the weekends with 2 rest days a week (sometimes drops to 1 during ski season).

If I’m out of the gym for more than a week, I’ll do a reset and run a short NLP cycle to get back up to my maintenance numbers. I can usually get back there within 2 weeks.
I feel pretty good there. It does get a bit boring not seeing progress, but seems to be a reasonable compromise between mountain lifestyle, practical strength and an inherent desire to be a “big, strong, capable man.”

Most people will have to experiment to find what works for them in terms of sustainability and that is going to vary depending on your size and training background: A meager 200 lbs squat is stronger than no squat. The older you get, the more beneficial your strength training will be: bone density, posture, the ability to endure, avoid and come back from injury etc.

As for hunting specifics, I have long maintained that there is zero reason to train with a “heavy” pack. You will need to spend plenty of time training with a pack on to develop your sport specific muscular endurance, but hauling around half your Bodyweight or more is not necessary. When it comes to a pack out, that’s where your squats, deadlifts = “big, strong body” come into play. It’s a more efficient and effective way to train for “heavy” packouts than putting excessive loads in your backpack.
 

Bearwhisky

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I try to balance it all. Hyper-focusing on anything is usually not optimal. No sense in having strength without speed, speed without stability, stability without endurance, etc. Check out Pat Macnamara’s philosophy on fitness.


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Dave0317

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Read up on some Dan John and Mark Rippetoe.
The above article might be a bit extreme of an opinion, especially this late in the year. At this point, with season a couple months away, I’d hit some kettlebell stuff and some rucking for the best bang for your buck.

As far as a point of diminishing returns for strength…
I’d say Dan John and others would guide you towards a double body weight deadlift, body weight overhead press, some pull ups, and farmer carries with half your body weight or more in each hand.


Once you have a basic level of strength down, then you start doing a program like the Mike Prevost stuff mentioned above.
 
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