Why Strength Train

justinspicher

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I have started to workout less and less each year. I do what I need to maintain my lifestyle, but about two years ago I quit using barbells and went to kettlebells. This year I stopped squatting and it has really improved my knee, ankle, and hip health, not to mention my back doesn’t hurt anymore. I’ve done enough “hard” stuff in my life to know I can do it. At this point I’m trying to maintain a lifestyle for the next couple of decades.
 

Marbles

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You have to define strength training. Rucking is a combination of strength and cardio, walking lunges for 20 minutes or more is the same. Low weight, high rep strength training is the only kind I find value in. It will build definition, but not a ton of bulk.

For people who cover ground, bulky muscle mass is weight that must be carried, but likely is not needed.

That said, strength training, like cardio, provides a general base to build off of for every other activity.
 

Poser

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You have to define strength training. Rucking is a combination of strength and cardio, walking lunges for 20 minutes or more is the same. Low weight, high rep strength training is the only kind I find value in. It will build definition, but not a ton of bulk.

For people who cover ground, bulky muscle mass is weight that must be carried, but likely is not needed.

That said, strength training, like cardio, provides a general base to build off of for every other activity.

Strength is the ability to apply force. Strength training is the systematic progression of increasing force production.

Low weight, high rep is not strength training. Strength training is heavy weight, low rep, usually in the 3-5 rep range. “Bulky muscles” as you describe, are generally associated with hypertrophy training (aka “body building”) where the focus is on size, not strength.

Rucking is a muscular endurance affair, not “cardio.” The heavier the weight on your back, the more reliant on the muscular endurance vs “cardio” pathway. In short, your muscles are handling the vast majority of the work. This is a submaximal application of force performed over and over again. *With that in mind, being noticeably or even considerably stronger than you need to be to minimally perform the desired task is in your favor. *

Muscular endurance is something to has to be developed by training the actual sport, so there is no way around not having to ruck/hike/backpack in order to be in effective conditioning shape. That being said, the most efficient way to develop strength is by strength training, which is a general adaptation.

Conditioning is sport specific
Strength is a general adaptation

-

Get your body effectively strong (no, this doesn’t mean you should be squatting 700 lbs as a hunter) and then condition it for your sport.
 

Hoodie

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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.

Please don't take offense at this, but if you started LP 4 weeks ago it is not "heavy" yet and it shouldn't be a "blistering grind"

Assuming you're a healthy adult male younger than 50 you should get at least 10 weeks out of linear progression, probably more like 12-14. Maybe longer if you're genetically gifted. If you're over 50 you almost certainly can still get 8 weeks of 5lb jumps. Maybe more if you microload your bench and press.

I only say this because it's very common for people to feel like they're nearing the end when their squat gets to 225x5. Don't short change yourself. When it starts to feel heavy is when the real progress begins on that program. Every male I've helped through LP has squatted at least 300x5. I squatted 365x5 and I'm far from genetically gifted and have some old overuse injuries to baby.

Stick with it. Don't stop squatting until you miss a rep (and please use the safeties on your squat rack. Especially while benching.)

I speak from experience as a guy who thought I was done the first time I squatted two plates for 5. Then I corrected myself on a second attempt at LP and went much further. Being under a heavy bar just takes some getting used to.
 

*zap*

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Taking the appropriate time of to rest/recover, proper amount of sleep (8+) hrs, actual proper nutrition and a proper plan that focuses on gains from long term commitment (many years) works well.

Trying to make a huge change in fitness level in 12 weeks may not work so well at all.
 

Hoodie

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Trying to make a huge change in fitness level in 12 weeks may not work so well at all.

I generally agree with having patience, but if a new lifter is untrained they can easily double all of their major lifts on Starting Strength in 3 months. Taking a squat from 135x5 to 315x5 is common. That kind of improvement will make a big difference under a heavy ruck.

I'd advocate getting the easy gains taken care of while they're easy then transitioning to something slower. Like 5/3/1.
 
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*zap*

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That would depend a lot on age and their starting point. Plus if your talking squats depth/rom is a huge factor. Anyway, there is a huge difference between a 20 year old and a 50 year old when it comes to this issue and the total workout you are doing also factors in quite a bit. Which is why I said fitness level not just strength. But you are most likely correct for younger people....I just cannot remember back that far...


Strength training is great for older folks but I would favor a complete whole body strength program vs just the major compound lifts but you want to incorporate the major compound movements for sure and use full rom. Then you have joint health/or rehab and aerobic capacity plus a few very high heart rate aerobic sessions a month plus do not forget the heavy carries and real world aerobics (hiking/rucking)....that is what I refer to as fitness.

Form/rom and posture while lifting are major things to focus on rather than 'weight' increases....jmo, ymmv but you are very correct to a degree, Hoodie.
 
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Poser

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I generally agree with having patience, but if a new lifter is untrained they can easily double all of their major lifts on Starting Strength in 3 months. Taking a squat from 135x5 to 315x5 is common. That kind of improvement while make a big difference under a heavy ruck.

I'd advocate getting the easy gains taken care of while they're easy then transitioning to something slower. Like 5/3/1.

I’ve found the same to be true. Most men under ~60 are able to get to at least around 300 or so on their squats running LP. That assumes a few resets along the way and stage 2 of NLP.

My GF started LP about 2 months ago. Her squat started at 95# and she’s now at 220#, with a deadlift approaching 250#. She had to do a reset in there along the way, but the 2nd time through, she was able to grind through previous failed reps and get another 20# on the bar before dropping to 3s. There’s definitely a learning curve for “grinding” that has to be overcome.
 

Marbles

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Strength is the ability to apply force. Strength training is the systematic progression of increasing force production.

Low weight, high rep is not strength training. Strength training is heavy weight, low rep, usually in the 3-5 rep range. “Bulky muscles” as you describe, are generally associated with hypertrophy training (aka “body building”) where the focus is on size, not strength.

Rucking is a muscular endurance affair, not “cardio.” The heavier the weight on your back, the more reliant on the muscular endurance vs “cardio” pathway. In short, your muscles are handling the vast majority of the work. This is a submaximal application of force performed over and over again. *With that in mind, being noticeably or even considerably stronger than you need to be to minimally perform the desired task is in your favor. *

Muscular endurance is something to has to be developed by training the actual sport, so there is no way around not having to ruck/hike/backpack in order to be in effective conditioning shape. That being said, the most efficient way to develop strength is by strength training, which is a general adaptation.

Conditioning is sport specific
Strength is a general adaptation

-

Get your body effectively strong (no, this doesn’t mean you should be squatting 700 lbs as a hunter) and then condition it for your sport.
Cardio refers to the fuel, not any specific activity. Anyone who is rucking and not hitting a cardio heart rate range is probably staying on level ground, not using adequate weight, or going very slow, or all three.

Your definition of strength training is not universally agreed on, but is indead how some define it. There is a reason I started out by saying it had to be defined. Using your definition, I consider strength training worthless for my purposes as bodyweight exercises such as calisthenics are eliminated from the definition.

This uses the term how I conceptualize it, https://uphillathlete.com/strength-training/strength-training-for-the-mountain-athlete/

Anyway, as now defined (always anaerobic and always pushing for increased weight), I have nothing to contribute, am highly unlikely to change my opinion on its lack of value for my applications, and as such will bow out.
 

Poser

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That would depend a lot on age and their starting point. Plus if your talking squats depth/rom is a huge factor. Anyway, there is a huge difference between a 20 year old and a 50 year old when it comes to this issue and the total workout you are doing also factors in quite a bit. Which is why I said fitness level not just strength. But you are most likely correct for younger people....I just cannot remember back that far...


Strength training is great for older folks but I would favor a complete whole body strength program vs just the major compound lifts but you want to incorporate the major compound movements for sure and use full rom. Then you have joint health/or rehab and aerobic capacity plus a few very high heart rate aerobic sessions a month plus do not forget the heavy carries and real world aerobics (hiking/rucking)....that is what I refer to as fitness.

Form/rom and posture while lifting are major things to focus on rather than 'weight' increases....jmo, ymmv but you are very correct to a degree, Hoodie.

The compound lifts are a “complete whole body program” squat, press, bench press, deadlift trains every single muscle in the body.
 

*zap*

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I do not agree with that poser. As you age it is necessary to do other strength training than just those lifts to keep joint health, deal with issues that we all develop and mobility. That is what my personal experience shows me at 66 yoa. Maybe for a younger guy..or someone who is older and has kept in tip top shape all their life but even then certain things are not addressed with just a few compound movements. jmo, ymmv.
 

Poser

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I do not agree with that poser. As you age it is necessary to do other strength training than just those lifts to keep joint health, deal with issues that we all develop and mobility. That is what my personal experience shows me at 66 yoa. Maybe for a younger guy..or someone who is older and has kept in tip top shape all their life but even then certain things are not addressed with just a few compound movements. jmo, ymmv.

What specifically is not addressed by these fundamental human movement patterns of squatting, pulling And pressing?
 

*zap*

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Well just for starters off the top of my head are...ankle mobility, elbow mobility, wrist mobility and shoulder impingements.

I have seen older guys at the gym doing just certain lifts and then they tell me how this, that and the other hurts...then eventually you do not see them anymore.

I started to recover my fitness at 60 and after a while doing of just certain lifts I could not lay on my back without my shoulder hurting severely. I also had tremendous pain on the left side of my neck from chipped disks...My right elbow hurt all the time plus other occasional pains in joints when lifting.

I changed my routine to a more varied program which addresses all joints and I am now going stronger with really no issues.

3 different dumb bell exercises with 3# dumb bells and doing 40 reps has kept my shoulder healthy along with dead hangs done regularly. Standing bar and dumb bell curls along with 4 rear delt exercises has cleared up the neck issues..

You do standing curls with the correct posture/rom and you can feel it work many more muscles other than just biceps..... core/quads/traps/rear delts.....that is just one example.
 

LostArra

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You have to define strength training. Rucking is a combination of strength and cardio, walking lunges for 20 minutes or more is the same. Low weight, high rep strength training is the only kind I find value in. It will build definition, but not a ton of bulk.

For people who cover ground, bulky muscle mass is weight that must be carried, but likely is not needed.

That said, strength training, like cardio, provides a general base to build off of for every other activity.

For the vast majority of us mere mortals without outlier genes or peds, Bulk is not a function of the gym but the dinner table (and some conditioning).

I consider rucking my sport-specific conditioning.
 

Poser

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Well just for starters off the top of my head are...ankle mobility, elbow mobility, wrist mobility and shoulder impingements.

I have seen older guys at the gym doing just certain lifts and then they tell me how this, that and the other hurts...then eventually you do not see them anymore.

I started to recover my fitness at 60 and after a while doing of just certain lifts I could not lay on my back without my shoulder hurting severely. I also had tremendous pain on the left side of my neck from chipped disks...My right elbow hurt all the time plus other occasional pains in joints when lifting.

I changed my routine to a more varied program which addresses all joints and I am now going stronger with really no issues.

3 different dumb bell exercises with 3# dumb bells and doing 40 reps has kept my shoulder healthy along with dead hangs done regularly. Standing bar and dumb bell curls along with 4 rear delt exercises has cleared up the neck issues..

You do standing curls with the correct posture/rom and you can feel it work many more muscles other than just biceps..... core/quads/traps/rear delts.....that is just one example.

Interesting conversation.

Ankle mobility. Squatting for strength, be it low bar or high bar squat, involves driving the knees out to include as much muscle recruitment as possible, particularly the hip abductors. This is different than the typical hypertrophy/bodybuilder/ “bro” squat where the knees are maintained inline with the toes to focus on quad development. This position absolutely maintains effective ankle ROM and also strengthens the ankle considerably over time.

For shoulder impingement, I’d argue there is no better movement than a properly performed overhead press, with full extension at the top of the movement (aka a “shrug). This extension strengthens the rotator cuff and helps prevent impingement. Though, again, if you look at the movement pattern of bodybuilders/hypertrophy trainees and “bros”, they tend to cut the movement short of full extension for “time under tension” muscle stimulation. This, like the squat, is a primary difference between “body building” and “strength training”.

Wrist mobility. I’ve never heard of mobility being much of a common issue for wrist, but grip strength is often touted as a indicator of health in seniors.

Elbows are big problem for inflammation etc, but in the purse sense of “mobility”, it would seem that full ROM pressing would address most of the function since the elbows ability to fully extends and fully contract is the primary movement. Something to be said for some lateral movement, though.

Don’t get me wrong, addressing any and all of these aspects in older populations specifically won’t hurt, might help. But, show me a 60+ year old who can squat, press and pull with effective ROM, and I’ll venture they don’t have any of these specific issues since they have strengthened these ROMs. Usually with geriatric trainees, the problem is they haven’t performed full ROM basic human movements in years, decades even.

 

streetdoctor

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I found the 75Hard program this spring and haven't looked back. I've done two workouts a day since April 4th without a single day off and I feel amazing. I'm 6' and was generally pretty fit at 207lb but I've slimmed down to 186lb currently. My waist went from a 36" to a 32". I'm not trying to lose any weight and not really following a diet other than not eating junk food and attempting to cut out anything processed. My workouts generally follow a classic body builder routine. I do legs and back and biceps twice a week on their own days, a core day, shoulders/glutes, chest triceps. My second workout is always cardio, either walking (sometimes with 45lb), running or riding a bike. My work (firefighter) requires annual physical testing and my VO2 max score improved from 49 to 60 this year. I'm 38 years old. For those who really geek out in fitness it was a MET of 17.4.

I can't see myself ever going back to my previous lifestyle. I'm in phase 1 of "live hard" now and some of it is kinda stupid but I'm 100% in love with a 5 minute cold shower, two workouts a day, a gallon of water, and the daily meditation. I'm generally done with this by early afternoon. On a recent scouting trip with my regular hunting partner (who put a pretty good beat down on me last year. His inseam is 4" longer than mine though). I crushed him on a 10 mile hike with my 11 month old on my back and he was pack-less. I hunt backcountry in Colorado, last year we put in 50 miles but locally only had to pack a bull out a little over a mile over 3 trips. This year I have more confidence than ever that there's not an area I can't hike into and get an elk out of. Should make the season pretty rewarding I hope.

For those who say they can't commit to a program like this- My wife is also doing it. She's still breast feeding and works 12 hour shifts with an additional 30 minute commute. I have still shots of her from our security camera working out in our backyard at 12:06AM after getting off work. Also doing cardio on a stationary bike at 3am before work. No excuses.
 

*zap*

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Poser you make good points. I think k it can come down to a difference between people who have maintained strength training over many years vs older people who are just starting after a long lay off.

Have a good day.

Fwiw I do ass to grass low bar squats with lighter weight.
 
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