I was reading through some of the responses to our recent survey regarding how to best get the right training info to all you out there and a few of the comments/questions struck me. This is one of them. The gentleman asked basically, “I have lots of info on training but how do I get started toward super strength and endurance?”
It struck me that this would be great to answer and you almost never see anyone really talk about this step by step – so here it is!
So let’s assume you have a decent base of general knowledge (i.e., know what a kettlebell is, what Powerlifting/strongman, etc. is) and that you want to get super strength and endurance. Who wouldn’t want it right? Well actually not as many people as you think, even in the hardcore training world. Just suffice it to say that its not something you really “want” if you’re not willing to put out the time and effort to get it.
First thing then to do is answer some questions:
1) What is super strength and endurance to me? There are many valid expressions of super strength/endurance. Which one do you want? Now on some levels they all interplay and a big lift or incredible cardio is the same no matter who you are or what you do. I choose the things I do in training because I like them, they fit me and I believe they are the things that produce the most for reaching and broadly applicable results. Squatting 1,000lbs and doing a one finger, one hand chin up are both radical feats of super strength, but very different ones that will fit very different people and different ideas on the kind of strength you think is important.
2) What do I have access to and/or knowledge of? If your idea of expressing super endurance is to set a new record for climbing Pike’s Peak the fastest, but you live in Florida with no applicable mountains and very few hills then you have a problem of access to the right training to get the job done. Can you work around this? Yes but you see my point.
Consider these things in asking/answering these questions. What do I own or have access to to train with? What do I need to work on getting? Who do I have access to training with/learning from? (Local competitors or trainers, seminars, books, video, phone consultations, etc.)
3) What fits me and what doesn’t? What am I good at and what am I bad at but want to improve at anyway?
Most people will be genetically predisposed to certain things. Duh. Ok, ok, just read on. There is a reason that the guy who holds the world records for deadlifts in any weight class rarely holds the bench press record as well. These lifts have opposite genetic body types. Most built deadlifters have long arms, most build bench pressers have short arms. What gives you leverage and shortens your range of motion in one lift often does the opposite in another. Further – many people can excel or tolerate a particular style at any given lift, but often not at others (comparably) even in the same lift. Some people can stiff leg deadlift with little or no structural pain or damage yet regular deadlifts cause problems. Some can bench press with a close grip yet a wide destroys their shoulders.
Here are the points to these questions. Figure out what you are naturally good at and your body does without problems. Figure out also what you’re not so good at but aren’t going to let yourself off the hook on. Figure out what tools you have or need to accomplish your idea of super strength/endurance. Figure out where you are (how much you can do) and where you want to go specifically (your goal). Pick the way and exercises that work for you and forget what everybody else say is “correct.” Start by answering these questions and I’ll give you more to help get started in future posts.