How Regular People Should Train, Part 5

Alright, coming to you on this Monday morning with Part 5 of “How Regular People Should Train” based a quote from Doug, a former Recon Marine shown below:

"I [also] think training like a Navy S.E.A.L. is stupid for the average person.  I would say [normal people should] PT like [the] infantry units, run, body weight stuff, “ruck” a little, a little weights and enjoy life if you’re not training for specifics."

As I mentioned in the previous parts we aren’t interpreting the modes of exercise literally but rather I break each down in the following manner.

  • Improving aerobic capacity helps burn fat, increase stamina, boosts recovery and can lower stress
  • Training for localized muscular endurance help ward of fatigue while doing your daily repetitive tasks
  • Aerobic power helps you do both of the above at a higher rate
  • Strength training builds lean toned muscles, of course it makes you stronger, wards off osteoporosis and hardens us against injury
  • Ensure balance in all things.

So, today brings us to strength training.

By now I would hope that most people understand that strength training is important and when I say strength training I mean actually trying to get stronger, not just going through the motions with sub-maximal weights.

In order to make the body stronger it has to be continually challenged because it can adapt at a very rapid pace.

For example, let’s say your goal is to 12 repetitions with “X” weight and on day 1 you are able to do 8 reps.

One week later you attempt to make 12 reps again and you 10.  A week passes and finally on week 3 you are able to grind out 12 reps.

This is great progress, but it’s not the finish line, especially if you’re still a novice or even an intermediate lifter.

Guess what needs to happen at your next workout?

That’s right, you need to add weight and start the process over.  The rapid pace at which you achieved that goal signifies that you are nowhere near your strength capabilities and in order to get the benefits that coming from strength training.

Stronger, leaner, more toned muscles in addition to turning your body into a fat burning furnace comes from continuing to push YOUR limit in terms of strength.

This, by no means, insinuates that you should try to break world records, strength levels are relative and when it comes to “How Regular People Should Train” you just need to keep trying to become a little bit stronger.

So what does this actually mean?

If you can barbell deadlift 75 pounds, your goal should be to work up to 100.  Then you hit 100, shoot for 125 pounds.

To some this may sound like a lot, or sound heavy but it’s actually less than the average High School female athlete.

I tell you this, not to hurt your ego, because I want you to cut the ties that are keeping you from realizing your potential.  This goes for both the ladies and the guys reading this.

OK, moving to the exercises that you should be focused on.

The list is probably WAY shorter than you think, everyone is so focused on variety when in fact limiting the movements you do will actually speed up your results.

Number 1 on the list is the Deadlift, hands down the most important lift you can be doing.  That goes for everyone, in fact, if you only have time to do one lift a few times a week - it NEEDS to be the deadlift.

The Deadlift builds the legs, with a focus on the hamstrings, the glutes, grip, upper back to name a few.

In addition few lifts will tax the core the way the deadlift does, and everyone not only wants, but needs a strong core.

If the Deadlift is Number 1 then the Row and its variations are Number 2.

A row is any move that draws the elbows behind the body and causes the shoulder blades to squeeze together.. You know like when you row a boat.

My favorite is a single arm dumbbell row for sets of 12-20 reps, they may not be fun as my clients might attest to but they sure are effective.

Soooo, I willing to bet the first movements are probably not what you expected, they aren’t the exercises that you’d typically see, but I’ve never really followed what was popular.

Moving on, the Number 3 move is a single leg squat with the rear foot elevated, I choose this over the standard barbell squat for a few reasons.

  • It doesn’t load the spine

  • It helps with balance

  • When combined with the deadlift it creates a balanced level of development both around the knee and the hip.

This is important because most of the time the thighs become stronger compared to the hamstrings.  This not only can cause knee pain or injury but can even become the cause for some low back pain down the road.

“But, BJ, What about the upper body?”

Here’s how I look at this.

When we all start training we always focus on the t-shirt muscles, you know the muscles your can see in the mirror.  So, by the time we realize we need help and a structured plan we need to play catch up with the rest of the body.

What we don’t know when we start training is that the muscles that we can’t see in the mirror are responsible for the shape of our body and our posture.

Now that we covered the structural reasons it's good to strength train we could easily talk for hours about the benefits the process of getting stronger and then being strong does for a person's confidence, self image and how they feel about and carry themselves.

This Is just as important and all of the other “health” benefits, I’d argue that in many cases the “mental health” benefits outweigh anything else I can do for some clients.

It’s as if they turn into different people, the people they should be.

So, if you’re not strength training, you should be, but be sure you get proper direction when just starting.  This sets you off on the right foot and you won’t have to unlearn improper technique, slowing you down on your path to your goals.

Coach BJ

B.J. Bliffert