In a world where the explosion of technology has fostered the growth of a population plagued by obesity, poor posture, weakness, disease, functional imbalances, and overall mental decay I often feel like a lone cop stuck in a skyscraper on Christmas Eve with a bunch of terrorist. Ok maybe I’m going a bit overboard here, but I like to think that at least on some small level I can relate to Bruce Willis’s character John McClane in the movie Die Hard.
By the way this is a true iconic action flick if you haven’t seen it. I strongly suggest you do make time for this one if you are a fan of action heroes that like to dish out some serious ass kickings on their villain counterparts with some unforgettable style. Anyways, keep on reading if you want to see where I’m going with this.
Some Die Hard Strength Rules:
First and foremost I started thinking about some regular questions I’ve been getting from you guys and girls through my emails and here on the site about various things you should be addressing within the scope of your strength training program. You are probably familiar with several trainers and coaches (including myself at times) that like to address corrective exercises for specific purposes in regards to addressing specific issues in functional performance.
Today I wanted to take more of a macro level approach to looking at how you should be thinking about your strength program when looking at addressing various issues. Basically I’m going to include 5 solid strength rules here for you to follow so that you can rest assured that you have a comprehensive approach to your training so that you can minimize the likelihood of developing any imbalances or other physical deficiencies within the walls of your training.
1. Incorporate More Pulling Than Pushing: As a general rule of thumb it’s a good idea to make sure you incorporate more pulling oriented lifts and exercises than pushing ones. The reason for this stems from everything I addressed in the opening paragraph of this blog post. No, I’m not talking about battling the terrorist in the skyscraper, but I am talking about the imbalances, core weakness, and overall lack of stability due to the explosion of technology. This is the reason folks end up sitting for hours on end literally forging their bodies into a sort of physically troubled sitting machine. This is NOT good for the home team my friend.
By doing more pushing than pulling when you are already forged into a state of continuous slouch mode means that you are asking for trouble. You may not experience any problems with the back or shoulders today, but the day will eventually come when you will. Train smart my friend. PULL.
2. Squat/Hinge Regularly: The best way to master any task is to practice it, period. I don’t care what kind of job you have if you take a few seconds here and there throughout the day to perform some form strict squats then you are doing yourself a lot of good. Being able to squat and squat well takes continuous practice. I understand this can be difficult at times based on your work and life schedule, but try and find time to do it even if you have to use a prop of some sort to stabilize yourself during the process. Squatting is a fundamental movement so don’t get out of practice with doing it.
3. Incorporate Plenty Of Unilateral Work: Look I heard this quote from a strength coach once that said, “There are no bad exercises, just bad people.” I really can’t argue with that and the best way to eliminate imbalances is to make sure you don’t train to allow for compensations. Look none of us are perfectly symmetrical. Chances are you are either right or left handed and even if you claim to be ambidextrous (using both sides) you are still going to be more dominant using one side for certain tasks over the other side. This doesn’t even account for the possibility of whether or not you have encountered an injury either. Just make sure that when training you incorporate plenty of single arm and single leg drills as well. This will help you to build strength and minimize injury better than you ever would think possible by eliminating the occurrence of a compensation from the more dominant side of your body.
4. Lift Heavy Things Well: Yep, this one goes without saying. Guy or girl you’ve got to lift heavy stuff and lift heavy stuff well! Now having said that “what is heavy?” I often hear those guys that you would consider the typical “gym rats” say something to the effect of “I don’t lift heavy anymore.” Well I always follow that up with, “What is heavy? Heavy is relative to the individual and their respective ability.” The point being is that it is great to lift heavy (relative to your own ability) if you are doing so well. In addition to this you shouldn’t be lifting any less intense weight poorly anymore than you would attempt to lift a heavy weight poorly. That’s the perspective I want you to have. Lift well and lift heavy well!
5. Practice Active Recovery On A Regular Basis: Make sure you are stretching and engaging in myofascial release on a regular basis. You should be foam rolling, utilizing a lacrosse ball, and at times even a massage therapist to break up those tight tissues and to constantly work on restoring mobility in those sore stiff muscles. In addition to this you should be stretching on a regular basis to get those worked muscles used to lengthening throughout a full range of motion (ROM). This will ensure a more speedy recovery, encourage relief, and get blood flowing to areas that may have been restricted beforehand.
If you follow these rules then the results you’ll get from your strength program will basically shout a big YIPPIE KI YAY MO…(PG-13 version) to your competition and your peers. Just in case you aren’t familiar with the quote I’ll leave it up to you to go and see the movie to figure out the rest for yourself. 🙂 Here’s the cool 1980’s action flick trailer in case you either want to see it for the first time or you are itching for a do over!
The bottom line is that you have to be principled in your strength program. It’s like anything else in life. If you are without principle guidance and you waiver from those sound guidelines then you will start down a path towards failure. You’ve got be like John McClane and stick to your guns! 🙂 If you need help with establishing those principle guidelines then make sure you get yourself a copy of my Brandon Richey’s Better Than Steroids ebook right here:
I also want to remind you that if you do purchase my ebook that you can email me any questions you might have regarding anything about it or the nutrition plan. I will always respond within 2 business days (mostly same day). In addition to that if you have had any issues within your own program (imbalances, injuries, weak areas) please feel free to post either a comment or question about your own experiences in the comment box below. I’ll be glad to respond to any questions you might have here and I’m sure it will be useful to the other readers on here as well. Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart my friend.