It Aint Strength Training Unless You’re Gettin’ Strong

I can’t take it anymore.

It’s gone too far.

It’s driving me insane.

I hate it.

No, I loathe it. Like Newman did Keith Hernandez.

I’m sure Doug Young (pictured) is rolling in his grave.

And Kaz would probably puke in his mouth if he ever saw or heard of such a thing.

It’s this overwhelming obsession with metabolic conditioning and it’s ruining real strength training.

I know I’ve said this countless times before but I can’t repeat it enough…

You lift weights to get bigger, stronger and more explosive. That’s it.

Not as your primary method of fat loss or conditioning. There are far better, less detrimental ways to achieve both of those goals.

The problem is our entire society has been polluted with this bullshit movement. Everyone these days thinks that a strength training workout should be more grueling than going five rounds with GSP or Brock Lesnar.

That is not remotely true, my friends.

You should always leave the gym feeling better than when you walked in; not completely wiped out in a pool of your own blood and puke.

How did everything that was so good get so bad?”
– Rocky Balboa, Rocky III

It’s all gotten way too out of control. Every single workout does not need to be a conditioning fest.

That’s not to say that building a small conditioning component into an effective strength program is a bad thing. Bill Starr was a fan of doing this way back when he was preparing the Baltimore Colts for Super Bowl V.

But there is an enormous difference between doing heavy sets of five on a bench, squat and clean in a three exercise circuit with appropriate rest periods and a workout that includes following up your five rep set of cleans with a 400 meter run, 20 kettlebell snatches, 35 box jumps, 10 kipping chin ups and a set of burpees.

That’s not strength training.

That’s just fucking stupid.

Finishers & Off Day Conditioning

What about the concept of finishers? Even a lot of the smart guys who haven’t allowed their strength training to turn into an aerobics class still feel compelled to always do a finisher these days. I’m here to tell you that you can let go of the guilt and that it’s okay if every single workout doesn’t include a finisher. Even if it’s a well thought out finisher that won’t have a negative effect on your joints or your training.

In the old days (hell, even 10-15 years ago) no one did finishers. You lifted weights to get jacked and then you went home and ate.

On off days you did conditioning or played a sport. Now I have guys asking me 20 times a week what kind of bodyweight circuit they should do on their off days.

NONE! Play a sport. Go surfing or hiking. Do something else.

The Man Maker Formula

There’s a very simple formula for being awesome that people have followed with great success for many,

many years:

•    Lift heavy
•    Sprint
•    Incorporate Flexibility/ Mobility/ Soft Tissue Work (Foam roll, ART, massage, etc.)

That’s the whole ballgame in a nutshell.

If you want to get lean you simply diet by cutting calories/carbs and you sprint a few times a week.

The inevitable next questions to follow my “run sprints” recommendations are always:

“How many sprints?”

“What distance?”

“What’s the work to rest ratio?”

The honest answer is I have no clue. I don’t know what kind of shape you’re in. I don’t know how much grass you have in your neighborhood, how long your hill is, how much experience you have running, how much you weigh, etc.

If you’re training for football or the 100 meter then we can get more specific. But if you’re just training to be an in shape, athletic, badass then heed Nike’s advice and just do it. Get outside and start sprinting.

Always do a thor

ough warm up and start slow and easy. I wouldn’t run more than 20-30 yards your first time out. Over time you can add distance to each sprint if you want. Or you can add more reps. Or both. You can also decrease the rest time. There are a million options. The point is to just get it done.

Two 15-30 minute sessions per week will do the job for most people. How you set up the distances and rest times within that 15-30 minute time frame is up to you.

Sprinting is something that everyone should be able to do with at least a decent level of proficiency. It’s a basic, fundamental human skill.

Snatching a kettlebell for 200 reps is not (and I’m a big fan of kettlebell training). So prioritize the sprints.

Jumping rope is another skill that I believe all able bodied human beings should possess. I’d rather see you do that any day of the week instead of some crazy bodyweight conditioning circuit of a thousand burpees and whatnot that’s just stressing your joints and delaying your recovery from the workouts that really matter.

Train For Strength, No Matter What Your Goal

Strength training is quantifiable and produces measurable results. “Fat loss” or “metabolic conditioning workouts?” Not as much. But you can always get stronger and see your numbers going up.

Dieting is responsible for 90% of your fat loss. I’ve seen fat asses train their balls off and never lose an ounce because their diet sucked.

Think about what type of training is going to have the biggest positive impact and focus your efforts on that. It’s Pareto’s 80/20 Law. Believe me when I tell you that real, old school strength training will make a bigger difference than anything else, no matter what your goal.

Keep it old school and always remember…

It aint strength training unless you’re gettin strong.

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