May the Force be with You
ME Box Squats
GHD (glute-ham developer)/step ups on high box. 8/10. 2-3 sets
Combo Catch o’ the Day: Rumi.
1 sandbag of moderate weight
side deadlifts (aka ’suitcase deadlifts’) 7 per side
shouldered squats (alternate sandbag from one shoulder to the other by pressing it up over the head after each squat) 7 per side
get ups (sandbag on shoulder) 7 per side
4 rounds for time (or 2 rounds with a much heavier sandbag).
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU
It isn’t so complicated. Exercise is the art of force development. The only reason to bring in discussion of muscle fiber types or metabolic pathways is to confuse the general public. We don’t isolate fiber types and we shouldn’t be focusing on individual metabolic pathways unless we’re specializing, and then the point is redundant, since, by specializing, we already would be focusing on individual metabolic pathways.
Exercise has to do with force development. Even the big equations we often throw around (work = force x displacement, [mechanical] power = force x velocity/time or [physics] power = work [force x displacement, remember)/ time) usually have Force as a key factor somewhere within them.
Exercise is the art of force development, plain and simple. Even books and websites define strength as “the ability to generate force.” Training is teaching the body when and how to generate force. Mobility? How to move through ranges of motion by reducing forces in some areas and increasing it in others for the sole purpose of generating force safely during other movements. Speed? Force applied quickly. Endurance? Efficient, low level (or staggered-level) Force generation over a long period of time.
See? All force development. So why make it any more difficult to explain than that? Once again, I introduce the Spectrum of Strength:
Since strength is defined as “the ability to generate force,” then it wouldn’t be incorrect to call this the Spectrum of Force Development. The phrase ‘strength and conditioning’ might be considered a bit redundant, since, again, it is ALL the ability to generate force, hence, it is ALL strength. If you train across the spectrum, then there is no need to worry what ‘muscle fiber type’ or ‘metabolic pathway’ you’re dealing with, since neither concept works in a vacuum. The physical culture doesn’t focus on isolating body parts, so why should we get caught up in fibers and energy systems?
“Put the bar on the ground and pick it up a bunch of different ways.” Dan John’s 9th Commandment of Lifting, which I’ve quoted perhaps too many times before, can be a recipe for freedom against gravity’s dogma for more than just exercise selection. ‘Pick it up a bunch of different ways’ means more than just multiple exercises. It means pick it up fast, heavy, for many reps, for time, for a given duration or carry it a certain distance. Create force a bunch of different ways. Simple. Not easy, but simple.
Recent media silliness
The Sacramento Bee was kind enough to print my reply to a gawd-awful article they ran a couple of weeks ago. The original article was first seen in the Chicago Tribune, quoting a figure competitor who, in one of her pictures, actually is holding little pink dumbbells. I thank Sam McManis for making them run my retort. It seems every time we make a small stride towards educating the public, someone like Kristal Richardson sets us back a decade or so.