absolute-strength

I really wanted to title this one, “OMG For The Love Of God Stop Wasting Your Time By Doing Things That Yield No Results, Looking For The Next ‘Best Exercise’ And Focus On Things That Will Actually Get You Stronger” but that seemed like a bit of a mouthful.  Unfortunately I’m aware of the fact that this will probably never happen for most people but I REALLY needed to get that off my chest.

This isn’t going to be a soapbox rant but I feel like it is something that needs to be said.  It is always difficult to write a post like this without offending someone so let me start off with a few things:

  1. You are special, but not that special.  Everyone is different, train for your abilities.
  2. Strength training isn’t for everyone.  Neither is fat loss, fitness or being awesome for that matter.
  3. This is MY opinion.  Based mostly on anecdotal evidence and my magic 8 ball.

With that said, I believe there are some exercises that one should be at least a little good at before moving onto something more challenging.  A baseline if you will.  Obviously that will differ for each person due to body type, goals, experience and available equipment but today I want to share a few guidelines that I have been contemplating.

I’m just going to let loose so don’t hesitate to disagree with me below in the comments section or send some hate mail.  I will still argue that the below should be a minimum for strength before you complain that you’ve tried everything to (fill in the blank with fitness goal here) or your program isn’t working.

On Squatting:

  • If you can’t do a decent goblet squat, don’t use a bar.
  • If you can’t do the squats below, there is no need to do box jumps.
  • If you can’t do a solid set of 3, don’t half-ass 3 sets of 10.
  • If you can’t master a front squat you shouldn’t be Olympic Lifting.

This will NOT get you strong. Just injured. Maybe on Youtube.

* Beginners should master these first.  The numbers are a relative minimum for strength before worrying about any variations.

First: Goblet Squat .45 x bodyweight

Second: Front Squat .75 x bodyweight

Third: Back Squat = bodyweight

On Deadlifting:

  • If you haven’t had this one coached, do it.
  • If you can’t hinge at your hips, learn.
  • See notes #1 and #2.

* Beginners should master these first.  The numbers are a relative minimum for strength before worrying about any variations.

First: Object Deadlift (KB, dumbbell, etc) with perfect form

Second: Trapbar Deadlift x bodyweight

Third: Conventional or Sumo 1.5 x bodyweight

On Benching:

  • If you can’t hold a ‘good’ plank, you probably can’t do a ‘good’ push-up.
  • Learn how to do the above before you touch the bar.
  • If you can’t do a push-up, stop worrying about how jacked your arms look.
  • Dumbbells are better than the bar for MOST (probably you) people.

* Beginners should master these first.  The numbers are a relative minimum for strength before worrying about any variations.

First: Push-up (Men: 20, Women:10)

Second: Dumbbell Bench .6 x bodyweight  (total, not per hand)

Third: Bench = bodyweight

Conclusion

As I mentioned before everyone has different goals, limitations and experience.  Train for your abilities and towards your potential and you can’t go wrong.

I just wanted to set the bar (pun intended) for you to start reaching a decent level of strength before throwing your program under the bus and looking for the ‘next big thing’ because chances are you will never find it.  There I said it.  What? (That means comment below)


Written by Steve