Tag Archives: old school
To be comfortable, it’s not a bad thing however it’s not something you should aspire to achieve.
Well, not in fitness anyway.
Given our bodies are rather clever organisms designed to adapt and overcome a plethora of stressful situations is it not sensible to keep it sharp, same goes for our mind too.
I’m sure you know about homeostasis, that little thing the body tries to maintain no matter what gets thrown our way.
These modern times we are trying to make our lives as stress free and easy as possible, while a nobel endeavour it is weakening the large majority of people.
In times long past we had to be active, we had to be robust, we had to be strong and resilient.
Now, well, happiness is just and uber ride away.
For all the modern advances in things such as medicine, trauma care and all that other good stuff, however the rise in automated manufacturing has been the double edged sword, in my eyes.
Most things can be done at the touch of a button.
This means our need to master a skill, learn a trade, have a basic level of physical strength and conditioning has fallen by the wayside, this is why people now go to the gym.
Yes, the gym is artificial work load.
In the days of yesteryear people like you and me would have been out building things, lifting beams or objects (sub maximal loads), carrying tools and materials on the daily.
While it is true that this style of life was not conducive to becoming Mr Olympia or perhaps win 18 Olympic Golds, it kept people avoiding *health related diseases caused by an expanding waistline.
*There were still certain illnesses that were unavoidable, however the advancements in medicine have helps us greatly in combating these and extending out lives, so we thank this worldly gift by becoming obese and killing ourselves through the choice of excessive food and a sedentary life. (face palm).
Please understand, that while this style of life did make people quite strong and durable, manual work had it’s downsides too.
Repetitive strain, large scale imbalances that lead to major injury and other such things were common, so manual labour had it’s downsides as well.
This bring us to today though, most of us don’t have to work like that for a living, so instead we go to the gym to keep trim.
Being able to go to the gym also gives us the unique opportunity to stimulate a similar response to that of our ancestors and their manual labour roots, just with less chance of the repetition injuries they had.
I’d like you to consider applying a manual mindset to your training.
Because doing it will challenge your body far more than you currently are, I’d wager.
Manual Labour Mimicry –
– Picking things up (deadlift variants)
– Carrying (uh… carrying things)
– Overhad work (pressing horizontally & vertically)
– Running the hod (lunges and prowler work)
– Climbing ladders etc (pull ups, rows and so on)
*There are more, these are just some off the cuff examples
You can see it’s easy to mimic what they did, however I’d encourage you to do it without using barbells/dumbbells, well, in a traditional sense where you wrap your hands around them.
Here is an example of a pair of movements and how tweaking them to make life and lifting far more interesting.
Manual work – carrying material and passing it to a colleague above you.
Gym variation – Pick up several plates (different sizes, 25,20,15’s etc), carry them all together (however you can) across the gym.
Set up a few ploy boxes to roughly your height or 3/4 of your height.
Lift the plates on top of the lo boxes, then take them down, then repeat this serial times.
Try that for 20min with variable loads, you’ll get a cracking total body pump out of doing this, so long as you focus on keeping the density of your training high (minimal rest and constant movement).
^^ Alternatively if you have sandbags in your gym grab a few (variable loads) and spend 20min cleaning, pressing and carrying them, that’s also a cracking session.
The above is good for strength, endurance, fat loss, essentially everything you desire.
Other ways you can stimulate this style of workload are as follows:
– Giant sets
A different look at training for you because let’s be honest, if you’re reading my ramblings there is a high chance you’re not going to be an olympian or high level body builder, simply because that’s not who I write for.
Most of my bits are for the average person who merely wants some guidance, and I will be so bold as to say it all works splendidly.
It’s the people applying it for any meaningful length of time that is the issue 🤣
Don’t worry, I’m just as bad because I also get caught in doing what I want to do rather than what is perhaps best for me.
Anyway, have a great day everyone.
I’m sure you’ve heard terms such as ‘Farmer strong’, ‘old man strength’ or something similar.
The above used to be common place, now though not so much. The elderly now are no longer the robust and battle hardened chickens of old that the spring ones used to watch in awe. Oh no.
Sadly now most of the elderly are fragile, weak, sick and patiently waiting for the cold hand of the reaper to gently come to rest on their shoulder.
It’s a shame.
In our formative years, humans were physically active due to having no other choice. We had to lift things, carry things, hold things just tight enough as to not drop them or kill our hands so we couldn’t go fetch another.
We were strong, durable, happier perhaps?
Manual labour and the necessity of having to be physical made us many things and also gave us an appreciation for the times of rest.
Thinking back to those days there was not so much restriction on food and a lot less of “That food is bad for you,” simply because people ate to fuel their needs during the day and perhaps a couple of nibbles for enjoyment.
Obviously we’ve become a very advanced species and truly achieved some great things, yet in gaining all of these ‘things’ did we lose something precious, something soon to be completely forgotten and lost to time?
All this being said, we live in a glorious age.
Still though, there is a set of valuable lessons you can learn from yesteryear.
– Move daily
– Pick things up, carry them
– Repeated bouts give you a high baseline strength level
– Be thankful for what you now have, your predecessors didn’t have it as easy
The Purposeful Primitive:
From Fat and Flaccid to Lean and Powerful:
Using Primordial Laws of Fitness to Trigger Inevitable, Lasting and Dramatic Physical Change
by Marty Gallagher
Have you ever read it?
You should, it’s a very good book with a wealth of experience in it and one simple take home message.
Success requires heart.
If you take the time to look there is a plethora of good books surrounding the realm of fitness.
Some are filled with numbers, plug & play programs, explanations of the basics and of course the principles/foundations of lifting, yet it’s the ones that are written in a story telling manor that hold the most secrets.
Ironically these are the books people will skip over because they want the quick answer.
This is understandable, however not too wise.
We can all read and gain a basic grasp of the numbers.
I’ve been such a person and has read hundreds of books of the years, admittedly skim reading the story-esc ones, due to my of foolishness at the time.
As I’ve gone back and reread these story books of lifting, Ive found new appreciation for them.
They hold not only training principles and methodologies.
Oh no, they hold something much more valuable as well.
They hold heart, or what some might call indomitable spirit, perhaps even attitude, regardless of the semantics, the message is clear.
Those lifting legends thought differently, they had that extra gear as it were. That defined focus that many of us lack, hence why we only really make mediocre progress – yes, mediocre.
Even those who we think are training hard are lacking.
In the book mentioned above there are many excerpts that speak of people lifting only twice per week and hitting world record numbers (if you check the records you’ll find it all true).
Could you make such progress on two sessions a week?
I highly doubt it. I couldn’t, not with my current attitude in training.
This goes to show just how things have changed, and by things I mean people, or at least our resolve and work ethic.
We’ve grown lazy, so very lazy.
If you’ve just sat and thought “What… screw you, I’m not lazy” or something similar, that’s your ego talking and unless you’re at the peak of your own personal pyramid and chosen endeavour you’re not working hard enough, or rather, working hard enough in the smartest way possible.
Here is an example of just how an attitude was back in the day –
Bill Pearl, he used to train at 4am.
Yep, 4am, before the world got p he’d already be grinning away to forge his body in a fire of iron, sweat and many repetitions.
He had a normal job too, plus lived a fairly busy life, so before you bring up your excuses understand this person had them as well, he simply didn’t let them stop him becoming a legend of lifting.
From reading in to the lives of people form yesterday I fear we’ve grown soft, reliant on our comfortable lifestyles. We’ve lost our edge.
The attitude now is one of ‘I will do more but with less intensity’ – for most people anyway, I’m sure you will explain how you’re the exception, that being the case I wish I was you.
In the book you also get the sense that theme & women of yesteryear trained to break boundaries and hammer their of limitations, I’m not saying some don’t do this now, they just lack the conviction of old.
The modern world has beaten people down with how we ‘should’ look, behave, think, feel and ugh more. It’s no wonder people have so many mental health issues these days.
If you want to expand your thought and learn what it is to I speak of in this post, I suggest reading these three books:
The Purposeful Primitive – Marty Gallagher
Super Strength – Alan Calvert
Secrets of My Strength – Paul Anderson
There are many more great books of old, you can find them here:
What’s old is new again.
Have you ever heard of the Odd Lifts?
You know, ones such as the Bent Press, the Jefferson DL or perhaps the One Arm Snatch?
if not here are some links to get you started:
Okay, now it’s time to get to the point of the post.
– Three odd lifts you don’t often do that will change your body for the better.
1 – The bottom up kettlebell press
This can be done standing, seated, kneeing, sat of the floor or perhaps even in a floor press/bench press/incline press manor, which ever way you choose it will achieve the following:
– Stronger press/grip
– Muscle irradiation (more muscle recruitment)
– Take out your ego
2 – There Renegade Row
Use kettlebells or dumbbells for this. The alternating row style of this lift will help you by:
– Strengthening your ability to brace (core stabilisation)
– Work the entire upper body
– Improve balance
3 – Zecher Lifts
What is more real world than having to pick something off the floor and hold it in an awkward position? Not much, however is this is not to your liking you can swap it out for a bear hug style carry of a sand bag or something equally heavy and awkward.
You can pick the zecher lis you prefer out of the options in the link
– Overall Strength
– Fortified lower back
– A high crossover to daily living
Adding in this lifts or even doing a program of only these 3 will make some great changes to your overall body composition.
If you plan on doing the latter option here is a suggestion:
– 3 days per week or train every other day
– Heavy/Light/Medium loading protocol*
– Rest 1-5min between sets
– Eat according to your goal (gain mass or lose fat etc)
*Heavy = <25 total reps at 85% 1RM +
*Light = 75 total reps at 50-65% 1RM
*Medium = 50 total reps at 70-80% 1RM
Heavy – Zecher Lift
Light – Renegade Row
Medium – Bottom Up Press
Heavy – Bottom Up Press
Light – Zecher Lift
Medium – Renegade Row
Heavy – Renegade Row
Light – Bottom Up Press
Medium – Zecher Lift
How you add these lifts in or plan them is up to you as there are a lot of different odd lifts to choose from, just remember to add weight where you can and that consistency and progression is the key to success.