Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What's the point?

This is something I hear all the time, relating to exercise and specifically weight training. What's the point in being able to deadlift 500 pounds? What's the point in being able to bench 315? I'm not a powerlifter!

Why bother being strong? Why bother being able to run 5 miles? Why bother having extra money in your bank account? Why bother filling the gas tank in your car all the way?

Strength is an important part of being a human. It allows you to do your normal activities with more ease and less strain. Is being able to squat 225 good? Sure is. Why, then, does it not make sense that being able to squat 315 is better, and 405 is even better than that? It's not functional, you say. Ok, I'll grant that maybe the actual movement of squatting with a bar on your back isn't something you do during your activities of daily living, but I'd argue to to the death that you use those muscle and that pattern dozens of times a day in some fashion. Strength is something that is good to have some reserves of. Reserves are always a good thing. Why else do we slave away at work to make extra money that some of us will never even use? Why don't billionaires stop when they have the money they need? Welp, I guess 20 million is enough, I guess I'll just go ahead and stop  now.

Regardless of your physical activity of choice, being stronger will help make you better at it. Maybe running is your thing. Do you mean to tell me that your times won't get better when your legs get stronger? My brother-in-law enjoys doing CrossFit, and is considering purchasing a home gym set-up for his garage. I mentioned that the one he was looking at only came with about 300 lbs worth of weights, and suggested he may need more. He asked why, and when I mentioned getting stronger his response was "to what end?"

Not his gym, I wish it was.
Well, if you want to be achieve better times/scores during the WOD's, getting stronger will certainly help. Let's say the WOD calls for 225 pound deadlifts. It'll be much easier to get through if your max deadlift is 450 rather than if it's 275. If you can get through more rounds of the workout, you'll have had a better workout. Right? Right.

Need another reason to get strong? It's a challenge. It's something to strive for, to fight and plan for. You don't gain any strength by just showing up at the gym, you need to put the work in. Getting strong provides you with a daily challenge that you just don't get from other aspects of your life. You can show up to work and coast and still make your yearly salary. You can go home to your girlfriend and just exist, and she will still love you. You can even go hang out with the same guys every week and watch football all day without ever scratching the surface of each other.

It's not true in the gym. People go to the gym with the expectation of "getting better" (whatever "better" means to you). Better happens in stages. Every time you get better, it's time to try and achieve that next stage. It's not easy, but nothing worth having ever is.

Be awesome today. Go lift something heavy!

1 comment:

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