15 Sep My Philosophy on Strength

SquatHow important is strength?

Strength definitely makes everything else better, but strength isn’t the only thing we need.

First, it’s important to remember that quality of movement precedes strength (Point 1 – Be Mobile, see below)

We need to move well, then move strong.

Strength is foundational to athleticism, endurance, speed, agility, and functional capacity.

Strength helps all the other physical qualities and when we become physically stronger, we become stronger in every other way possible in our lives (Point 2 – Be Strong, see below).

Not understanding the importance of strength was a HUGE mistake I made early in my training career when I trained purely for aesthetics in competitive bodybuilding.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no question I still want muscular hypertrophy and I’ll always be a bodybuilder at heart, but I approach it in a much more “functional” way in my training.

How strong do we need to be? That’s the big question, isn’t it?

That all depends on our specific health, performance, or athletic goals.

Becoming stronger not only improves our fitness and performance, but also our health and well-being as strength effects many different systems in the human body.

My philosophy on strength is extremely simple.

It comes down to these 4 things.

  1. BE MOBILE
  2. BE STRONG
  3. TRAIN WITH PURPOSE
  4. ALWAYS EVOLVE

That’s it, that’s my philosophy really drilled down to the core.

We can approach these 4 things in many different ways.

The ways I focus my efforts on strength and performance are primary with barbells, kettlebells, and bodyweight exercises.

You see, my goals are to become exceptional with the fundamentals of barbells, kettlebells, and a handful of bodyweight excesses, BUT this doesn’t mean this is the only thing I do or recommend doing.

The outcome you want determines the tools we use.

I do believe that in order to become exceptional with a training methodology or tool, we MUST focus our efforts which is why I primarily focus my efforts on 3 areas, barbells, kettlebells, and bodyweight training.

This is NOT to say that’s all I do.

But, if we try to do too much, we become a “jack of all trades and master of none.”

I have zero desire to be a jack of all trades.

That’s not where I am in my training journey or philosophy.

I do prefer to “specialize” but that doesn’t mean the training is limited in any way.

My goals are strength related (and keep in mind there are many qualities of strength – explosive strength, max strength, strength speed, strength endurance, etc).

Let me explain more about how I train.

THE 80/20 RULE

There are many different applications of the 80/20 rule.

Here’s one way I apply the rule to my training.

Typically, about 80% of what I do is barbell, kettlebell, and bodyweight training related.

The other 20% can be anything else, depending on what my current training goals are.

Of course, this could fluctuate a bit (ex. 70/30) depending on the goal.

But, that’s my 80/20 rule most of the time.

I believe we can continue to evolve our skills, techniques, and performance with barbells, kettlebells, and bodyweight training over a lifetime (Point 4 – Never Stop Improving).

Again, the tools I use are dependent on my current training goals (Point 3 – Train With Purpose).

While I focus on barbells, kettlebells, and bodyweight there are definitely other things I do and implement in my training programs.

Here are things that are contained in the 20% of “other” strength and conditioning things I do (and some are part of my regular programming).

And, these may increase, decrease, or be eliminated, depending on the current training goal.

  • General and specific mobility work
  • Movement skills and practice
  • Original Strength series
  • Sprinting
  • Occasional moderate running (ex. 3 mile light runs)
  • Recreational sports and activities
  • Bodyweight exercises (ex. pull ups, push ups, burpees, ab wheel, pistol squat)
  • Ring work
  • Jump rope
  • Box jumps
  • TRX
  • Medicine balls
  • Dumbbell exercises

And, there are a few things I’d like to incorporate more that I don’t currently do.

  • Sandbag training
  • Sled work
  • Sledge hammer work
  • Tire training

For me, it always comes back to the goals of training and if the tool fits my training goals.

If it matches my goals, I use the tool, it’s very simple.

Mobility, strength, and athleticism are always training goals for me.

Again, I want to move REALLY well and I want to move REALLY strong.

I want to be athletic and vibrant at any given time.

Currently, I find that the 80% of what I want can be addressed with barbells, kettlebells, and bodyweight.

When I refer to barbell training, I should define what I focus on here.

  • Squat
  • Bench
  • Deadlift
  • Snatch
  • Clean and Jerk

Obviously, this includes powerlifting and the Olympic lifts.

I’m a technician.

What I mean by that is that I’m extremely passionate about improving these strength skills and LOVE the technical aspects.

I’m obsessed with refining and evolving these techniques so they’re performed as safely and effectively as possible.

What’s amazing is that these lifts can literally be evolved and refined over a lifetime of training.

Age is no barrier as far as I’m concerned.

The only barrier is your mind and the limiting beliefs.

It’s important to understand that there are many progressions and varieties of the lifts above, but the basics are my foundation for barbell training.

I’m sure you can imagine, this is A LOT of ground to cover in training.

But, my training is always geared towards one primary training goal at any given time.

Without going into all the details of all the exercises in my programming right now, you should definitely be able get a strong sense of how deep and extensive this is.

My philosophy is to become strong and stay strong, for as long as possible.

Why?

For the simple reason is that we progressively LOSE it as we age.

That’s good enough reason for me.

The approach or system for me is through the strength and performance triad (as illustrated below).

This visual demonstrates the 80/20 rule and the way I incorporate “other” methods.

Triad

STRENGTH & PERFORMANCE TRIAD

Using the right tools is a major part of the philosophy, but it’s in no way dogmatic or exclusive to other training methodologies.

I use the right tools for the desired results, that’s what is most important.

Honestly, I can’t think of any coach that I know who says that only ONE tool is the only way.

For what I want, the strength and performance triad serves my purpose for the short term and long term.

My big focus is on movement and strength to accomplish and support everything else.

I don’t consider myself a “kettlebell guy” or a “barbell guy,” instead I’m a strength and movement coach and athlete who focuses on those tools to accomplish a long list of heath and performance goals.

Remember, the way to achieve exceptional outcomes comes down to these 2 important points.

  1. FOCUS ON ONE GOAL AT A TIME
  2. BE COMMITTED FOR THE LONG HAUL (Understand…it’s a journey).

And, I believe this simple training philosophy will carry me for a lifetime of exceptional training and performance.

At least that’s the goal.

A PHILOSOPHY ON STRENGTH

  1. BE MOBILE
  2. BE STRONG
  3. TRAIN WITH PURPOSE
  4. ALWAYS EVOLVE

We need to get strong to be strong.

Understand?

If we apply this, we’ll have great results for the long term and that, my friend, is what it’s all about.

Scott Iardella writes about strength training methods to optimize health and performance. If you enjoyed this article, join a strong and growing community of passionate fitness enthusiasts and subscribe below to get a ton of cool, free stuff!  
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