I am currently in the process of building a timber shed in my backyard that will operate as my home gym. Nothing flash, a 3.7m by 3m timber shed with a colourbond roof, window and barndoors. I can’t tell you how excited I am about the prospect of finishing what will become my own personal “Strength Shed”. Yesterday I filled a 2m3 skip to the brim with concrete, bricks and dirt. There would be at least 2 to 3 tonne of rubble in that skip and it was all dug up and transported by hand with a sledge hammer, shovel and wheelbarrow. By the end of the day I was absolutely spent. I ate like an absolute animal in the evening, had a few beers to wash it all down to get very little sleep as my daughter did not sleep well. In the morning at 6am I awoke to the daunting prospect of completing 7 sets of 3 with 75% of my 1RM on the squat. 2 things happened. One was as the workout progressed I actually felt myself becoming stronger and more powerful. The other was that interestingly there was no stiffness of soreness when I began. What does this tell us?
Firstly weight training with submaximal weight over a long time with good consistency prepares your body for any challenge. As stated I moved over 2 tonne of rubble with my hands and a wheelbarrow and awoke with no stiffness or soreness. Secondly the work actually prepared my body better for the workout I had less than 24 hours after this lengthy manual labour. I am sure for many of you the experience you have had has been the same. Not surprisingly I would bet there are plenty of you who have experienced the opposite after a full day sitting in the office in front of your computer. I know the phenomenon seems strange. You would think sitting around all day would prepare your body well and make you feel almost as if you needed to work out. Strangely you often feel tired, lethargic and stiff.
This brings about the second point. Volume of training can be built up to a point where it possible to lift heavy every day of the week. For many this notion seems crazy because you have been “weiderfied” into thinking you must have x amount of rest. Let me remind you the Russian and Bulgarian weightlifters would lift 5 to 6 days a week all at between 70% and 90% of their respective 1RM. This type of volume if gradually built up to is the type of training that will see you master weights others can only dream off.
The moral of this is don’t shy away from hard work. Those lucky enough to have lived on a farm or work as labourers who also lift will be testament to the virtues of solid manual labour coupled with a heavy lifting program equals serious brute strength.