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What is Strong Enough?

I love strength.

Anyone who has read this blog can probably pick up on that pretty quickly. I think being and strong as humanly possible is cool and something that I strive for because, well, why not?

Put my bias aside for a moment. What if you don’t care about being Norse god strong? What if you have other goals but want to be in pretty good shape; look good, feel good, perform (generally) well. How strong do you need to be in order to accomplish that? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I believe I have come to some pretty solid numbers. There wouldn’t be much you couldn’t do day to day if anyone were to accomplish these numbers and maintain them for the majority of their adult life. Without further ado:

  • Deadlift: 1.5 – 2 times bodyweight for 1 rep
  • Squat to BELOW PARALLEL*: at least bodyweight for 1 rep
  • Push ups: at least 5 chest to floor, straight as a board reps; 2 reps if your are a woman
  • Farmers Carry: at least 30% of bodyweight in each hand
  • Bench Press: 75% of bodyweight for 1 rep
  • Press: 50% of bodyweight
  • Chin up: 3 – 5 reps if you’re a man and the ability to hold chin above the bar and lower under control if you are a woman

Certainly these numbers would not impress anyone on InstaTube. That’s not the goal. These simply represent the minimum standard we should all try to maintain for the majority of our lives (16 – 80ish). All of these numbers can be reached with minimal weekly time commitment, no more than 3 hours per week, and are within the grasp of anyone willing to do the work to get there. The amount of muscle you will carry from this amount of strength will be enough to keep anyone independent as the age. I suspect that it will also help prevent many of the diseases of modernity that plague so many in the western world.

Can’t hit these numbers? Looks like you have some work to do.

Life long health

Life long health

* this is key as we age. The ability to stand from a position below 90% is severely lacking in most elderly that don’t have to poop in that position.


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