Making Money, Getting Strong: Two Grownup Responsibilities


Writes Mark Rippetoe:

There are more important things in life than money. There is family, learning, music and art, love and friendship, and your health. There is joy, laughter, passion, triumph, the rebound from failure, and the pleasure of accomplishment.

Now it’s time to grow up, son. Because all these important things need to be paid for, and some of them can be expensive. Money is handy like that.

Physical strength is like money in the bank in that it enables you to do the things you want to do with your body. Work, play sports, hunt and fish, and be physically independent well into your later years — physical strength is the basis of all these things.

I know that sitting around the table at The Academy, solving calculus problems, grappling with tough philosophical questions, writing art criticism, calculating reparations payments, and making decisions for other people might seem to be a more satisfying use of time and intellect. If you’re physically lazy, it certainly is.

But you can still do all these things while getting your deadlift up to a respectable weight. I manage.

Intellectual pursuits are indeed important, but having a strong enough body to host an intellect effectively and to enjoy the fruits of intellectual accomplishment into old age is part of the equation. Strength is the antithesis of ill health, and ill health is not how an intellect flourishes.

In fact, the muscle mass that comes with the development of physical strength has been proven to prevent the diseases and afflictions that come with careless aging, the irresponsible lack of attention to maintaining the strength that is everyone’s birthright. Everyone can get and stay strong, but this requires work, and excuses are easier than squats and deadlifts.

The muscle mass that is the hallmark of physical strength is the key to longevity, to health, and to the maintenance of physical function. In its absence, a towering intellect in a weak and sickly body is a sad legacy of physical laziness or profound misfortune.

Unless you plan to get killed, you’d better plan for getting older. All the “cardio” in the world will do nothing to maintain your muscle mass — but effective strength training both grows muscle mass and keeps your heart and lungs in shape. If you have enough sense to know you must devote some time to exercise, strength training is the far more logical way to spend that time.

Money in the bank, muscle on the frame. Both are the consequences of effective planning, and both are among the most important things you can do — if you’re thinking ahead.


4 Reasons Why You Gotta Squat

by Martin Rooney


1. The squat functions to improve athleticism. In my 20 years of training and coaching, I’ve seen a lot fewer people get hurt squatting than those dropping weights on their toes. I have, however, seen thousands of athletes lower their 40 times and increase their vertical jumps by squatting.

2. The squat functions to improve cardio. Most people think cardio involves elliptical machines, leotards, and aerobics class. Do some sets of 15-20 squats and see if your heart rate doesn’t spike. Squats will improve your cardiac capacity and mental toughness.

3. The squat functions to add muscle mass. The squat is the absolute best exercise for adding functional bodyweight. If your goal is to weigh more than people think, the squat will pack on muscle in places people can’t even see.

4. The squat functions to get athletes ready for future programming. If you’re a trainer and you have to get athletes ready for college, squatting should be a staple. Single-leg dumbbell crossover step-ups might earn you points for creativity, but if you aren’t making your athletes squat you aren’t doing all you can to prep them.

The big issue with the back squat isn’t weakness – it’s mobility.

Contrary to what you might hear, mobility isn’t age dependent; it’s movement dependent. Stop moving for an extended period of time and don’t be surprised when the back squat folds you in half like a cheap lawn chair.

We all saw that photo of the one-year-old sitting in the hole of a perfect squat. Heck, some of you might’ve posted it on your Facebook page and commented on his “ass to grass” form.

Newsflash: Not many 30-60 year-olds have that level of mobility. Maybe that’s what’s supposed to happen with mobility. Fail to maintain it and you lose it.

If that’s what happens, you turn the barbell squat into a “bad morning exercise,” both during the workout and the next day when you hobble out of bed.

But if you keep moving and maintain or even enhance your mobility as you age, the squat doesn’t have to go. You can greatly improve your mobility for squatting if you work at it.

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