Program for Work

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by Shawn, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Shawn

    Shawn Becoming A Strong Poster

    I have a question or two. What program would you recommend for someone with a physical job? Something that would help with lifting heavy things, pushing heavy things or swinging a sledgehammer. Also if you wanted to look a little more muscular.
  2. offwidth

    offwidth More than 2,000 posts

    That can be a real challenge depending upon how physical your job is. My old man was one of the strongest people I ever knew. He never trained a day in his life. He had a pretty physical job. He really didn't have the time or energy to train. (or when it came right down to it the need)

    People with highly physical jobs need to be wary of over training, under recovery, stressing the CNS, and nutrition.

    But back to your situation. I suppose that knowing the exact nature of your job could help us determine appropriate programming. However When in doubt, good old S&S is probably a pretty safe bet. Almost a Swiss Army Knife of training.

    Also when in doubt about mixing hard physical jobs and training, consulting with @Geoff Chafe would be advised...
    J Petersen and pet' like this.
  3. pet'

    pet' More than 2,000 posts


    +1 for everything @offwidth said
    Could you give us some details about your job ? And also about you current physical abilities / background / injury for instance ?

    Otherwise, the Naked Warrior...the bodyweight Swiss Army Knife ?

    Kind regards,

  4. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller Experienced and Respected on the Forum

    +1 to the above, more info about tempo and loads would be helpful. Also what sort of equipment or space you might have.

    It is very easy to overtrain when performing very physical work. When I used to be a feeder/tender on a 40" printing press the only supplemental work I did was jumping rope and some martial arts and heavybag work. Even then it was extremely demanding. If you didn't get promoted within a year, year and a half, most people would just quit.

    If the pace is not quite so frenetic, you have many options. Basic movements like deadlift and squat, push and pull.

    Sandbags are very good for developing general strength for moving odd objects and also give you the option of doing some round back lifting by picking them up right off the floor.
    J Petersen likes this.
  5. MattM

    MattM SFG1 Certified Instructor

    Have you already started said job? If so how recently?
  6. Marc

    Marc Strong Presence

    You might also consider an easy strength approach
  7. Shawn

    Shawn Becoming A Strong Poster

    I've been doing tree work for 25 years but have changed jobs recently. I still do side tree work on the weekend. Now the job I do I use a 16 lb sledge hammer and a device called the Rhino to pound three footers in the ground. The Rhino weighs 53 lbs.

    My injury history was some lower back stuff years ago and mcl knee sprains. I have no pain now. Equipment I have is 3 kettlebells (35,44,53 lbs), pull up bar and resistance bands. I like bodyweight and KBs. I would like to lose some bodyfat(maybe about 5lbs) gain strength and look a little more muscular.

    Question Marc, what is easy strength?
  8. Snowman

    Snowman Helping Make Others Stronger

    I'll just add my personal experience. I started paving again this summer, after not doing any all day manual labor since last time I was doing asphalt work, two years ago. In year prior to going back to paving, I worked as a CNA (nurse aid), I was doing S&S and then, for maybe the last 6 months, I switched to A+A snatches. Between the strength/strength endurance from S&S/A+A, and being used to being on my feet for 12+ hours a day as a CNA, it took me less than a week to get used to 12+ hour days on my feet, running a shovel or asphalt rake. For perspective, us lowly shovelers usually moved literal tons of asphalt each day. All that being said, during the couple months I spent back in the paving business (I quit to go back to school), I worked out exactly once a week, on Saturday, so I would have a day to recover before starting work again. I had no trouble going back to my normal "training workload" after I was done paving, so I think it's safe to say I didn't lose any strength or endurance (although two months isn't very long in training time, to be fair).

    Honestly, if you're bouncing between running a sledge, carrying/setting up a rhino (I had to look up what that is), and carrying posts for 40-ish hours a week, and you don't look/feel the way you want, there's a very good chance it's due to diet, stress, or sleep related issues, not insufficient physical activity (kind of like @offwidth was saying). Sledge hammers do a fantastic job of using the entire posterior and anterior chain, and assuming you're don't only hammer right or left handed (that is, you switch sides every other post or something), your total arm/shoulder development should be pretty darn good. If you want to add something, I would add get-ups and either swings or snatches, really more for the sake of injury prevention than anything. Maybe something kind of like the old PM, where one day you do 10-15 minutes of swings/snatches (doing a set of 5-10, with rests in between), then the next day you do 10-15 minutes of TGU's (doing singles or doubles each side). Also kind of like @offwidth was saying. Keeping yourself fresh for work tomorrow is key...
    ShawnM, MattM, offwidth and 1 other person like this.
  9. offwidth

    offwidth More than 2,000 posts

    Yes, exactly...
  10. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller Experienced and Respected on the Forum

    This ^

    When I have had to work high intensity work, some aerobics and some interest work (MA) were all I needed. Throw in shift work and I really had to be careful adding anything extra in terms of intensity or loading.
  11. MattM

    MattM SFG1 Certified Instructor

    @Shawn What I was going to say was if you just recently started to not add a whole bunch of strength training and make the situation worse.

    I would focus on recovery as much as possible. Eat a lot but healthy. Sleep as much as possible. Let the work be your training for a while.

    On the days you're feeling good do some prying goblets, 2 hand swings and armbars to keep everything loose and healthy.

    It doesn't sound like that job is going to be easy no matter how strong or fit you are.
    Lee and Snowman like this.
  12. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller Experienced and Respected on the Forum

    One aspect I have always tried to incorporate into my more physical jobs - use good form. This makes a huge difference. If an activity doesn't translate directly to common lifting movements, figure out a way to apply good form and tweak it to make sure you use solid movement patterns.

    When picking up the Rhino, use good deadlift form. Moving from one location to the next, consider shouldering it and execute a single squat, bring it back down with good form. Use your activities like a Grease the Groove all day long.

    When swinging the sledge be sure to change hands, use good form, set a cadence.

    If you still reliably have lots of gas in the tank, then start to look at other exercise.
    Lee, Boosh32, Anna C and 4 others like this.
  13. offwidth

    offwidth More than 2,000 posts

    @North Coast Miller brings up excellent points...
    Use or find proper form in your work.
    I don't have a physical job anymore, but I always try to use proper form when doing yard work, snow shoveling, etc.
  14. Snowman

    Snowman Helping Make Others Stronger

    +1 to@North Coast Miller's point. Shoveling usually means a lot of rotation. As long as I kept my waist pretty stiff and let the rotation happen at chest level, all was good. Every couple weeks I would get lazy, loosen up, and let myself twist along my entire trunk. By the end of the day, I had enough low back pain to let me know that I had messed up. Good movement is something to aspire to, no matter what the context.
    Anna C and North Coast Miller like this.
  15. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller Experienced and Respected on the Forum

    A last thought without mentioning specific supplemental work - I always found if I had any control over my environment I'd set myself up to essentially do the job as a circuit. Arrange it into periods of peak activity with breaks planned before the next peak, followed by slower set-up for the next burst. Employers also seem to overlook the fact you might be going slower at times than they'd like if you go faster than they expect at others. In some cases the set-up might be the harder task and you'd reverse the roles. Eg, moving gear from one post location to the next might be the high intensity work and actually driving them would be the "easy" part where you pace yourself.

    I found steady state work to produce more cumulative fatigue. Using a wave approach allowed me to better gauge my overall fatigue and better pay attention to movement patterns. I was also better able to manage food and water (water water and more water).

    For a little hypertrophy on the side, stick to established protocol and use 70-80% approx weights and 6-10 reps per set. It will be very easy to generate a pump after work if you are staying fairly "hot" all day (I'd avoid training before your shift). You might find better results using multiple sets per lift, or applying (again) in a circuit fashion, which seems to facilitate faster recovery for a similar volume of work. Depends on what your reserves are.

    Eat more. You'll get some size gains right off the bat that should directly translate to hypertrophy. This type of size will help endurance at higher intensity as long as you continue to eat well and often.
  16. pet'

    pet' More than 2,000 posts


    In addition to the above, physical abilities are maintained and improved with diet & rest as well. Basically, beyond the physical demand in itself, lifestyle plays a significant role.

    If possible, try to have regular schedule (eat more or less at the same hour, the same for sleep).

    Regarding to diet, cutting a bit of carbs, following the idea of "high fat, medium protein, low carb" is likely to get the job done.

    All this can sounds obvious, I admit, but I think it is worthy and efficient - at least with me.

    Kind regards,

  17. Shawn

    Shawn Becoming A Strong Poster

    Wow Thanks guys. I always looked at my workouts as conditioning for my work. Kind of like a boxer. But this is a different look. I do enjoy exercise. The mentioning of changing hands with the sledge was good. Doing it left handed is not easy.
    Snowman likes this.
  18. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe More than 1,000 posts

    KB and BW training are not where my experience lies.

    Working and Training random thoughts:

    - how much do you want it? How bad do you need it? How much do you enjoy it? are you willing to work for it? progress will be slower, I was temporarily laid off(the only time in my life I did not work, for 4 months I made more progress in 4 months than I did in a year, when I went back to work people asked me if I was taking steroids or something, no I have never tried anything more than Creatine and ZMA
    - family, work, training in that order, when you need to take a evening off not training because of something else make up for it next time if you can, just work a little harder next session
    - don't complain, no one cares, if you are sore, tired, or had a tough workout last night no one cares, be the quiet professional
    - make your lunch the night before, when you wake up late you will not have time to make a good lunch
    - take a rest day and do your meal prep, I cook my meat, brown rice, potato for the week because that is what takes the longest and add veg and greens at each meal, you don't want to cook everyday
    - lots of ground beef, cheap, easy to eat, easy to combine with greens and veg
    - lots of spinach
    - I make a large shake and get three portions out of it, I don't have time to eat in the morning, so I have a shake while I get ready and eat quality bread(sour dough or bagel) with lots of butter and coffee on the drive to work, it will be a while from the time you wake up to your first break, you may want a snack before your first break quality food bar, coconut coffee
    - I eat a big meal my first break, snack(nuts, fruit, veg, beef jerky, milk with Whey, shake, etc.) second break, and a good meal last break because it will be a while before your supper and this sets you up for training, you need food for sustained energy
    - I keep jerky, food bars, nuts in my tool box when I need a pick me up
    - water, drink a lot, drink all the water, pee all the time
    - I eat fruit on my drive home/gym so I am ready to go when I get to the gym, preworkout carbs are important
    - I usually drink Whey or BCAA and juice during my training sessions, especially for extended training
    - carbs and caffeine are essential for hard work and training
    - creatine in a small amount of juice or in your shake, drink it quickly because it starts to break down as soon as it hits liquid, I take a 5g scoop Morning, preworkout, and postworkout, I am heavy so try half a scoop, I take 1 1/2-2 scoops preworkout
    - labour is assymetrical and builds disfunction, embrace your asymmetries but try to use your nondominant side as it suits, stretch and work to make your offside move better, be function and stronger
    - if you have insurance and health spending account, use it, massage, physio, a good massage therapist or sports therapist is invaluable
    - take advantage of your non training days to take care of yourself and family, get s*** done, get extra sleep
    - sleep, it will never be enough, try to get as much as possible, melatonin or over the counter sleeping pills when you have to
    - caffeine, I will say it again, is your friend
    - ibuprofen will help you work and train, Advil, Motrin, Robaxacet
    - contrast showers, easier than contrast baths, a few cycles, of a few minutes of as hot as you can stand and as cold as you can stand, finish on cold, it will help you sleep and recover, and build mental fortitude
    - when you come home, don't sit down you may not get up again, I walk the dogs, chores, babies
    - discomfort, you will be sore, tight, and tired, how you deal with and tolerate discomfort will be your limiting factor
    - take care of your feet, good boots, socks, insoles, roll, stretch, and strengthen your feet on a lacrosse ball or foot Roller, I have a piece of pipe I roll my feet on, a balance board is one of the best foot strengtheners
    - take care of your feet!
    - practice good movement, you can try to train perfectly for an hour, but if you move like s*** the rest of the day you are wasting your time
    - I know I am growing when it is really hard to get up in the morning, Get Up, dont snooze, don't think about it, you will be tired, deal with it

    Take it or leave it.

    I will add to the list as things come to me.
    NoahMarek, ShawnM, Antti and 6 others like this.
  19. MattM

    MattM SFG1 Certified Instructor

  20. Shawn

    Shawn Becoming A Strong Poster

    Geoff Chafe good thoughts! I don't have weights besides KBs but will keep this stuff in mind.

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