Riddle me this...

somanaut

Level 6 Valued Member
So I have been thinking a lot about what I would term public health lately. And I would like to know what S1 forums thinks about the subject. And were strength-skill fits into that subject?

I work as a clinical massage therapist, in Scandinavia, for a private healthcare company. Most of our clients come from retirement fund companies. I.e. the people that have a retirement fund at a company. So most of them are still working. We offer a variety of services (massage, physical therapy, chiropractic etc.) and the retirement fund companies buy a set of services that their customers can use. My clients have very different educational and occupational backgrounds. But it's mostly people who earn low to middle incomes.

I got into massage therapy pretty much by if not accident, then at least on a whim. So it wasn't my life's dream, or because I am overly touchy feely. I don't believe in chakras, or that your emotional pain is stored in your hips etc. I think a good massage, can help alleviate some parts of some problem/injuries. But most of the time it's just symptom treatment. However I do think, that reducing a clients symptoms for a short can have a positive effect on how fast they recover, and help ex. physical therapy and other treatment modalities.

Often the subject of general health comes up with my clients. And I try and explain, why massage is a good companion to lifestyle changes, i.e. diet and exercise, but it is best seen as having a supporting role to play. Then I am often asked, what kind of exercise they should do. I always answer: Pick something you like, and do it on average at least 3 times a week. And that I believe, that strength training of some kind has the biggest pay off, for time spent.

It is my impression, that the subset of clients that I treat, that ask me about this, are generally people, who don't want to train, else they would be training (There are two other subsets, that either can't train for legitimate reason or already do, and just got injured). Now I don't know if it's because they are lazy or uninformed. I suspect a bit of both (I know that I myself was both before I encountered S1). The general public health guidelines are: 1) 10.000 steps a day and 2) 30 min of moderate to intense physical activity (a GPP like S&S fits the 30 min moderate to intense activity). That seems reasonable...except for what would constitute the 30 min of moderate to intense activity. Most people (even a large portion of health and fitness professionals) seem to group physical activity into 3 categories:
1) Get Swole!!!
2) Endurance (ex. running or biking).
3) Event, i.e. have fun (ex. crossfit and your average yoga/pilates class, depending on your temperament).

If done properly, I can see how there is a skill element to all of the categories...however that is NOT how most people approach them (in my experience).Now I can see benefits in endurance training, and in the flexibility/mobility aspects. But I believe that S1 got it right: Strength is the most fundamental skill, and it should be practiced as such. I.e. if you like running, you have to strength train, if you like yoga, you have to strength train, and if you don't do anything (not even a job) you have to strength train.

It baffles me, that in a soft socialist democratic society such as the one I live in, that the government doesn't promote strength as a skill a longside, reading, basic math etc. How come there isn't more emphasis on the benefits of strength? Is it because most of the advisors to the government are doctors, and they are more concerned with cancer, obesity etc.? Why is there so much emphasis on endurance and cardiovascular metrics, to the exclusion of strength?

If I recall correctly, the barbell strength standards are:
1) Military press 1 x bodyweight
2) Bench press 1,5 x bodyweight
3) Squat 2 x bodyweight
4) Deadlift 2,5 x bodyweight
Would something along those line be applicable for public health standards? Sure some would fail. Just like some people are bad at math. But for some reason, that is considered more acceptable, than setting standards for ones strength.

Sorry if the post, seems a bit disorganized, I am trying to sort out my thoughts, and would appreciate what the forum thinks about the subject.
 

somanaut

Level 6 Valued Member
TL;DR
1)
How come these is so little focus on basic strength, both in the fitness community and from health professionals/authorities?

2) Do you think the barbell strength standards are a good measure of a person all around strength?

3) What would the kettlebell standards be? a) Simple Goal from S&S and/or b) Rite of Passage from ETK?

4) What would the bodyweight standard be? I know OA(OL)PU is the standard to pass the SFB, and it's a good skill, primarily in teaching tension generating technique. But I am unconvinced that it's a viable bodyweight strength standard candidate.

Note: As far as I can tell, the big stumbling block for people are the discipline to cultivate a skill, be that a barbell, kettlebell or bodyweight skill. And for that you often need a coach. There is little (at least where I live) in the way of proper facilities/institutions to actually teach people strength-skill. I know, that the focus of S1 is to train coaches via their seminars, promote their philosophy via these forums. So the obvious answer is, stop blaming others, get strong yourself, get S1 certified and open classes for people to learn...dammit why do the solution of the worlds ills always end up pointing at oneself!
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
Personally I feel the barbell strength standards are way higher than they need to be for general health and are also skill specific. They indicate that someone is working with barbell more so than someone is or is not "strong" enough to be fit and healthy. In much more physically demanding times, I'd bet most folks couldn't hit those standards yet could live a life requiring much hard work to thrive.

General standards might be some amount of rucking, ability to pick up and move an object based on % bodyweight, some form of hill climb.

Most people have no history of fitness outside of military service or recreational sporting. Most will consider running for 30 minutes/day to be solid exercise, and for them it is. If they can also do 20 pushups and 100 bodyweight squats without resting they're probably at the point where more strength is not going to improve the length or quality of their life very much.

Don't get me wrong, more is better in this case, but when you get much beyond a healthy baseline you get into the realm of individual aspirations. You have to sell the desire and then provide the means, and this in a world crowded with messaging. Most people on this forum cannot relate directly to the mindset that is not driven to be stronger or more fit in some way.

To most people we are a heavily industrialized tool-using society, surplus physical strength is not a necessity beyond a fairly low standard. This being an observation related to the "average" person. Obesity and sedentary habits are rampant. This is what is learned in the home and not corrected at school.
 

LukeV

Level 5 Valued Member
Part of the problem is that people are told stuff like 30 mins per day, 150 mins per week, 10000 steps per day, three workouts per week etc as the MINIMUM and so if they feel can't do that then they might as well do nothing. But very little is infinitesimally better than nothing. I've posted about her before but my wife is a classic example. She goes to the gym when I nag her, once or twice per week, never more, never for more than 20-30 minutes. She claims to have a program (developed for her by the thick-head gym instructor who gives everybody the same program) but I've never seen it. From what I see she wanders randomly amongst the machines guessing weights and doing one set to the point that it starts to feel difficult (she puts more effort in if she thinks I'm watching). And at 55 years she is fit and strong. Yes, weight training, full body workouts, single set, about 2 reps from failure, once or twice per week, is all the average person needs. They will never win Mr Olympia but they will be fit and strong
 

somanaut

Level 6 Valued Member
Personally I feel the barbell strength standards are way higher than they need to be for general health and are also skill specific. They indicate that someone is working with barbell more so than someone is or is not "strong" enough to be fit and healthy. In much more physically demanding times, I'd bet most folks couldn't hit those standards yet could live a life requiring much hard work to thrive.

General standards might be some amount of rucking, ability to pick up and move an object based on % bodyweight, some form of hill climb.

Most people have no history of fitness outside of military service or recreational sporting. Most will consider running for 30 minutes/day to be solid exercise, and for them it is. If they can also do 20 pushups and 100 bodyweight squats without resting they're probably at the point where more strength is not going to improve the length or quality of their life very much.

Don't get me wrong, more is better in this case, but when you get much beyond a healthy baseline you get into the realm of individual aspirations. You have to sell the desire and then provide the means, and this in a world crowded with messaging. Most people on this forum cannot relate directly to the mindset that is not driven to be stronger or more fit in some way.

To most people we are a heavily industrialized tool-using society, surplus physical strength is not a necessity beyond a fairly low standard. This being an observation related to the "average" person. Obesity and sedentary habits are rampant. This is what is learned in the home and not corrected at school.
Thanks for the reply.
I tend to agree, that the barbell standards, seem to me, to be an exeptionally high standard. Worthwhile goals, sure, neccessary to be a healthy human, I doubt it. Also, and related to that observation, there is a point where specialization has a too high cost, to be viable as a public health recommendation. And yes, after a point strength (as with any attribute) has diminishing returns. But I still believe, that basic strength is an overlooked factor in public health recommendations. And most recommendations, that I see, are too narrowly focused on cardiovascular health or joint mobility, to the exclusivity of strength. My 2 favorite examples of this are: yoga and spinning (stationary biking). This is what a lot of people do, and I would question the usefulness of such training modalities in a real world setting. And both are, expecially the spinning one, a low skill. When I look at what the general public wants to do, a common denominator stands out: low skill entry. However, many of these activities, you can even continue to do with a low skill. What I enjoyed about kettlebell, is that it had a relatively low skill entry cost, but you could ramp up the skill level, with the same exercise, and that such a learning curve was/is neccassary to tackle higher weights.
 

somanaut

Level 6 Valued Member
Part of the problem is that people are told stuff like 30 mins per day, 150 mins per week, 10000 steps per day, three workouts per week etc as the MINIMUM and so if they feel can't do that then they might as well do nothing. But very little is infinitesimally better than nothing. I've posted about her before but my wife is a classic example. She goes to the gym when I nag her, once or twice per week, never more, never for more than 20-30 minutes. She claims to have a program (developed for her by the thick-head gym instructor who gives everybody the same program) but I've never seen it. From what I see she wanders randomly amongst the machines guessing weights and doing one set to the point that it starts to feel difficult (she puts more effort in if she thinks I'm watching). And at 55 years she is fit and strong. Yes, weight training, full body workouts, single set, about 2 reps from failure, once or twice per week, is all the average person needs. They will never win Mr Olympia but they will be fit and strong
Running once a week, if that is all one does, is an example of a little is actually worse than nothing.
 

LukeV

Level 5 Valued Member
Running once a week, if that is all one does, is an example of a little is actually worse than nothing.
Hahaha maybe. But what do you mean? Do you mean someone whose only deliberate exercise was a run, say, for 10kms, on Saturday morning every week would be better off not doing that
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
Thanks for the reply.
I tend to agree, that the barbell standards, seem to me, to be an exeptionally high standard. Worthwhile goals, sure, neccessary to be a healthy human, I doubt it. Also, and related to that observation, there is a point where specialization has a too high cost, to be viable as a public health recommendation. And yes, after a point strength (as with any attribute) has diminishing returns. But I still believe, that basic strength is an overlooked factor in public health recommendations. And most recommendations, that I see, are too narrowly focused on cardiovascular health or joint mobility, to the exclusivity of strength. My 2 favorite examples of this are: yoga and spinning (stationary biking). This is what a lot of people do, and I would question the usefulness of such training modalities in a real world setting. And both are, expecially the spinning one, a low skill. When I look at what the general public wants to do, a common denominator stands out: low skill entry. However, many of these activities, you can even continue to do with a low skill. What I enjoyed about kettlebell, is that it had a relatively low skill entry cost, but you could ramp up the skill level, with the same exercise, and that such a learning curve was/is neccassary to tackle higher weights.

The message is definitely out there. More and more seniors are doing resistance training, and this is changing attitudes from the top down among regular folk - at least that is my perception. My mother in law is 74, she does battling ropes, circuit training on the machines, does HIIT occasionally.

I'm the youngest of a big family, one of my older sisters recently reached out to the rest of the family on a message board for recommendations for fitness as she gets older, the response overwhelmingly was some course of resistance training.
 

somanaut

Level 6 Valued Member
Hahaha maybe. But what do you mean? Do you mean someone whose only deliberate exercise was a run, say, for 10kms, on Saturday morning every week would be better off not doing that
Well even less than 10 km. A lot depends on genes, but I would claim, that if one has a mostly sedentary job, and does no exercise. Then that person will likely cause themselves injury if trying to run say over 1 km a week. But setting aside injury, I do not believe, that running once a week, as ones only form of exercise, will have any kind of noticeble effect on their health. The body will simply not adapt to such limited exposure to the activity.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
1) How come these is so little focus on basic strength, both in the fitness community and from health professionals/authorities?
Because it's harder to teach than other forms of fitness. Teaching someone to handle heavy weight correctly takes coaching skill.

2) Do you think the barbell strength standards are a good measure of a person all around strength?
Yes, I think they are a useful measure. I spent 20 years in the military and I'm used to standards and see them as useful. There will always be outliers -- those to whom standards are just too confining and difficult to meet for some legitimate reason and for those people the standards can take them off-task from other more productive things -- but for most people, they ARE capable of meeting the standards. If they don't, it's useful to determine why and then decide if they want to go about changing that.

3) What would the kettlebell standards be? a) Simple Goal from S&S and/or b) Rite of Passage from ETK?
Simple goal from S&S is the best one that I know of.

4) What would the bodyweight standard be? I know OA(OL)PU is the standard to pass the SFB, and it's a good skill, primarily in teaching tension generating technique. But I am unconvinced that it's a viable bodyweight strength standard candidate.
1 good strict bodyweight pull-up.
 

somanaut

Level 6 Valued Member
The message is definitely out there. More and more seniors are doing resistance training, and this is changing attitudes from the top down among regular folk - at least that is my perception. My mother in law is 74, she does battling ropes, circuit training on the machines, does HIIT occasionally.

I'm the youngest of a big family, one of my older sisters recently reached out to the rest of the family on a message board for recommendations for fitness as she gets older, the response overwhelmingly was some course of resistance training.
Glad to hear about your mother. It may be anecdotal, but from my neck of the woods, the world looks different. As mentioned, most of my clients, do things I would characterize as being only minimally efficient...but that is perhaps why they come see me. Hope that the message of stength in any form will spread.
 
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somanaut

Level 6 Valued Member
Because it's harder to teach than other forms of fitness. Teaching someone to handle heavy weight correctly takes coaching skill.
That is also the conclusion that I have arrived at. Glad that someone that knows more than me, confirms it.
So basically one can divide health/fitness into 2 categories:
1) Education in skill.
2) Entertainment marketed as exercise.
Most people (including my self for most of my life) choose no. 2.
@Anna C don't you think, that the is a difficulty gap between the bw-kb-bb standards? I understand that you think, that the barbell is reasonable for most people. But still seems a huge gap from 2.5 bw DL to 1 strict pull-up
 
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Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
@Anna C don't you think, that the is a difficulty gap between the bw-kb-bb standards? I understand that you think, that the barbell is reasonable for most people. Did you mean a pull-up with your bodyweight attached?
I mean just bodyweight with no additional weight attached.

Yes, there is some difficulty gap -- doing one pull-up is an easy task that requires no additional training for decently fit people, expecially lighter men. However pull-ups are exceptionally difficult to attain for others (anyone very overweight and/or out of shape, and most women whether overweight or not). But this is the nature of standards -- just like in high school, some struggle with acacdemics but excel at sports, others excel at social activities but struggle with meeting responsibilities... etc. Standards aren't necessarily goal-posts that require equal amounts of work to attain. They are usually more like separators that indicate basic levels of attainment in something. People who meet it - through good genetics, good living, or hard work -- and people who don't. It's nice if standards are attainable for the vast majority with hard work (if they lack good genetics or have not taken good care of themselves), but it is true that there will be some who are unable to meet standards even with a lot of hard work. But they should be outliers, and they should accept that about themselves and do the best they can with what they have.
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Those standards are way too high for general pop. I always liked these ones:
Naked/cup of water TGU
DL 1x BW, or a broad jump pretty close to your height
body weight squat below paralell
maybe - 1 pull up for women, 3-5 for men

Pretty reasonable I would think for someone who wants to be fit enough for the average life
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
The strength standards you list in the original post do look a bit high. I'd go with the SFL standards:

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Kettlebelephant

Level 7 Valued Member
IMO the SFL standards are still way too high.
It's a certification for professionals in the S&C field. The people attending should be able to display a certain strength - "walk the walk".
For the average population though those numbers are not needed.
I think we all can agree that having a 2xBW deadlift will make many things in life easier than having a 1xBW deadlift, but that doesn't mean it should be the standard.
The standard should be only what is needed to live the life of a regular citizien with reasonably good health.
IMO the things that @wespom9 mentioned are enough for this.
Being able to perform the cup TGU and squat below parallel shows that you got good mobility, flexibility, motor control and body awareness.
The BW deadlift displays total body strength that is needed for things that you encounter in real life.
The broad jump displays explosiveness.
The pullup and I would add pushups (3-5 for women, 10-15 for men) display a good amount of strength and most likely will reflect a healthy bodyweight.
Will better numbers increase qualitiy of life? Most likely yes. Are they needed to live a good, capable life? Most likely not.
 

mprevost

Level 6 Valued Member
Well even less than 10 km. A lot depends on genes, but I would claim, that if one has a mostly sedentary job, and does no exercise. Then that person will likely cause themselves injury if trying to run say over 1 km a week. But setting aside injury, I do not believe, that running once a week, as ones only form of exercise, will have any kind of noticeble effect on their health. The body will simply not adapt to such limited exposure to the activity.
I don't disagree with you in principle that once per week is really minimal but there is some data showing that it helps reduce mortality.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d1a7/4d29b33393bb702f6f05819740e9205eaec6.pdf

Can't seem to locate the study but it showed that triathletes who clustered their training on the weekend improved similarly to those who spread it out thoughout the week if their training volume was similar.

The injury part is an issue though. Is once per week enough to get productive remodeling of the tissues, especially for runners? I don't know.

There have been some recent studies looking at insulin resistance and glucose tolerance that have shown that as little as a 10 minute walk, or 20 bodyweight squats after each meal can improve blood glucose control.

It seems that the minimum effective dose to get "some" improvement in health is very low.
 

somanaut

Level 6 Valued Member
I don't disagree with you in principle that once per week is really minimal but there is some data showing that it helps reduce mortality.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d1a7/4d29b33393bb702f6f05819740e9205eaec6.pdf

Can't seem to locate the study but it showed that triathletes who clustered their training on the weekend improved similarly to those who spread it out thoughout the week if their training volume was similar.

The injury part is an issue though. Is once per week enough to get productive remodeling of the tissues, especially for runners? I don't know.

There have been some recent studies looking at insulin resistance and glucose tolerance that have shown that as little as a 10 minute walk, or 20 bodyweight squats after each meal can improve blood glucose control.

It seems that the minimum effective dose to get "some" improvement in health is very low.
Thank you for the link. Will read through it later. But a couple of things allready caught my eye...they say two times a weeek, not one, but TWO times. I specifically stated ONE time per week. I don't mind being wrong, but I said one time per week because I meant exactly one time per week. I might be wrong about the effects of one time per week, but as far as I can tell, for a quick glance, they write two times per week. Did I misunderstand?
About the daily training. Ofcourse I am in favour of a little per day for the general public.

edit: would like to add, that if a weekend warrior approach has health benefits I would be thrilled. I have a lot of clients that work construction 12+ hours for 4 days away from home, and I have been at loss as to what to tell them.
 
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