A Different Type of New Years Resolution
First blog of 2023. Monday was a holiday because there were bowl games on TV.
It is now January 3. In the general population perhaps half of the New Years resolutions made with earnest enthusiasm a scant 48 hours ago are now being reevaluated.
Such backsliding is unlikely among the readers of this weekly missive.
What I want to suggest today is a slightly different type of resolution that this audience will find intriguing and (hopefully) appealing.
Master Something New AND Difficult
Those of us who have been training for decades have mastered a range of complex and difficult exercises. What Im going to suggest is that you might enjoy testing yourself by learning and mastering a very difficult exercise or movement that is new to you.
The benefit of building a broader base of strength and endurance will likely benefit your other training.
If you decide to do something like this challenge, it will also revise some of what you do in your workouts and how you train.
Let me suggest some challenges you may want to consider.
Pick one or two or make up your own challenge.
Pure Strength Challenges
Usually lifters make resolutions to improve upon their one rep max in the lifts they train at present. Powerlifters all resolve to have a bigger bench or monster deadlift, etc. In other words, more of the same but better.
Wrap your mind around learning a whole new exercise that is really hard to master. However, the benefit for building greater body strength will be off the chart.
These are exercises you may want to consider:
- One leg squat (Pistol)
- One arm push-up
- One arm pullup
- Freestanding handstand
The big challenge of these movements is that most people cannot do a single rep when they begin. Getting strong enough to do one rep is a major challenge. It involves following a progressive series of preliminary movements for months.
However, the final result is dramatic.
Strength Endurance Challenges
Powerlifters tend to ignore the category of strength endurance in their training and focus on more pure strength movements. However, the ability to do a high number of reps with a challenging weight in a specific time period can bring huge benefits for long term strength and durability.
By building muscular endurance you can create a nearly bulletproof injury resistant body. You also build athleticism, flexibility, and recovery capacity.
Here are some strength endurance challenges you might consider:
- Kettlebell snatch test (100 reps in 5 minutes with 24Kg bell if under age 50)
- Over age 50 kettlebell snatch test (50 reps in 3 minutes with 20 kg bell)
- Power clean (20-30-50 reps in a set time)
- Nonstop 100-200 rep sets (Kettlebell snatch or kettlebell swing)
Sound like fun?
Endurance Strength Challenges
Many of us had the ability to do a lot of pure calisthenic movements at one point in our lives. Revisiting some of these can do wonders for building body strength and correcting muscle imbalances.
Here is a list of candidate moves and goals:
- Maximum number of pushups in one set
- Maximum number of pullups (or chins) in one set
- Maximum number of Hindu squats
Changing up how you challenge your body is essential to continuing progress and maintaining a high level of strength and fitness. Setting up a challenge for yourself is one way to expand your repertoire of workout options and build up your strength-skill.
Picking a difficult movement means devising your own progression of how to reach the goal. This will be different for each of us depending on where we begin.
Mastering a new (to you) difficult move can dramatically enhance your body strength and durability. You can also:
- Impress your friends
- Amaze other people in the gym
- Terrify your doctor
Happy New Year!