It is far better to be strong than weak. But getting strong isn’t easy and most people don’t care to work hard. Look at the physique of the modern American: dumpy, lumpy, and in hardly any shape at all.
The safety, convenience, and opportunity of modern Western life is incredible. We don’t have to hunt and gather our food.
Our odds of being eaten by something are very low.
In The United States of America, the greatest country on God’s Green Earth, opportunity abounds for all.
The American Dream isn’t dead. An awesome life is ours for the taking.
However, we are all going to die.
Fortunately, lifting weights reduces your chance of dying soon. You read that correctly: of all the amazing benefits that come from praying at the Iron Temple and prostrating yourself before the Gods of Gains, one benefit trumps them all:
Being strong makes you harder to kill.
A study conducted by scientists from Sweden, Spain, and the U.S. of A.”hypothesized that men with higher levels of muscular strength would have lower rates of mortality than those with lower levels of muscle strength”. Turns out, they were correct. Being all for gender equality, it seems reasonable that the same would apply to women.
This study used muscular strength to predict death from all causes. Here’s what happened:
- Between 1980 -1989, a little over 8762 men between the ages of 20 and 82 were tested.
- They were tested on bench press and leg press. Benching began with 70% of bodyweight and leg press with 100%, and weight was added until failure. They were tested on a treadmill for cardiovascular fitness until “participants reached volitional exhaustion or the doctor intervened for medical reasons.” Cleary, no one was messing around.
- Over almost 19 years, 503 deaths occurred. Doctors found that ” muscular strength, as well as exercise duration and maximal metabolic equivalents, were significantly higher in survivors than in decedents”.
- Participants had been categorized into six categories based on the results of their initial testing. Darwinism won out: “The death rate in the unfit men with the lowest muscular strength was the highest among the six combination groups”
- Out of all 8000 or so people, they “observed an inverse association between muscular strength and risk of death from all causes and cancer”. Cancer ‘mires the gains.
Strong is good.
Go figure. In the weightroom, what doesn’t kill you literally (or usually) makes you stronger and harder to kill. This is very exciting news for those of who lift, but what about for those who have yet to venture into the gorilla pit (read: weightroom) of the gym?
Fear not. While the internet ushered in the “Information Age”, researching ways to get strong, start lifting, or build muscle results in being overwhelmed with opinion and bro-science. In lifting as in life, simple is better. Iron guru Mark Rippetoe wrote the seminal work on lifting for beginners. It’s called “Starting Strength”, and it doesn’t any more simple, or effective, than this.
Starting Strength introduces the major barbell lifts: Squat, Deadlift, Press, Bench Press, and Power Clean/Power Snatch. Then Rippetoe tells you exactly how to do them with healthy, sustainable form.
Does he know what he’s talking about? Well, after reading an article of Rippetoe’s on proper deadlift technique and common misconceptions, I pulled 505 lbs deadlifting when I had previously been stuck at 475 for far longer than I needed to be. Proper form not only results in being able to move more weight (aka make you stronger, and therefore harder to kill) but keeps you injury free.
I have no affiliate relationship with Rippetoe or his company, Aasgaardco. I simply believe, for many reasons, that grabbing a barbell and moving weight is a great thing. Also, as science proves, “strong people are harder to kill and more useful in general” (Rippetoe, Starting Strength) and I want to live a long and awesome life, and I’d appreciate having some jacked and good-natured company at the end of the world.