Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is Physical Strength the Most Important Thing in Life?

Glenn received a copy of Mark Rippetoe's updated new book Starting Strength, 3rd edition in the mail this week and I couldn't resist thumbing through it. The new version is terrific with lots of pictures and details about how to perform basic barbell exercises. This updated edition seems a lot bigger and more detailed than the 2nd edition. The book takes the reader through the proper form for squats, deadlifts, presses and a number of other exercises. It would make a great gift for the weightlifter or exercise buff on your list.

As an aside, Rippetoe says that physical strength is the most important thing in life. "A weak man is not as happy as the same man would be if he were strong." I used to disagree and think that intellect was more important. I'm not so sure anymore; on days that I feel good, my life seems perfect, when I feel ill, not so much.

Do you think physical strength is the most important thing in life or do you think intellect or spirituality take precedence?

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54 Comments:

Blogger br549 said...

Oh, stop. You just wanted to see pictures of half naked muscular men grunting and sweating.

12:09 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Unknown said...

br549,

Yeah, that's it! You will be happy to know that there are some female models in the book too. However, most of the people look like pretty normal types who like to work out.

Helen

12:19 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Dale B said...

I don't know if strength is the most important thing but, if not, it's a close second. I know that strength training makes me feel better but I think that my mind is sharper too.

12:31 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Keeping strong and relatively fit certainly helps me maintain a bright, cheery outlook on life.



(OK, I certainly feel I'm more upbeat and optimistic than most.)

1:14 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:52 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger HMT said...

If by "strength" you mean "health" then I agree. I've been strong and not so strong over the course of my life. Strong is better but I've been pretty happy when I haven't been "strong". I've never been happy when my health (or the health of a loved one) is poor.

As for strength training... Weight training doesn't work for me. I always give in after about 6 months. Results are fine but I find it mind numbingly boring. I took up rock climbing (indoor) about a year ago. Phenomenal physical results and I can't wait to go. Best upper body and core workout I've ever had.

3:04 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

willpower is critical to attaining physical strength.

it's not the first few easy reps that do the work, it's the ones where you think you are going to die....and if it was easy, everyone would be strong.

i have two sons. one is a laid back musician and the other is an intense academic and determined weightlifter...so much so that i have to watch him closely when he deadlifts.

if i was to have concerns, it would be with my older boy and his lack of interest in anything more than a 75%, whereas my youngest gets anything less than 90% and he sulks.

so one has to conclude that willpower, determination and certainly the potential for physical strength go hand-in-hand.

3:23 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Bob Wallace said...

I keep in mind that pistols in the Old West were referred to as "Equalizers" since the weakest woman was equal -- or superior -- to the strongest man.

3:54 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

willpower is critical to attaining physical strength.

Not always. I simply like working out. I like the way my body feels when I work out. I like the way my body feels after I work out. Endorphines of whatever, I have a hard time not exercising. If fact, I don't not exercise. Just can't.

4:19 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Der Hahn said...

Agree with DADvocate as somebody who has been both a couch potato and a fairly serious exerciser. You need some willpower to get started but exercise should fairly soon develop into both a habit and something that feels pretty good, or you're doing something wrong.

Disagree that physical strength is the *most* important thing in life. The benefits are obvious but there has to be some balance between mental, physical, and spiritual aspects.

4:58 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Mark said...

Sorry, but what a bizarre or hypocritical statement from a woman.

I don't know what she is even getting at here, since she has no physical strength relative to men. Why is she asking if it is the most important thing?

All I can guess is that she vicariously views herself as an extension of her husband. If he is strong, then she is.

Until a divorce happens, of course, in which case she gets all of his strength in terms of money - court ordered.

I don't even understand what she is trying to say. To make it clear, Helen, I am physically a lot stronger than you are - so maybe you want to rephrase, or just ignore logic.

5:04 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Mark said...

I can only think that Helen's attitude is "nothing I say applies to me, because I am a woman". Or something like that.

Her job is to sit on the sidelines and judge men. I guess.

5:06 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Ern said...

I think that fitness is important, and that fitness encompasses more than just strength. I fell in love with cycling back in graduate school in 1974, and I'm still in love with it. Here in Iowa, I don't expect to do much cycling outside from the beginning of November to the beginning of April, so I ride my rollers. Not much in the way of scenery, but it's still riding, and it keeps me much happier than I'd be otherwise.

None of that is meant to deny that strength training is both important and enjoyable; it's just that aerobic fitness is important, too.

5:10 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

God, how I love drive by commenters.

6:40 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:47 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:49 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

For a peasant, yes. For a warrior, not so much. Strength is only a tool. I suggest that the ability to be successful in the widest array of confrontations is tops. Strength will never beat experience, training, or such. Just as intellect will not beat intelligence coupled with action. But for one who has not and will not compete in such contests and is ignorant of war, that would be enough. Now, he is selling his book and idea, so some license for his notion is fair (if I believe wrong).

Women aren't in my world, or this part of it, so I have no idea. Though I think your idea of feeling good, and strength being a part of health and feeling good... that makes sense. Considering how women compete though, I am not so sure strength holds. Well, it makes having babies easier, leading a successful life easier, I suppose it would help with indirect competition, but only up to a point.

8:11 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Alan said...

Being strong is important as a component of a healthy body. As someone who has spent a lot of time around weightlifters and bodybuilders over the years I have to say that men of great physical strength, at least those who pursue it, tend to be emotional and psychological disasters. The majority are good people but there's a weakness inside they are trying to compensate for.

8:42 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Xiaoding said...

Intellect is more important, or to say, a thorough grounding in science is the most important thing. Without it, one is easily led by con men and women, who will use your ignorance to instill fear. Then they will use that fear to have you do something, not to your benefit.

Only by understanding how the world works, can true happiness, and freedom, be achieved.

Epicurus was right.

Imagine if everyone knew how flourescent light bulbs worked, how MRI's worked, how manual transmissions in cars worked. We would not be hearing any claptrap about global warming then!

Nothing wrong with working out, though! :)

9:06 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Sorry, but what a bizarre or hypocritical statement from a woman.

You're not sorry. Hypocrite.

10:04 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Charles said...

Please read the following from a commenter at the Starting Strength website:

http://startingstrength.com/articles/barbell_medicine_sullivan.pdf

He makes the best argument for strength training. You don't have to do it, but you'll live a healthier and fuller life if your body can carry you through to the finish on your own terms and not someone else's.

11:45 PM, November 30, 2011  
Blogger Mark said...

"You're not sorry. Hypocrite."

--

I am sorry for disturbing your pre-conceived notions. I'm not sorry for pointing out the truth.

I've always found it strange when women vicariously co-opt the characteristics of men around them. And everyone looks the other way with this process.

'Cuz women are equal or superior to men.

12:13 AM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger Mark said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:14 AM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:49 AM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

Xiaoding said...

Intellect is more important, or to say, a thorough grounding in science is the most important thing. Without it, one is easily led by con men and women, who will use your ignorance to instill fear. Then they will use that fear to have you do something, not to your benefit.


Not so much. How many scientists believe in AGW? How many stopped eating eggs, saturated fats, and other things because "research" suggested such (and has been proven wrong, definitely the food part but really AGW too). Science is a faddish, often wrong, thing. Using one's own mind, learning through tradition, and other things are not necessarily scientific and yet are superior.

1:11 AM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger LPF said...

Survival of the fittest is as true as it ever was... but the definition of 'fittest' changes with some regularity.

The whole point of evolving an intellect is to diminish the importance of strength. Strength didn't put us at the top of the food chain.

"The secret is to bang the rocks together" - Douglas Adams

10:51 AM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I am sorry for disturbing your pre-conceived notions.

No you're not. And, you don't know what my pre-conceived notionas are. You just imagine you do.

11:32 AM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

BTW - I spent the morning ripping up trees by the roots to clear a field for planting corn next year. Right now I'm typing this with one hand on my Droid while holding up that back end of my car with the other so my son can change the tire.

11:34 AM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger MP said...

Mark are you saying a woman should never pursue increasing her own physical strength because she'll never be as strong as a man?

As a woman who as lifted and pursued increasing my strength, I don't see how my gym activities challenges men in any way shape or form. I am obviously not as strong (nor will I ever even come close to my husband), but so what? I'm lifting for my goals and my husband lifts for his. I want to be stronger and more capable. I happen to think it will make me a better, more capable partner (not to mention more attractive as I continue to age).

12:05 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Physical strength is certainly important. But so are self control, kindness, empathy, intelligence, and other attributes. It probably depends on the day which are most crucial.

Trey

1:12 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

gaining physical strength as a compensation for intellectual and psychological weakness?

sure. possibly. i think we're all compensating somehow....otherwise we'd be shining spirit beings without motive or desire. (ha ha!)

mostly i train for my sport, soccer, which demands strength, speed and agility. in fact i have to make sure that i do higher reps in exercises to not gain too much muscle that i would have to then drag around the field for 90 minutes at a time.

i have amused myself for a few moments trying to figure out whether my physical strength outweighs my intellect or my psychological strength, and while i think it's a great question, i am going to have to think about it for a while longer before attempting an answer.

interestingly, i remember seeing a show about america's smartest man with an i.q. around 180 or so. he was a bodybuilder and bouncer and lived in a tiny cottage.

what can we draw from that?

1:18 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkTM5tEb_f0

this guy's i.q. is between 190 and 210. i feel humbled as mine was tested when i was a child in england at 144.

i do really well at spacial relationships and word puzzles, but the number sequence questions are a challenge for me, even though my father was a hobby mathematician.

to begin to formulate an answer to my prior question, i would say that my physical strength and intellect are on par mostly, but my psychological strength rises and falls.

i find my psychological strength has a lot to do with who i have to deal with.

1:32 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger Mark said...

"... as mine was tested when i was a child in england at 144"

--

Uh-oh. It's starting with the IQ thing. There should be some parallel with Godwin's law because it happens so often in the Internet.

By the way, mine was so high that they couldn't judge it. I simply got all of the questions right as fast as my hand could mark them.

1:44 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:01 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger Mark said...

"Medication much?"

--

I'm on 40 grams of Nutmeg per hour. It's kind of awful stuff.

2:14 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

mark made me smile....

2:54 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:00 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

gaining physical strength as a compensation for intellectual and psychological weakness?

Except, that as Dr.Alistair points out, some of us are pretty strong intellectually. And, as the evaluattoins done during my child custody fights, I'm just fine psychologically.

I like to do things. Hike, camp, fish, canoe, bike ride, swim are all things I've done in the past year. By staying fit and strong, I can do these things with my kids. it's great.

3:23 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

child custody battles...hmmm.

my ex has sole custody of my two boys and got the house, car, furnishings, etc. and exclaimed that she was the best parent and had it proven legally.

that was 4 years ago.

as of typing she says my oldest who is now 15 has become "unmanageable" and my youngest got into a physical fight with her boyfriend last week and pulled his loaded paintball gun on the man and ruined his sweater (pride) after having the boys nose slammed with a door. all because he didn't want to go to the man's house with his mother for the night and the man decided to forceably pull the boy out of the bedroom.

i am beginning to sue for custody of my oldest at present, and we are going to look at my youngest's safety as well, regarding the latest incident and several others in her home, such as being left for hours alone in the house at 12 while she is out and his brother is with friends.

as a parent with no legal rights to school records, discussions with teachers, medical decisions and the loss of daily input in their lives, sometimes i'm at my wits end when i see and hear second-hand what the boys have to go through each day.

as i said to my oldest, i left her after 14 years, you don't have the luxury so stay out of the woman's way as best you can.

maybe the next few months will see a change for the better for my boys.

i haven't been evaluated psychologically, but she still walks this earth due to my restraint.

...and the greatest feeling i have is playing soccer with my team-mates and having my two boys play with us.

indescribable.

4:45 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Dr.Alistair - keep up the good fight.

I wanted full custody but felt joint physical custody was doable. My ex wanted full custody and fought for it and lost. Her and I and our two oldest were all evaluated. She and she alone had abnormal results. That really helps. Even with that, the evaluators recommended joint custody, which seems to be the preference in the mental health world today.

My kids had other ideas though. As they got older, they chose to spend more time with me and my ex felt better of pushing her luck considering the children would state their preference as me.

My youngest son, now 18, spent 95% the last 7 years with me. My 15 year old daughter has spent the night with her mother maybe 3-4 times in the past 1 1/2 years. If you want to spend a lot of time with your kids, like I do, it helps to have a psycho ex wife.

I truly believe she is borderline personality type. She can't keep a job for more than a year or two. She's lucky she's in a profession that is in high demand.

8:17 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger redrajesh said...

How can someone take statements which are meant to sell a book seriously?

4:34 AM, December 02, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:44 AM, December 02, 2011  
Blogger redrajesh said...

Well, assuming 1&3 are yes, the answer to 2 is no.
So the statement cannot be taken seriously.

6:36 AM, December 02, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

Having never been much into body building, I continue to rely on my rugged good looks, boyish charm, and naturally curly hair. Oh, and Crest 3D Whitening Strips.

9:14 AM, December 02, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Southern charm, a puckish sense of humor, and advanced empathy have been rowing my boat for the last 30 years br. We use what we have!

Trey

9:29 AM, December 02, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

I am still waiting for for further elaboration on advanced empathy.

1:00 PM, December 02, 2011  
Blogger Master Doh-San said...

Balance is the most important thing in life. If your life is not balanced, you will never be happy.

2:53 PM, December 02, 2011  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

Strength is very importnat. Unless you have a Bag of Holding, you will need extra strength to carry your loot. It also increases the melee damage you can do.

4:19 PM, December 02, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Balance is the most important thing in life. If your life is not balanced, you will never be happy.

Nor upright.

4:29 PM, December 02, 2011  
Blogger WadeMealing said...

I don't believe "balance" is the most important thing in life. To be truly great at something balance is something you can't afford to have.

I can only speak for myself, but being mediocre in many things sucks. I want to be really good at something.

2:20 AM, December 04, 2011  
Blogger Alex said...

. If fact, I don't not exercise. Just can't.

You exercise 24 hours a day? I recommend to see a psychologist for your gym addiction.

2:51 PM, December 05, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Oh, sorry br549. I was just saying that I am damn good at the whole empathic thing. Years of practice and a hair triggered hot tempered mom got me goign with some serious empathic chops!

Women LOVE to be understood. When they are understood, they think I am kind and sweet and sensitive. I just understand them.

Now I never use these Jedi powers for anything other than good causes. That is because I never got pulled over by a woman cop!

Just kidding.

I was just saying that there is more than one way to field dress a caribou.

Later bro.

Trey

10:15 AM, December 06, 2011  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

balance? hell no. the only time i achieve balance is after a couple of glenmorangies and a nice curry....otherwise it's go like hell.

hair triggered hot tempered? sounds like my ex.

i find that trying to understand women gets me down the wrong path. i prefer figuring what they respond to.

3:07 PM, December 06, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

You were married to my mom? Who knew!!!!!!!!!!!

Nah, I am your older contemporary so it couldn't a been you. Take care pal.

Trey

3:43 PM, December 06, 2011  

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