bikeshed.coffee

easy strength + being "off meta"

In an effort to keep generally fit and healthy, I've been following Dan John's Easy Strength. For the uninitiated, Easy Strength is more a template than a program per se. The tl;dr (all errors mine) is:

  • 3-5 lifts, 3-5 sets, 3-5 reps, 3-5 days per week.
  • work in the movement patterns: push, pull, hinge, squat, loaded carry
  • keep to 60-80% effort

So one example routine could be:

  • 3 sets of 3 barbell deadlift
  • 3 x 3 barbell overhead press
  • 3 x 3 lat pulldowns
  • carry around a kettlebell for a bit
  • throw in some light cardio
  • 4 days a week

If it wasn't obvious from the name, Easy Strength is supposed to be... well, easy. You show up, do the lifts, don't stress too much about the numbers, and move on with your life. This is distinctly opposite from my past approach to new hobbies: find the cutting edge "meta" and start chasing it. In fitness, this would probably look like a routine with a lot more exercises, obsession about perfect diet, and optimizing the lifting gainz down to the last half pound. Plus time spent reading, lurking on forums, and possibly arguing with strangers on the internet.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just getting old but all that sounds like way too much work for something that, while important, will never be my #1 priority. Chasing the meta requires a lot of time and energy -- the last 20% takes 80% of your resources, as they say -- with a healthy dose of throwing yourself into the wall. Nowadays I think you can only really do that for a small handful of areas at any given time without burning out. Maybe it's more productive over the long term to acknowledge that most things are probably good enough with an Easy-Strength-like approach and save the meta for the 1-3 things that really matter.

... Of course, some days that's easier said than done. Especially when someone's ten feet away benching more than you squat.