This injury-recovery business gets tiresome at times. (So does my day job, which is in government and therefore absorbs more than its fair share of time and energy during the legislative session; hence my dirth of posts lately.)
I can walk normally now, but sudden stops still send an unpleasant jolt through my hip. I can jog a few miles, as long as I ice afterwards. I have full range of motion for most lifts, though little strength in my newly-knit lumbar and hip tissue.
Having just stepped back under the bar a few days ago, I decided this is a perfect time to break out the new copy of Rippetoe’s Starting Strength that his been tapping its fingers on my bookshelf since I ordered it last spring. As long as I’m rebuilding slowly, why not double-check to make sure I have the details right?
The first line caught my attention: “Physical strength is the most important thing in life.”
Really? Being at least as much an intellectual as an athlete, I questioned this — and was amused to encounter the end of the paragraph, which read, “A weak man is not as happy as that same man would be if he were strong. This reality is offensive to some people who would like the intellectual or spiritual to take precedence. It is instructive to see what happens to these very people as their squat strength goes up.”
Hmm. Shades of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. And this post, which resonated with me enough that I shared it on In the Night Farm’s Facebook page. I wonder whether Rippetoe would agree with me that development of all three elements — intellectual, spiritual, and physical — is imperative to ultimate happiness.
Anyway, I particularly like Rippetoe’s observation that physical prowess (particularly strength) is our natural state:
“We previously were physically strong as a function of our continued existence in a simple physical world. We were adapted to this existence well, since we had no other choice. Those whose strength was adequate to the task of staying alive continued doing so. This shaped our basic physiology…
“Over and above any considerations of performance for sports, exercise is the stimulus that returns our bodies to the conditions for which they were designed. Humans are not physically normal in the absence of hard physical effort. Exercise is not a thing we do to fix a problem — it is…a thing without which there will always be problems” (emphasis added).
I’ll admit it’s fun to impress people with my strength relative to my size. Just about everyone is surprised to see what a small female is capable of — not to mention interested in — when it comes to moving heavy things. People regularly comment on my “guns” and even my glutes(!). I’m sure many of you readers share my experience.
To the modern world, we’re weird. Good weird, but weird.
To Rippetoe, we’re just normal.
If everyone pumped iron, they’d be healthier and happier. More confident. Safer. Better.