Everyone needs to train. In my not so humble opinion, everyone needs to get off their butts and do some kind of training.
But the problem is that there are a lot of different ways to train, and most people don’t really have a clue how to deal with the plethora of options. Especially when there are so many scams floating around in the fitness world.
So what do you do? Luckily, I’ve done some thinking on the topic.
Well, being a Barbarian is about more than being fit, of course, but it helps. So here are a few things you need to look at to see if your training covers.
1. Does It Make You Stronger Through Resistance Training
You need some kind of resistance training. There’s literally no other way to increase physical strength. None.
However, there are a lot of training modalities that provide resistance training. It’s pretty common.
For example, obviously, barbell and dumbbell training, along with kettlebell training covers this. However, that’s not all.
Some people prefer calisthenics, and you can get fairly strong with it as well. Look at someone holding their body weight parallel to the ground and try to tell me that calisthenics won’t get you strong.
What may surprise others is that yoga actually qualifies. While people think of flexibility, yoga can have a lot of movements that will produce a good amount of strength. Maybe not as much as training modalities focused on such things, but look at some of the poses likthe Crane Pose and tell me strength isn’t required.
2. Does It Provide A Conditioning Element?
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to be able to run a marathon to be healthy.
However, you do need some kind of conditioning training if you want to be an effective Barbarian. It’s just that simple.
Running works. The problem is that a lot of people hate running, which is fine. But if that’s all you can think of, you lack imagination.
Cycling and rucking are solid offerings, as is swimming.
However, kettlebells are also a training modality that provides conditioning, too. Especially kettlebell snatches. If you’re not into kettlebells, but want to use your resistance training to help elicit a conditioning response, you can use complexes or some other kind of circuit training into the mix.
YouTuber and strongman competitor Brian Alsruhe is a big fan of doing giant sets with his accessory work. This lets him get some strength training in as well as providing some solid conditioning.
I’ve tried it. It works.
3. Does It Help With Mobility/Flexibility?
When it comes to flexibility in training, a lot of people start thinking of yoga. There’s a good reason for that. Yoga is notoriously good and making people far more flexible than they were before.
In truth, though, you don’t need that much flexibility out of your training modalities.
That said, far too few of them really deal much with mobility or flexibility. Kettlebell training can provide some mobility work, as can stretching routines independent of training. Calisthenics tends to provide some decent mobility benefits as well.
Additionally, martial arts is a great way to add some mobility…as well as learning how to kick a little ass in the process.
4. Is It Helping You Achieve Your Goals?
This is the big one. All training modalities help achieve certain goals, but that means they’re all lacking in the ability to achieve others. Kettlebells, one of my favorites, isn’t known for packing on pounds of muscle, for example.
All training modalities have strengths and weaknesses. Does yours help you achieve those goals?
For example, if you’re lean and fit from putting in miles a day with your runs, but you feel like you need more flexibility and strength, then yoga is an option.
However, if you feel that your conditioning is lacking, then yoga is less than ideal for you.
It’s important that you take a long, hard look at where you are and what you want out of where you’re heading. It’s important to be honest. If you don’t like running, that’s no reason to say your conditioning is fine. It’s probably not where it needs to be and you know it. You just don’t want to do conditioning training.
Believe me, I get it.
That doesn’t change reality, though. Find a training method that works on your conditioning. You’ll need it.
5. Is It Something You Can Stick With?
I have training ADHD. I’m notorious for bouncing around on stuff. If you’ve been here a while, you’ve probably seen that.
But there are things I genuinely enjoy doing so far as training goes, and those are usually not a problem to stick with.
For most people, when it comes to training modalities for anything, what really matters is whether you can see yourself doing it in a year. Or five years. Or ten.
Going back to yoga, I’m not a fan of how traditional yoga is taught. It’s nothing to do with the movements, necessarily, but the vibe. That whole peaceful zen-wannabe thing doesn’t work for me. It feels forced. Fake.
I like loud music, clanking metal, grunts, and aggression. It’s part of who I am. I suspect it’s part of most Barbarians, truth be told. Still, not everyone is me.
Look, what I like and don’t like doesn’t matter. What matters is you. Are you going to train? Are you going to go to yoga classes because you need that zen-like vibe?
Yeah? Good. Get to it. Seriously.
Just because it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. If you’ll stick with it, that’s all that matters.
After all, no training modalities work if you’re not doing them.
Look, there’s a lot of options when it comes to training modalities, and someone is looking at these wondering what the hell they’re supposed to do.
There aren’t many that really work everything here. CrossFit does. I think kettlebells tend to for most fitness goals. But then there are other things where those are all wrong.
What’s a person to do?
First, understand that you’re not obligated to pick just one. For example, if you love powerlifting, then powerlift. Just be sure to add some conditioning to your training and make sure you maintain mobility.
To be fair, I think most people will need to pick multiple training modalities because so few options are really able to do everything well. Hell, technically, CrossFit isn’t a single modality but a philosophy used to mold multiple training modalities into one system.
And that’s what you need to do. You need to add in whatever it takes just to make sure you meet your basic needs. If you do that? Well, then who cares?