Monday, June 10, 2013

Essential Skill: Carry Your Own Bag

Why exercise?  It boils down to being a more effective person in my mind.  To that end, how do you know if you are effective as a human?  By being physically able to make your way through life without relying on others or becoming overly taxed.  As hunter gatherers on the plains 30,000 years ago, the set of physical skills we needed are different (and more challenging) than what we need today.  We still run into daily situations where being a little stronger, faster, quicker or more conditioned in general could mean the difference between life and death (or less dramatically, sweating through your dress shirt or not).  To address these modern challenges, I propose a few training standards that we should all strive to meet.
Sir, do you need help with your bag?
In no particular order, the first essential skill is for you to be able to comfortably move a carry-on sized piece of luggage up a few flights of stairs and lift it into the overhead bin. The target weight for a full carry on is 40 pounds.  Despite having handles, it will be an awkward load since all the weight will usually be in one arm for the stair climb so working out with asymmetric weight exercises would be good for this (dumbbells, kettlebells, one-arm pushups, pistols, etc).  To lift your bag into the overhead, you'll need to clean and press it above your head.  Learning to clean a medicine ball, sandbag, or other odd shaped object and then pressing it is key.  Barbell or kettlebell clean & press is good to but you'll find that the lack of a solid gripping point on an odd shaped item develops better real world strength.

Chivalry isn't dead but there may not be a strong man around when you need him.

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