Strength Training

The goal of becoming stronger is twofold:

1 – to lift, push, pull and carry heavier stuff

2 – to build our metabolism.

Strength is best developed in the gym. Unfortunately, many times our strength is tested outside the gym: in uncontrolled environments with no warmup and an all-or-nothing test. Think about pushing your car out of the snowbank, or lugging a kid around on your shoulders all day.

The best exercises for gaining strength involves having muscles work together. We call these “compound lifts” because they require two or more muscle groups to work together (compound) and require the movement of an external weight (lifts).

Luckily, the same compound movements that make you really strong also build your metabolism – the engine in your body that burns calories and makes you resistant to diabetes. When your muscles get stronger, you become more resilient – you’re harder to harm, and you bounce back faster.

Some examples of compound movements are:





Pull-ups (or pull-downs)


Kettlebell swings

You can usually identify a compound movement because two joints are moving in harmony.

Isolation movements don’t require coordination and don’t build strength as quickly. They’re not the best bang for your buck. Remember doing “back and bis” or “chest and tris” at the gym in the 1980s? Those workouts are usually long and involve several isolation movements.

Some examples of isolation movements are:

Biceps curls

Triceps pushdowns

Calf Raises

Leg extensions

You can usually identify an isolation movement because only one joint is moving at a time.

While isolation movements are usually done on machines, compound movements train your body to BE the machine. A stronger, faster, more resilient, happier machine.

Our workouts therefore focus around compound lifts to build both utility and metabolism outside the gym. Compound movements have a larger carryover to your healthspan–and they take less time to complete.

We also want to use a variety of loads (from heavy to light) and rep schemes (from 1 rep to 20 or more.)

Sometimes, we combine lifts together – for example, a thruster is a squat and a shoulder press; a burpee is a pushup, a squat and a vertical leap. These are usually done to enhance the metabolic effect.

Some key rules:

The simpler the lift, the stronger you get. This means that training real-life movements under load are usually better than training weird patterns you’d never do outside the gym. Squats improve your health. Cable pec flyes do not.

Everyone needs to lift heavy sometimes. And light at other times.

Lifting weights will not make you big and bulky OR lean and ripped. Diet does both of those things. Talk to a coach about your diet.

Single-joint movements are great in rehab environments, where a weak link limits the strength of the chain. To improve your strength levels and metabolism faster, prioritize compound movements in your training.

Ready to start with a coach? Click here to book a No-Sweat Intro, and get your plan together!