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Go For A Walk

Go For A Walk
January 26, 2018 Dan Raimondi

One thing the crew at Barbell Medicine is aiming to do is change the stock advice often given by doctors (i.e. “Go for a walk”) to be something more like, “Go out and lift/get stronger.” The reason this is so important is because going for a walk, while a valuable activity, doesn’t overload the muscles to an appreciable level, in a more effective range of motion. For example, if you struggle to stand up off of a toilet, you won’t be able to improve that daily task if you don’t train the range of motion( i.e. the bottom position of a squat). Walking won’t do this because the joints never have to produce the necessary force to get you up from the seat. Walking is also hard to overload. You can walk faster, or for longer (or both), but at some point, the walk can only be so fast before you’re jogging.

What I’m getting at is the exercises you choose to get stronger need to scale to your ability, not only for those who are weaker but also for those who are stronger. Take the squat for example. We can dose the squat, an analogy taken from Dr. Sullivan and Andy Baker’s book, The Barbell Prescription, for a weaker trainee. We can have them perform modified squats to a box set to a manageable height, use bands, assistance(their own hands), or even, if necessary, a leg press machine. On the other end of the spectrum, we can take a very strong person and a loaded barbell and have them add hundreds of pounds to the bar to continue getting stronger over the course of a lifetime. The exercise scales with ability and directly trains the range of motion in a progressively loaded manner. Walking is good, and by all means, go out and get some sun. But don’t forget that your strength training needs to include a progressively scalable resistance, through a range of motion that you’ll need to train to carry over into everyday life.