April 2, 2020

Answer honestly, are things getting better or worse?

Do you even know?

Wouldn't it be nice if there were easy to use, simple metrics that would give you valuable clues about the state of your health and fitness.

You should be able to assess at any time, "How am I doing" and "Which direction am I heading?"

Waist to Height ratio (W/H) is one such metric. An increasing number means body fat is going up which is generally not a good thing. As body fat falls (decreasing W/H), your health is usually improving.

Resting Heart Rate (RHR) measures aerobic capacity and predicts fitness and mortality. Although the normal ranges for RHR vary widely, reducing your RHR over time is a good thing.

Did you know the Grip Strength evaluates overall health and fitness? This simple test can be helpful in monitoring athletic performance, aging, full body strength, muscle mass, body fat and even nutritional status. It’s even a predictor of overall mortality.

Your doctor may test your grip strength with a dynamometer but you can use the Dead Bar Hang as a simple test. Just hang from a bar for as long as you can (time yourself and be prepared, this is harder than it sounds). That's your baseline # from which you try to improve over time.

I look for 30 seconds as a minimum number but again the primary use of these metrics is comparison over time. Which way am I going? Am I getting better or worse?

Here's the secret. If you want to improve grip strength (and you do by the way), don't work on specific grip exercises like squeezing a ball. Work on full body strength.

Obviously any pulling type exercises where your grip is paramount to your ability to lift the weight (dead lift, pull ups, rowing, etc) will directly build your grip strength.

But improving your squat strength will build your grip strength too.

Increased aerobic conditioning will positively affect your grip.

Sprinting and sled drags and crawling and all types of conditioning work will improve your grip strength.

That's the beauty of using it for your overall "How am I doing" metric.

As your dead bar hang improves, your life is getting better:
  • you're stronger
  • you're fitter
  • your body fat is decreasing
  • your endurance is better
  • you're mentally tougher (it's hard to hang on for those last few seconds)
As Dan John says, "Strength Solves All Problems". And grip strength is a universal way to measure your overall, full-body, practically applied strength.

So let's use it.

I Challenge You (and remember you need challenge and competition in your life) to 1) measure your baseline grip strength using the Dead Bar Hang and then 2) double it over the next 30 days.

So if you start at 15 seconds, train yourself over the next month to advance to 30 seconds or more.

Can only do 5 seconds to begin, let's get you to 10 seconds and then keep going.

You're a beast and already at 90 seconds; let's see you get to 3 minutes in 30 days. That's hard.

The Challenge is not what your number is right now.

The Challenge is to Get Your Number and then Double Your Number in 30 Days.

The beauty of a challenge like this is no matter where you start and/or how far you advance, you're doing yourself good.

And you can then conclusively answer the questions:

>> How am I doing?

>> Which direction am I heading?

>> Am I getting better or worse?

If you want any tips or tricks as to how you might accelerate your grip strength building effort, set up a 10 minute call right here. I'll give you my best advice.


Hit reply to this email and say "I'm In". Get your baseline Dead Bar Hang number and send it to me. And then periodically report back with improvements over the coming month.

Don't Die Early. A good Grip Strength predicts longevity. Use it to your advantage.

Don't wait for Jan 1 to start the fitness craze again. It's an all-year-long activity. Make everyday count.

I'm looking forward to the challenge. Hope you join me.

Need ideas on how to improve? Set up a quick call and I''l throw some ideas at you.
Cheers -

Mark Fickler

Mark aka The Old Spartan and Over-50 Fitness Savior is a 64 year old coffee guzzling father of five wandering the outdoors around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mark helps Active Boomers get lean, healthy and strong so they live rewarding, fun lives using his signature 2 Rule Easy Fat Loss training program.

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