Swellin’ to the Jammiez: Numbers on the Board
Welcome back to Swellin’ to the Jammiez. This is a weekly feature about fitness and the jamz we listen to while working out. Today, I’d like to ask the question: Are you putting numbers on the board?
Numbers are everything. Count reps. Count sets. Count calories (or, uh, ballpark them at least). Most importantly, count your plates. If you’re not working at putting numbers on the board you’re doing it wrong.
What does that even mean? According to Pusha T, it means nothing. It just seemed like a badass thing to say. Pusha T. seems like a cool dude but he obviously doesn’t lift. This is what putting numbers on the board means to me:
Not pictured: Joe
I’m obsessed with this leaderboard. Those numbers next to the names are the one-rep max at each lift for these folks. How does one reach this level of indomitable heftitude? What did these raging beef-lords (and beef-ladies) do to achieve this vulgar display of swole? Mostly, they eat right and lift heavy stuff over and over. BUT there is a specific method for gaining strength.
Why does this matter? Who even cares if you can throw a Marshall stack across the room, crushing a poser at 100 paces? I will ask you a question: Would CROM want weakness in his army? Grow strong outward and the strength within will follow.
Open up your personal stat sheet. Let’s assume you’re at 8 INT, 9 DEX, and 3 CHR, How is your STR? I’d say I’m at 6 STR (SMOHLG and Paris Hilton are max level). You can determine your level by dividing STR into a four main lifts. You have the Bench Press, the Dead Lift, the Shoulder Press, and the dreaded Squat. Find your baseline strength by calculating your one rep max (how much weight you can lift successfully once at each lift). If you’re just starting out lifting, don’t hurt yourself finding out first-hand. Instead, learn the lift and then plug in your multiple-rep weight into an online calculator.
So how do we become King Muscle of Beefcake Mountain? The answer is simple: Linear Progression. If you lift a baby calf every morning from birth, can you eventually lift a full-grown cow, right? This is almost and not at all what linear progression is.
The basics are simple: every time you successfully complete a lift, add more weight to the lift next time you hit the gym. Add 5 pounds for upper body lifts (Bench and Shoulder Press) and 10 pounds for the full-body lifts (Dead Lift and Squat). Beginners can add 100+ pounds to their one-rep max within a year. That’s so swole, y’all! You just have to count the numbers out.
Unfortunately, sometimes the progression can be too much. You slept poorly or you were out drinking all night; suddenly you’re weaker than an Oklahoma beer. It happens to the best of us. Simply drop your one-rep max down a few pounds and work back up to it. Remember: Swole is a journey, not a destination. If we keep working hard enough, all of our names and numbers will be on the board.
As always, I have no qualifications in anything. At all. If you’re interested in learning more about linear progression, I suggest you check out a more comprehensive guide than one written by a nerd with a metal blog.
What do you think? Do you care about lifting? Why are Oreos so tasty? Is this column worthless to you? Let me know below.