Increasing maximal strength.
Consider maximal strength to be your ability to move through the highest gravity level possible, which is usually a product of load — weight attached to your body in some way, shape, or form.
If you’re using more weight (assuming good technique), you’re expressing more strength.
This is the most straightforward way to overload.
Once you can lift 200 pounds, you try to lift 205 pounds. Once you can lift 205 pounds, you try to lift 210 pounds…
Assuming your technique stays consistent, the more weight you’re lifting, the stronger you are.
Consider maximal strength to be your ceiling. When you’re training for strength, you’re always trying to push your ceiling higher.
Consider endurance to be your ability to sustain a movement through a given level of gravity.
The endurance we typically envision when we see the word is that of running or other popular forms of “cardio,” which runs consistent with the definition above.
There’s a certain level of gravity (Earth’s) and you’re sustaining a particular movement (jogging) as long as possible.
Most types of endurance expressed in the strength training world are more along the strength-endurance side of the endurance spectrum.
Meaning you lift 200 pounds for 5 reps one month and then, two months later, you’re able to lift 200 pounds for 10 reps, you have more endurance.
The reason it’s strength-endurance is because maximal strength matters.
If your one rep maximum (the amount of weight you can lift for only one rep — was it necessary to define this?) is 200 pounds, you shouldn’t expect to have great endurance with 200 pounds.
But if you can lift 400 pounds, then you’ll have a higher potential for endurance at 200 pounds.
So maximal strength matters…to a point.
As long as you’re a decent ways below maximal strength and trying to improve endurance, you can train in such a way that’ll improve your endurance (strength-endurance) without it influencing maximal strength.
Increasing “fuck you” strength.
Or, perhaps more elegantly said: strength-tolerance or hyperbolic strength.
I enjoy me some Nassim Taleb.
Taleb talks about “fuck you” money. It’s the amount of money you need to be free and do what you want, when you want. In other words, it’s your ability to say “fuck you” to any situation that involves money. Boss nagging you? Fuck you, I don’t need this job — I have money.
This is where my idea of “fuck you” strength (strength-tolerance) comes from.
A lot of people caught in a maximal strength rat race, which, as we defined, is like constantly carving a new ceiling and focusing your efforts on the ceiling. This is increasing the maximum.
Increasing your Power Level.
“Fuck you” strength is about increasing the minimum.
In other words, you build a higher floor.
“Fuck you” strength is the point at which you can express a certain level of strength with absolute ease.
If you’ve ever watched Dragon Ball Z, then you’ll know of this story.
In prep for the fight against Cell, Goku and Gohan go into the hyberbolic time chamber. While inside they have a funky idea: transforming into a Super Saiyan is rough business, and too much energy is lost in the transformation itself.
Learn how to stay in Super Saiyan all the time. That way, the mondo amount of energy loss doesn’t happen.
Most everyone in the show tries to continually push their ceiling — it’s all about pushing the maximum. You have a certain absolute power level and it’s all about moving up.
Go Super Saiyan 1, then Super Saiyan 2, then Super Saiyan 3…
But this hyperbolic strength is a shift. Instead of constantly trying to increase your power level, think about whether it might be worth it to learn how to train at a higher % of your current max with less emotional investment.
It’s nice to be able to ramp up to a high level, but there’s a difference between being able to do that once in a millennium and once…every day.
Say you’re pounding your head into the wall training near your deadlift max (because you want to get stronger). Your max is 405 pounds. So you’re lifting 315+ pounds on a regular basis.
Adopting a “fuck you” strength mindset might go something like, “How about I train with 225 pounds and make it really easy and light for me to lift?”
A necessity of “fuck you” strength is a higher (daily) training frequency.
This is where strength-tolerance comes from. Basically, you’re able to express a certain level of strength with less and less effort over time, so it doesn’t stress you out a lot. Meaning you can come back tomorrow and do it again. And then again.
The output being that training and expressing a certain capacity becomes a part of you, like most things in life. You don’t think twice about walking up steps every day. You don’t have to “recover” from your walk up the steps. Why do you have to “recover” after a deadlift or a squat, then?
Like endurance, your “fuck you” strength depends on your maximal strength. But, also like endurance, there’s a point when you’re “strong enough” and you can work on it specifically.