A Strength Experiment

Categories: Blog Jan 10, 2022


In 2015, I tried a strength experiment. Really, it was a step of faith. I decided to use walking as my main strength training regimen. The couple of years prior to that I had used crawling as my main strength training regimen with amazing results. I actually walked away from weight training, or I crawled away, to see what would happen if I crawled every day. The results? I became stronger and healthier than I’d ever been. 

Anyway, in 2015, I took another step of faith. I reasoned if crawling was the foundation of the gait pattern, then walking must also be the movement that would make, or keep, my body strong. So, for a year, I actually completely stopped crawling and I focused on walking and breathing. Occasionally I did calisthenics (bodyweight squats, pushups, pull-ups, etc), but the meat and focus of my daily movement plan was walking. 

I focused on two things when I walked: my breathing and my arm swing. I always walked with my lips shut, forcing every breath to be a nasal breath. I also focused on my arm swing, ensuring that the swing of my shoulders was matching the swing of my hips, as is the gait design. Most of the time, I did this with just my body. Sometimes I would walk with one-pound Indian Clubs in my hands to enhance the arm swing and other times I would wear a “light” ruck sack with about 25 pounds in it. This added load to my gait pattern and also forced my anterior chain to reflexively respond to the weight on my back, making my abdominals stronger. Even while wearing the pack though, I was nasal breathing and swinging my arms. 

Again, I did this for about a year. Every day, I would walk for 40 to 60 minutes, sometimes all at once, sometimes I would break it up into two to four brisk walks. I did not train with weights and I did not crawl. The only other thing I did, and this may have been the golden ticket, was that I believed walking would keep me strong. In other words, I believed in what I was doing. 

It worked. And this is how I know it worked…

One day I was in my training studio and for some reason I decided to try a barbell Turkish Getup. I put some weight on a 45-pound barbell, laid down on the floor, held the barbell up in my right arm, sat up with it over my head, and then I stood up with the bar held over my head. It was easy. I laid down with it, switched arms, and did it again. It probably wasn’t more than 80 pounds, but it felt so easy. Then I had this thought pop into my head, “I’ll bet you can do 135 pounds.” 

What? 

I hadn’t been weight training and I certainly hadn’t been training with Turkish Getups for more than a year. I hadn’t even been crawling. I walked. Doing a Turkish Getup with 135-pound barbell seemed ludicrous. At the time I only weighed about 160 pounds. But, the thought excited me. What if I could do it?  

What if? 

The thought said I could. 

So I tried it. 

I made the bar weigh 135 pounds. I laid down on my back, hoisted it up over my head, sat up, got to my knee, then stood up with the bar over my head. Then I laid down with the bar and put it on the ground. Then I thought, “Wow! I wonder if I can do that with my left hand?”

So I did. I switched arms, hoisted the bar over my head, and stood up with it in my left hand. 

Here’s a video of that moment. This really did happen: “135 Pound Get-up on Both Sides”

https://youtu.be/IpZARHSBN6I

I breathed. I walked. I believed. 

And I was strong in body, in mind, in spirit. The getup was just an expression of that strength. 

For a year I truly lived as I was designed. What resulted was the strength I was designed to have. 

To be honest, lately, I have forgotten this design. Maybe it’s Covid. Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s fear. Regardless, I have not fully engaged in my design. I still breathe. I still walk. But I’ve been having trouble believing. I’ve fallen short there. I’ve even been believing in reverse with worry and doubt. All of that changes today. 

From now on, I’m going back to my design to get back to my strength: I will breathe. I will walk. I will believe. 

This is the foundation of our strength. We are made to breathe and step out in faith.  


Comments (13)

  1. Gareth:
    Jan 10, 2022 at 12:23 PM

    Tim, great article. Have a good day. Gareth

    Reply

  2. walt:
    Jan 10, 2022 at 01:40 PM

    Some years back I read a book titled Natural Healing With Qigong, by Dr. Aihan Kuhn. She had come to this country from China, and now runs a clinic in Florida. In the introductory part of the book, she was explaining the various ins and outs of the affects of Qigong, and included this statement: "You will not achieve good results if you do not believe in Qigong. If you do not believe in something, you should not do it because it will not work."

    This would indicate that a key ingredient in a practice is the concurrent injection of doses of belief, or "faith" in what we're doing. That sort of idea makes sense, but is easy to lose sight of -- we have to re-mind ourselves! Be sure to post a follow-up about your results.

    Reply

    1. Tim Anderson:
      Jan 10, 2022 at 03:15 PM

      Thanks so much, Walt! Great insight! I will post the follow up, thank you.

      Reply

  3. Mart:
    Jan 10, 2022 at 02:36 PM

    Thanks for sharing. Are you also still practicing Systema?

    Reply

    1. Tim Anderson:
      Jan 10, 2022 at 03:16 PM

      Yessir, I am still practicing. Mostly with myself, but I plan to continue on for a while to see where it leads.

      Reply

  4. Ginny Scaduto:
    Jan 10, 2022 at 02:49 PM

    Hey Tim, amazing story and I love the video! Maintaining the magic of a strong belief system is the foundation of success but unfortunately most people are at war with their bodies. I try to teach this with everyone I train so thanks for the dose of inspiration!

    Reply

    1. Tim Anderson:
      Jan 10, 2022 at 03:16 PM

      "Maintaining the magic of a strong belief system..." I LOVE it!

      Reply

  5. Paul:
    Jan 10, 2022 at 03:09 PM

    That is amazing Tim I've never seen that video I keep going back though the back list I love the channel I do the rocking and now do the rocking push ups my back does feel better not as tight oh yeah love the bod casts as well thank you for your time and consideration love Paul from England

    Reply

    1. Tim Anderson:
      Jan 10, 2022 at 03:17 PM

      Paul, So glad to hear your back is feeling better and that the videos and BodCasts are useful to you!

      Reply

  6. Brandon:
    Jan 10, 2022 at 05:15 PM

    Tim, you're the best thing in fitness. Great work as usual. ????????

    Reply

    1. Tim Anderson:
      Jan 10, 2022 at 08:28 PM

      Thanks for the encouragement, Brandon!

      Reply

  7. TH:
    Jan 10, 2022 at 08:51 PM

    Very intriguing. I also have a similar experience with doing a summer of rucking and hiking, then being able to easily do a TGU with a kettlebell that was previously very heavy. What do you think is the cause from a physiological point of view?

    Also, would you mind sharing more info on your crawling experiment? As in some general pointers on how much, how often, what kind of external resistance did you use? I have been thinking about doing a similar experiment with doing nothing but crawling and carries, maybe you could share some tips if you like?

    Thanks in advance,

    Timo

    Reply

  8. Dave:
    Jan 15, 2022 at 01:30 PM

    With great joy ,inspiration and growing confidence in your seemingly litany of superlative writings I could not finish the YouTube aka MARXTUBE video comment,puns, political narritaves and pro America diatribe much intended I nor any reasonable doubts you've impressedme once again again. Suffice to say hell yes and damn right I fully concur. In fact with my old fat ass I simply grab the most holy rosary,a dip of snuff and in case of a fortutios meeting female species gum and walk

    Reply


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