No, I’m not talking about the progressive rock band. (I’m actually a fan and just had the opportunity to see them live for the first time a couple months ago. Really looking forward to the new album coming out tomorrow too.)
What I’m talking about is strength training tools.
And here I mean agnostic in the sense of determining if there is a “best” tool for becoming strong and fit.
Anyone that tells you such as thing is lying to you (and possibly to themselves).
Take it from me as someone who personally fell into that trap for a couple years long ago. Back then, I thought that bodyweight training was the end-all, be-all of training and anything else was a stupid, dangerous waste of time.
Of course, some tools are better than others.
Compare a barbell to a shake weight!
We can even get ridiculous; in case the shake weight isn’t ridiculous enough. A spoon is a useful tool…but for eating not for building strength.
So just limiting it to some of the top training tools you have things like bodyweight, kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, cables, leverage tools, etc.
Among these, each object has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The trick is understanding those and then using them appropriately.
You can use a barbell as a conditioning tool. There are valid ways of doing so. But ultimately, its advantage is in doing high levels, even max levels of strength work.
It’s funny. In carpentry, you would never watch someone trying to pound a nail in with a screwdriver or a wrench. Nope, they’d use a hammer instead. And yet this is what some people do in fitness! (Normal curls with kettlebells for example.)
So let’s look at tools in relation to programming.
Should your program be built around a tool?
Only insofar as you are limited to such tools, or they align to your goals.
In other words, should you use kettlebells? Only if you have them and if their use is going to get you to where you want to go.
Should you swing a sledgehammer?
Should you do bodyweight exercises?
Well, the first part of the answer is true for all, so then it comes all down to the second part.
In other words, the tool is not the ultimate determiner of what you should be doing. To build a program, there are much more important elements.
Want to know what those are? September’s Strength Health Mind Power Inner Circle newsletter is deep dive on the subject of building a program or routine.
If you’re not a member you can sign up here.
And if you don’t want to figure out a program for yourself, let me suggest The 80/20 Strength Challenge. It’s mostly bodyweight (because I know everyone has that available) and builds a very good base of strength. Even just doing that, you’ll likely learn a thing or two about program design that works.