Natural Strength Training

"The task of the philosopher is to create conditions that require stronger men who for their part need, and consequently will have, a morality that makes them strong."

Nietzsche, The Will to Power

Welcome to Full Range Strength, home of complete strength training for the whole person. 

Full Range Strength development includes developing complete personal strength, including the following:

  • Musculo-skeletal strength through evidence-based full range strength, mobility and flexibility training.
  • Physiological strength through grounding (sometimes called "earthing"), natural deep breathing, and cultivating cold tolerance.
  • Nutritional strength through a nutrient-dense ancestral diet
  • Mental and moral strength through natural philosophy and natural science.
  • Spiritual strength through alignment with Nature and Its Divine forces.
  • Familial and tribal strength through cultivating right relationships.
  • Economic strength through frugal living, resource conservation, self-employment and ultimately economic autonomy.

Sensible Physical Strength Training

Whatever your age, whether you are male or female, if you are a genetically typical individual, sometimes called a 'hard gainer,' and you have limited time and funds for investment in physical training, but you want to develop your full potential for strength and flexibility, Full Range Strength is for you. Most of the strength and flexibility training guidance you find in magazines and online is provided by individuals who have extraordinary genetic endowments and may use steroids.  Their training advice may not help the genetically average individual realize his or her full potential.

Full Range Strength Training

Trust Your True Nature For Extraordinary Results

You are by Nature a hunter-gatherer. Through evolution by natural selection, Nature created a human species capable of strength far beyond what most modern individuals realize.  The following account taken from the book The Paleolithic Prescription by S. Boyd Eaton, Melvin Konner and Marjorie Shostak gives us some idea of the degree of muscular strength had by a natural man.

In 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition witnessed an Indian bison kill ….A small herd was stampeded over a cliff into a deep, broad ravine.  As the bison fell one on top of the other, dazed and injured, hunters killed those on top with spears; the others were crushed and suffocated underneath.  The ravine was twelve feet wide and eight feet deep; most of the bulls weighed over a ton, yet a team of five Indian hunters pulled nearly all the bison out of the ravine onto level ground for butchering.

Since a mature bison weighed about 2000 pounds, and a team of five natives could lift each animal out of the ravine, each hunter had the ability to lift and carry a load of at least 400 pounds on his own over a short distance.  This story shows how the natural environment and food quest of our ancestors favored the survival and reproduction of people who could develop and maintain high levels of strength and corresponding muscular development. 

In contrast, if you randomly take any five modern males in the age range of twenty to fifty years, you will not likely find even one that can deadlift 400 pounds, let alone five.  Modern people lack strength (physical, mental, and spiritual) and consequently, also lack the corresponding muscular and bone development that is their birthright.

Through millions of years of evolution, human physiology adapted to the demands imposed upon it by the activities humans engaged in to procure food.  Consequently, you will get the best results from strength training if your program design requires you to exert your strength in a fashion that imposes demands similar to those encountered by our hunting ancestors, scaled to your own immediate level of ability, while also respecting the limits of your true nature.

The Chinese philosophy called Taoism by Western scholars is dedicated to learning how Nature works and how humans can align their thoughts and actions with Nature to enhance their health, fitness and longevity. Taoists observed that we can increase our own vitality and strength by aligning with Nature, the way that a surfer aligns with waves. One of the main texts of Taoism is the Tao Te Ching or Classic of the Way and Virtue attributed to Lao Tzu.

Chapter 29 of the Tao Te Ching observes:

Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.

So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness;
Sometimes one is up and sometimes down.

Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excesses, and complacency.

Like the whole of Nature, your body is a biological system with its own cycles and rhythms. It can't be forced to change; rather, you must trust and align with your true nature in order to coax it to realization of your full potential. As Francis Bacon observed: "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."

I learned the hard way to apply this philosophy to training.

Over the years I have injured my shoulders, knees and hips/lower back many times while lifting weights, barbell strength training, practicing martial arts or engaging in other physical activities. By the time I reached my late 40s, I was re-injuring myself so frequently that I was unable to make consistent progress in weight training. I thought I was going to have to give up barbell training forever. I needed to find a new way of training.

My search for a solution led me to gymnastic strength training, also known as calisthenics training.  Gymnastic strength training includes various mobility and flexibility training methods for correcting mobility deficits and muscle imbalances that can make one susceptible to repeated injuries when training with barbells or resistance machines. In addition you aim to achieve some impressive skills, including handstands, levers and planche. 

In 2013 I started my gymnastic strength training journey and quest for mastery of basic gymnastic strength skills.  When I first started I had shoulder and pelvic girdle limitations and imbalances due to repeated injuries, and couldn't do some basic bodyweight movements properly.  Full pike and bridge positions were out of the question. I had back, knee, shoulder and elbow issues. It took me 4 years to correct some of the imbalances in my shoulders, waist, lower back and hips sufficiently to make practice of basic gymnastic skills like handstands sustainable.

I created all of these limitations by trying to force my body to rapidly change by subjecting it to high intensity, brutally hard training when I was young and didn't know better. 

As Chapter 30 of the Tao Te Ching observes:

Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
For this would only cause resistance.

If as the ruler of your body you try to force it to change, it will resist and you will fail.  You have to trust and align with your true nature in order to achieve your goals. To do this you need to cultivate mindfulness and a Taoist approach to your training.  In Building the Gymnastic Body, Coach Christopher Sommer encapsulates the Full Range Strength Training Philosophy:

"Remember, 'Make haste, slowly.' The body improves on its own biological schedule. If you listen to your body carefully and respect its limitations, while challenging it appropriately, you will be able to enjoy an almost completely pain-free and injury-free training experience, and while continuing to make excellent gains in strength."

Full Range Strength and Flexibility Training is a method of developing your full strength and flexibility potential by route of mindfulness, self-respect and trusting your true nature.

When you embrace and trust your true nature, and train and eat in ways that resonate with your evolved biology, you will reach heights of accomplishment you never thought possible.