T Nation

Strength Gains with a Heavy Labor Job


#1

Jim,
This question is gonna sound stupid because it probably is, but i'd like to ask it for the fuck of it. I was wondering if you think that strength gains could be hindered due to a taxing labor job. I do concrete and masonry, and most days will spend 8 to 10 hours jackhammering, swinging a sledgehammer, hand loading and finishing concrete, shoveling stone and wheeling. Even if I come home dog tired I can still get a good session in because, lets face it, anyone with half a dick can train when they're tired. But do you think that this could be taxing enough on my body to prevent me from getting as strong as I could be? This could merely be me hitting a plateau, but I haven't seen significant strength gains in alittle while now. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks Jim. And thanks for a program that has stripped away everything that is worthless.

 -Brian

#2

I’m in a simmilar situation as you, I also have a labour intensive job I’m a ironworker(rebar). I’ve found that I have to make sure I give myself extra recovery time when I need it, eat everything in sight and skip out on conditioning when I get enough at work. I don’t know how long you’ve been in your trade or trained for but over time your body should adapt to the extra volume as long as you stick to your guns.


#3

According to George Hackenschmidt you are probably better of having a manual labour job than a desk job when it comes to strength training. I have never seen a cock strong accountant or doctor in all my days. Most contractors are though… I don’t think it will hinder anything, its probably an advantage.


#4

Might need some more food and rest.


#5

in my experience it depends on the day. I’m currently in the same boat as you working long days that are physically demanding. My job is my conditioning. This past summer I’ve worked a 17hour day, felt good and hit a deadlift pr. I’ve also worked less hours but just as demanding, felt like shit, and performed like shit in the gym. the week before last I was working outside in the rain for 12 hours, had a fever, went to the gym and hit a 30lb squat pr. My advice would be play it by how you feel, If you’re properly fed and feel great after a long and hard day, go for it. If you feel like shit just be smart about it, either do your minimum or take a day off.
as for your stalling, just dial back your maxes as stated.


#6

yeah more than likely im probably just plateaued right now. ill just have to know when to take an extra day off if my body is beat up. maybe up the food intake a bit as well.


#7

[quote]SolRosenburg wrote:
Jim,
This question is gonna sound stupid because it probably is, but i’d like to ask it for the fuck of it. I was wondering if you think that strength gains could be hindered due to a taxing labor job. I do concrete and masonry, and most days will spend 8 to 10 hours jackhammering, swinging a sledgehammer, hand loading and finishing concrete, shoveling stone and wheeling. Even if I come home dog tired I can still get a good session in because, lets face it, anyone with half a dick can train when they’re tired. But do you think that this could be taxing enough on my body to prevent me from getting as strong as I could be? This could merely be me hitting a plateau, but I haven’t seen significant strength gains in alittle while now. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks Jim. And thanks for a program that has stripped away everything that is worthless.

 -Brian[/quote]

Sure they can - but what are you going to do? This is your reality so make it work. Don’t make the best of it, make it work.

Train smarter, eat bigger. You are going to have to find what is optimal but can tell you this - it won’t be what is optimal for others.


#8

I’ve recently started something similar, though not quite so taxing. The only thing i would add to Jim’s post is: PATIENCE.

It’s going to take time for your shit to get used to all this. Train twice a week if you have to, and get some quality lifting in, eventually you’ll adapt to it. John Broz has a good piece on this sort of thing:

"If you got a job as a garbage man and had to pick up heavy cans all day long, the first day would probably be very difficult, possibly almost impossible for some to complete. So what do you do, take three days off and possibly lose your job?

No, you’d take your sore, beaten self to work the next day. You’d mope around and be fatigued, much less energetic than the previous day, but you’d make yourself get through it. Then you’d get home, soak in the tub, take aspirin, etc. The next day would be even worse.

But eventually you’d be running down the street tossing cans around and joking with your coworkers. How did this happen? You forced your body to adapt to the job at hand! If you can’t’ squat and lift heavy every day you’re not overtrained, you’re undertrained! Could a random person off the street come to the gym with you and do your exact workout? Probably not, because they’re undertrained. Same goes with most lifters when compared to elite athletes."


#9

Will strength gains be hindered by your job? There’s one way to find out. You’re going to have to figure it out yourself.


#10

good shit, thanks Jim.