We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I am no expert, so take with two grains of salt - it is just what I have learned. This is regarding maintaining recreational fitness, ie "Ordinary Fitness for Life" - not serious athletic training or serious muscle-building.
Below average = "weak." Nobody, male or female, wants to be weak or below average. Average is good for a starting target or even an endpoint (Average fitness is my personal endpoint). This isn't about body-building but just about maintaining good, versatile functionality in youth, or later despite aging. These things are not a complete fitness program by any means, just a few rough indices of average American decent fitness because they involve so much of one's physicality.
- Fitnessentails, requires, not being fat.Nobody needs a silly BMIto know when they have unpleasant and unnecessary flab.You can feel itwith your hands.Lard slows us down with everything in life because our hearts are forced to pump blood though itwhen we have other things to do.It's dietary.
- An average fit woman can expect to deadlift 100 percent of her body weight. Average fit males can deadlift roughly 150 percent of their body weight.
- Barbell squats for leg and core strength are roughly the same as above. (For me now, three sets of 25 deep squats without weights is challenging, and torture with plain kettlebells or clasping a heavy ball. I like to do squats combined with light dumbbell military lifts. A full-body engagement but not stressful enough for my fitness trainer who considers it an exercise for nursing homes. I doubt that I will ever get to dumbell squats, but who knows? I may die first.)
- The average fit male should eventually be able to bench press 1 x body weight for a solid set - or at least once. Average fit female can press around 80-100 lbs. They say it's good for boob-fitness too.
- For push-ups, the average fit male can do 25-40. The average fit female can do 20-25 knee-push-ups. (Many exercise trainers feel knee pushups for women are worthless). Push-ups are about muscle endurance, not so much strength. Lots of people do them as part of their morning or bedtime rituals. (I have trouble doing them due to an old right shoulder injury - once body surfing, and again skiing, and then I totally destroyed it for good doing flies. Every middle-aged person has a handicap or two if they have lived life off the chair or sofa, but it's no reason to give up on vigor)
- An average fit person can run a mile in ten minutes or less without dying.
- Elbow Planks - A core exercise. Fit men and women can do 2 minutes or more. My boss puts weight plates on my back to save time. Sheesh. More weight, dude. I can do it. Why not just jump on my back? Sweat drips. I alternate with push-up-style planks and sometimes with one-handed planks.
Physical conditioning is humbling for the middle-aged. Age, joint issues, and body type alter things, eg short people with short arms have shorter and thus larger muscles and can naturally bench more than lanky people - and often average people over 55 need lowered expectations.
In the end, I guess you use good form, do what you can do, and build up from there without obsessing about the numbers as long as they improve. As I said, conditioning is not all resistance, but without rigorous muscle work you can't do all of the other exercises to the max, or all of life as vigorously as one might like. The goal is to maximize ordinary life and your ordinary recreational sports. I assume most of our interested readers do some sports, but perhaps not. Exercise is for life utility. If your day job is physical, lucky you. All of our day jobs were physical a generation or two or three ago, females included.
All good exercises, the best being the three basic power lifting moves: squat, deadlift and bench. Even though I never came close to competing, my cousin and I worked out in a powerlifting gym, where they didn't have all the isolation machines.
TrainerSteve, here in CT, uses these, but boils the essential core moves down to a few kettle bell moves: the Turkish get-up and the swing, both done "hard style."
The one thing all these moves share is forcing your body to learn to balance and adapt, which machines can not do.
I was trying one-leg deadlifts with a 35 lb kb last week, and darn if I couldn't feel the burn in my arches! You never know how much of your body is affected by these simple core exercises until you try!