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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: DougStache on February 27, 2014, 05:48:11 PM

Title: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: DougStache on February 27, 2014, 05:48:11 PM
In the spirit of Jacob over at Early Retirement Extreme (http://earlyretirementextreme.com/day-7-going-car-free.html), I'd like to start a list of physical activities a healthy homo sapien should be able to perform.  I'm sure many can (and will!) argue with this benchmark, but let's use it as a starting point.

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I am not especially talented in the physical department, yet I would consider it normal to, without preparation and prior training other than your daily commute, to be able to run 10 miles, walk 30 miles, and bike 50 miles.

The major downfall of Jacob's list is that it only includes cardio/endurance activities, and this would lead to a very weak upper body. (http://s3.amazonaws.com/theoatmeal-img/comics/running/running2_21vanity.png)  I would like to expand upon this list, but keep it to more "primitive" things if possible.  For example, rather than bench your body weight (this requires gear), do 100 pushups.  One other amendment I'd like to make is that rather than these being "without preparation", I would prefer them to be "a constant state of fitness, not a peak".

Please, help me expand upon this list, or suggest adjustments where it may be unrealistic in either direction.

A healthy homo sapien should be able to:
ORIGINAL LIST:

UPDATED LIST:
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: beltim on February 27, 2014, 05:56:53 PM
Are these all to be done without stopping?
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Russ on February 27, 2014, 06:11:00 PM
PHILOSOPHY TIME

one item:
the capability for their body/mind to support anything they want to do. I wouldn't even say "need", since that comes off to me as a little too SHTF/prepperesque, and those people will "want" that capability on their own.

obviously that list is going to be different for everybody. some people are never going to want to walk 30 miles. some people are never going to want to lift heavy things. not much sense IMO in me prescribing my list to everybody else.

not that I even have one
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: DougStache on February 27, 2014, 06:12:59 PM
Are these all to be done without stopping?
No, this is not a pentathlon.  ;)
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Paul der Krake on February 27, 2014, 06:26:56 PM
Swim one mile without drowning.
10 pull ups maybe?

Arguably, there should be a speed component to running. There is a huge difference in fitness in say, running a 10K in 60 minutes vs 45 minutes.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Nords on February 27, 2014, 06:35:09 PM
A healthy homo sapien should be able to:
  • Run 10 miles
  • Walk 30 miles
  • Bike 50 miles
  • Complete 100 pushups within five minutes
  • Hold a plank for 3(?) minutes
Speaking as a healthy 53-year-old who's been Navy fit for his entire life:  you're gonna have to break this down by age categories.

I'm capable of doing all of those things right now, and I could probably finish them between breakfasts, but the price of physical recovery would be hellacious.

Our dojang's black belt qualification test is 100 pushups in two minutes, and 100 situps in two minutes (separate events).  Those requirements were independent of age.  The two-mile run varies from an eight-minute mile pace for the teens to ten-minute miles for us geezers.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Dr. Doom on February 27, 2014, 06:46:46 PM
  • Run 10 miles
  • Walk 30 miles
  • Bike 50 miles
  • Complete 100 pushups within five minutes
  • Hold a plank for 3(?) minutes

So I'm a pretty healthy guy -- I work out 6 out of 7 days a week for a min. of 45 minutes, heavy sweating, no excuses -- but parts of this list skew toward "Extreme Fitness" and away from "healthy."

If I have to exercise and also go to work for the day, then halving the above cardio goals seems about right, e.g. run 5 miles, bike 25.  Otherwise I won't be doing much at the office.  If pressed, like survival was at stake, I could do any of the above, but it'd be a struggle and I wouldn't enjoy doing routines like that on a regular basis.

To measure "health" i.e. reasonable fitness, rather than extreme fitness, I'd halve all of the above goals.   Also agree with comments about intensity and age adjustments.

+1 on Paul's pull-up comment.  Highly underrated exercise, like squats for your upper body.  10 is about right for health. 

You could also add burpees, which are pretty rough.  Doing 100 in one session is brutal.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: prodarwin on February 27, 2014, 06:57:17 PM
10 pullups
Body weight bench press x 5

Stats for females would be different I'd guess.

Side note:  I did see a girl knock out ~19 pullups at the Tough Mudder I went to a few months back.  It was hot
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: sheepstache on February 27, 2014, 07:07:08 PM
Perhaps ability to deadlift a certain percentage of body weight?

Mostly I just wanted to chime in to agree philosophically with this idea.  I am certainly not athletic but sometimes it feels like getting to my thirties without becoming overweight or suffering any injuries has put me in the top echelons of physical capability.  "You walk twenty blocks to work??"  Or the fact that my job is fairly physically easy but we get given jurisdiction over a lot of things because apparently most people are "unsafe at any speed" when it comes to walking over obstacles, lifting anything over ten pounds, climbing a ladder, etc.

I am all for making accommodations for the handicapped, but it seems like we now need to baby-proof the entire world.

One of my pet peeves is the philosophy that people are at their physical peak in high school.  I think the majority of people are "late bloomers" who develop their coordination and/or strength later.  However, by that time, they have decided they lack physical prowess and/or that physical activity is punishment. 
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: DougStache on February 27, 2014, 08:29:49 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone.  Being a moderately healthy 28 year old, I naively disregarded the age aspect.  I'm going to make this list for someone who is ~30 and halve the values as suggested.  If there is a wide variety of activities on the list, I think halving it makes a lot of sense.  What other exercises/benchmarks could be added?


Mostly I just wanted to chime in to agree philosophically with this idea.  I am certainly not athletic but sometimes it feels like getting to my thirties without becoming overweight or suffering any injuries has put me in the top echelons of physical capability.  "You walk twenty blocks to work??"  Or the fact that my job is fairly physically easy but we get given jurisdiction over a lot of things because apparently most people are "unsafe at any speed" when it comes to walking over obstacles, lifting anything over ten pounds, climbing a ladder, etc.
This is one of the main reasons I'm constructing this list.  Your point is very true, especially in office jobs.  People at work cannot imagine the fact that I bike 9 miles each way to work, because their life consists of sitting and walking to their car, but I think nothing of it.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: prodarwin on February 27, 2014, 08:42:06 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/LAlt8.jpg)

The pullup # is scary.  For every one of us that can do 20 pullups there are 20 people who can't do one?  And for everyone who can do 10, there are 10 more people who can't do one?

It takes a lot to bring the average down to just 1.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: horsepoor on February 27, 2014, 08:55:27 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone.  Being a moderately healthy 28 year old, I naively disregarded the age aspect.  I'm going to make this list for someone who is ~30 and halve the values as suggested.  If there is a wide variety of activities on the list, I think halving it makes a lot of sense.  What other exercises/benchmarks could be added?

  • Run 5 miles in 45 minutes
  • Walk 15 miles
  • Bike 25 miles
  • Swim 1 mile
  • Complete 50 pushups within five minutes
  • Hold a plank for 2 minutes (I'm advocating planks over sit ups; sit ups destroy your back)
  • Perform 10 pull ups (no kipping!)
  • Bench Press Bodyweight x5
[/b]
[/list]

Mostly I just wanted to chime in to agree philosophically with this idea.  I am certainly not athletic but sometimes it feels like getting to my thirties without becoming overweight or suffering any injuries has put me in the top echelons of physical capability.  "You walk twenty blocks to work??"  Or the fact that my job is fairly physically easy but we get given jurisdiction over a lot of things because apparently most people are "unsafe at any speed" when it comes to walking over obstacles, lifting anything over ten pounds, climbing a ladder, etc.
This is one of the main reasons I'm constructing this list.  Your point is very true, especially in office jobs.  People at work cannot imagine the fact that I bike 9 miles each way to work, because their life consists of sitting and walking to their car, but I think nothing of it.

I think the strength measures need to be adjusted for gender, as well as age.  I can deadlift 110% of my bodyweight, but my bench press is paltry, like maybe 75# (I usually do other exercises rather than strict bench), can't do unassisted pullups, and strict pushups are really difficult.  And I'm doing a dumbbell row with 40#, which is way more than I see most other women in the gym touch, ever.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Little Nell on February 27, 2014, 09:24:24 PM
homo sapiens is the the way to write it. There is no such word as sapien.

I was told by a professor that everyone should, in their lifetime, build a wall, write a book, raise a child. YMMV.

Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Jamesqf on February 27, 2014, 09:26:16 PM
I don't think you're going to get one list that fits all, because even healthy people's bodies vary too much.  As for instance, I probably could walk until I fell asleep (especially on fairly level ground), and bike until my butt got sore, but my running is limited to trotting maybe half a mile with the horse at a time.  (In large part because when I'm not with the horse, I'm carrying a pack with water, dog bowl, extra layers of clothing, &c, and I've never found one that doesn't bounce uncomfortably when I run.)

Likewise, when I get back to having two arms that can bear weight, I could probably do the pushups & planks, but I simply can't do a standard situp: shoulders are too heavy, and legs too short, so I wind up doing ab crunches instead.  And distance swimming is hard for me: where most people float, I sink.

Quote
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: limeandpepper on February 27, 2014, 09:40:55 PM
Yeah, different people have different abilities. I also noticed that this list seems to focus on strength and stamina, but nothing about flexibility. For example, I have a tough time with traditional pushups, but find full back bridge pushups much easier, whereas other people might have the opposite experience. I can also do the splits and I think cartwheels are easy and fun, but someone else might struggle with those, while breezing through some things that I find more difficult. I notice this a lot in my martial arts class. If we do a certain exercise you may think one person is much fitter and more capable than the others, but then we start training something else and it's another person's time to shine.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: dragoncar on February 27, 2014, 09:48:15 PM
Read some more ERE: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/attaining-the-right-weight.html

Quote
So what is the “right weight”. It is whatever weight where you can do the following. Suppose you’re a guy and weighs 175lbs. Then I think you should be able to lift a total of 5000 pounds from the ground to overhead (no need to floor or deadhang it, just move the weight from somewhere under your knees to a 0.1 second lockout) in ten minutes. That’s like 50 reps of 100lbs. I would consider that decent. If you can do 10000lbs I would consider that amazing (you’re a better man than I then). If you weigh more, just scale linearly e.g. 200lbs turns into 200/175*5000=5714lbs. Women on a weight to weight basis should reduce this by about 25% for physiological reasons (different body compositions), so if you’re a 130lbs woman, the number is 5000*130/175*(1-0.25)= 2785lbs from the ground to overhead in 10 minutes.

That said, I certainly couldn't run for an hour without stopping (10 miles would be at least that long for most people)
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: arebelspy on February 27, 2014, 09:55:57 PM
+1 to all those saying it depends on the person.

I think Russ summed it up perfectly:
PHILOSOPHY TIME

one item:
the capability for their body/mind to support anything they want to do. I wouldn't even say "need", since that comes off to me as a little too SHTF/prepperesque, and those people will "want" that capability on their own.

obviously that list is going to be different for everybody. some people are never going to want to walk 30 miles. some people are never going to want to lift heavy things. not much sense IMO in me prescribing my list to everybody else.

not that I even have one

Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: fadedsunrise on February 27, 2014, 10:32:09 PM
As a female martial arts student, my goals are this:
1. full side splits
2. full front splits, both sides
3. deadlift 100% bodyweight
4. squat 100% bodyweight
5. at least 1 actual pullup

Unfortunately, I seem to have the hardest time with pullups. My upper body just seems to keep shrinking the more I workout, whereas I'm getting to somewhere like 75% of bodyweight for both lower body exercises. I am 85% to one front split, but barely past 50 on the other two flexibility exercises.

Like all things, I guess I'm just deficient.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Tacosrocket on February 27, 2014, 10:41:17 PM
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will go its whole life believing it is stupid.

I can't even imagine mustering up the desire to bike 25 miles, forget doing it. I could work for 10 and be satisfied, maybe. You don't need to be competitive in order to be happy with the shape you're in.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: beltim on February 28, 2014, 12:03:38 AM
Are these all to be done without stopping?
No, this is not a pentathlon.  ;)

Nice.  No, I meant - for example - running 10 miles without stopping to walk.  If so, I think these are over the top goals.  A healthy human should probably be able to do one of those, but not all.

 As an example, consider varsity athletes (high school or college).  These are probably the healthiest people out there, and yet very few could run 10 miles without stopping.  Even when I was in top form for soccer, and could play a 90 minute game without a sub, I'm pretty sure I could never run 10 miles at a time.  The only people I know who can ran cross country, or now run for fun.  That's great for them, but pointless for everyone else.  And 100 push-ups are great, but I think the only people I know who could do that in two minutes or so were (male) gymnasts.  I've known a number of elite female gymnasts, and at most one could do 100 push-ups at a time.  If this measure doesn't work for essentially half of humans, it can't be a very good measure of what a healthy person can do.

If otherwise very healthy athletes can't do most of these, I don't think they're good measures of activities that healthy humans should be able to do.  I'm not sure what the lines should be, but they need to include people generally acknowledged as healthy.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: galliver on February 28, 2014, 12:17:47 AM
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?

I don't hike as often as I'd like but my bf and I walked about 14-15 miles along the Chicago lakefront last September (flat, but on concrete), and then did a 14-15 mile hike just before New Years in California (not sure what the elevation change was, but it was 6 miles steeply uphill to start), and both times definitely started to hurt at the end. Now, we aren't in the best shape we could be, but I do go to the gym a couple times a week typically, to run, swim, rock climb, and/or work with a personal trainer. I'm nowhere near an athlete and I have some extra pounds, but I'm not a blob.

In high school, when I wasn't an athlete either, but I did hike more regularly (typically in the 5-10 mile range), I did the Purdue Outing Club Adventure Race with my mom and two of her friends. One of whom was in excellent shape. The race course is ~48 miles as the crow flies. You probably cover more like 50-60 over 48 hours with minimal sleep. By the end of that ALL of our quadriceps were shot and we were literally hobbling. I was fine 2 maybe 3 days later; fit friend was probably fine the next day.

I think, and I'm not an expert on anatomy by any stretch, that after a few hours of exercise, unless you exercise that long on a regular basis, you hit a wall on your muscular endurance. Just because you can run for 1-1.5 hr or bike for 4 doesn't mean you can walk for 8-10 without repercussions...am I wrong?
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: galliver on February 28, 2014, 12:34:37 AM
For the record, I would put it like this. A healthy teenage to middle age person should be able to:

-Jog 2 miles continuously at their own pace (less than 40 mins, because that's walking)
-Walk/hike 5 miles (8 if flat) in under 3 hours
-Move their own stuff up/down a flight of stairs, not including furniture (Lift&carry a U-haul "small box" of books)
-Do 20 sit ups, any style.

This is the lower limit of my perception of 'healthy.' If someone can't do something like this, then either
(a) their longest walk/physical activity is around the grocery store once a week, clearly not healthy
(b) they are physically unwell in some way that interferes, therefore not fitting the 'healthy person' criteria exactly (e.g. asthma makes cardio difficult, I hear).

I think the 10-30-50 criteria are more for someone who is very active and fit.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: dragoncar on February 28, 2014, 02:43:37 AM
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?

I once hiked all day.  Can't remember how many actual miles.  But yes, it hurt.  The blisters more than the muscles.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: greaper007 on February 28, 2014, 03:54:09 AM
For the record, I would put it like this. A healthy teenage to middle age person should be able to:

-Jog 2 miles continuously at their own pace (less than 40 mins, because that's walking)
-Walk/hike 5 miles (8 if flat) in under 3 hours
-Move their own stuff up/down a flight of stairs, not including furniture (Lift&carry a U-haul "small box" of books)
-Do 20 sit ups, any style.

This is the lower limit of my perception of 'healthy.' If someone can't do something like this, then either
(a) their longest walk/physical activity is around the grocery store once a week, clearly not healthy
(b) they are physically unwell in some way that interferes, therefore not fitting the 'healthy person' criteria exactly (e.g. asthma makes cardio difficult, I hear).

I think the 10-30-50 criteria are more for someone who is very active and fit.

Thank you.   I'm in reasonably good shape and could probably bike 50 miles if I tried, I've run half a marathon, but I don't think I've ever walked that far.

Still, I'm not built like a runner or a power lifter.   I'm somewhere in between.    I think I got really lucky not getting an injury when I trained for my half marathon so I (wisely) decided not to train for the full event.

I think things like this list are half of whats wrong with the idea of fitness in America.   We're either grossly obese or obsessed with ridiculously extreme events.    We should strive for something in between.   Aim to be able to carry moderately heavy objects from your house to the car, to be able to walk a reasonable distance, say three miles.   And strive to live an injury free lifestyle.   

The last one is what I take to heart.   My father has had something like 10 surgeries related to sports injuries from his childhood.   He cracked his knee cap in half wrestling in college, and couldn't stop running (he said no other cardio gave him as good as a high) in his 30s and 40s, so he had to have an artificial knee replacement in his early 50s.   His back is screwed up from pulling Gs and having to eject, he had elbow surgery from throwing curve balls too early.   And most of all, he and my uncles are all shorter than me because they cut weight in high school to wrestle in more competitive weight divisions.   

My goal now is to stay in moderately good shape by lifting weights and doing cardio 3-4 days a week.   I think it's working.   I'm 6' 178, I look fine without my shirt on.   Most importantly though, I don't push it and I've never had a sports related injury beyond a sprained ankle (pushed it on a 14er).
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Big Boots Buddha on February 28, 2014, 03:56:54 AM
As a female martial arts student, my goals are this:
1. full side splits
2. full front splits, both sides
3. deadlift 100% bodyweight
4. squat 100% bodyweight
5. at least 1 actual pullup

Unfortunately, I seem to have the hardest time with pullups. My upper body just seems to keep shrinking the more I workout, whereas I'm getting to somewhere like 75% of bodyweight for both lower body exercises. I am 85% to one front split, but barely past 50 on the other two flexibility exercises.

Like all things, I guess I'm just deficient.

The splits thing is pretty cool. I work on my flexibility for squats (my hips are tight) but thats extreme.

Its also such a big difference between men and women with strength I often forget.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: soccerluvof4 on February 28, 2014, 05:38:24 AM
I agree with those that said Age/Gender play an important role in this as well. And everybody had different strengths /weakeness's depending on there body type and muscle twitch.

The one thing I would however incorporate is some kind of Core stuff.  Even something as simple as Burpies. A person should be able to do 25 and the more fit you get you can add a medicine ball. Running stairs for cardio. Shorter intense workouts are better than lolly gagging walking for 30miles.  I do think you should be able to bench your weight ten times for men.  But I would consider as I said some Core stuff besides holding a plank to round out your cardio and strength stuff.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: BPA on February 28, 2014, 05:51:26 AM
Hauling $60 worth of groceries up three flights of stairs.
Cycling 10 km (the furthest store I shop at/place I go regularly) regardless of headwind.
Enough flexibility so that when I'm doing housework/yardwork I'm not grunting.
Sprinting for the bus when necessary.
Running 5k without losing bladder control.
Yay!  I can do those things and hope not to lose them.  Will keep working at it.


And used to be:  pushing two toddlers in a double stroller uphill for 2 km  (up part of the Niagara Escarpment) on our way from the park.  :)
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Russ on February 28, 2014, 06:13:20 AM
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?
not 30, but I did a casual 20 last fall. I took a weekend trip to Chicago via bus to meet a friend, and so the day I came back I walked from our hotel to the bus stop there (4-5 miles), then from the bus stop in Madison back to my apartment out in the sticks (a little over 15). This was carrying a very large, heavy, and not at all ergonomic courier bag, and in a pair of Chucks which are by no means good walking shoes. Felt good enough afterward to ride my bicycle to work the next day. I'm very confident I could do 30 unencumbered without any problem, even though the only exercise I get is my daily bike commute.
Quote
I think, and I'm not an expert on anatomy by any stretch, that after a few hours of exercise, unless you exercise that long on a regular basis, you hit a wall on your muscular endurance. Just because you can run for 1-1.5 hr or bike for 4 doesn't mean you can walk for 8-10 without repercussions...am I wrong?

kinda sorta. there's a wall somewhere, but the intensity of walking is sooooo low that if your regular daily walk isn't noticeably difficult then you can probably do it for a very long time. an endurance limit for running or biking is much more apparent because you're working at least 3-4 times harder. also, much of an endurance limit is mental. recovery is a whole different issue. for example, nords could probably walk 30 miles just as easily as anybody else here, but self-admittedly his recovery time would be a little longer. Once you get into the swing of doing something, it doesn't necessarily hurt until you're stopped for a while.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: GuitarStv on February 28, 2014, 06:23:52 AM
Typically, once a person gets past the "I'm a noob and every kind of exercise works wonders for me" phase of training they specialize in something.  Specializing in strength will limit your ability in cardio training since you will carry more mass on your frame.  Specializing in cardio type training will limit your strength since your body will eat away at your muscle.  With cardio there is also the difference between short bursts of explosive exercise and long regular repetition.  Both of which force different adaptations.  You also have people who specialize in being generalists . . . those who are OK at a bunch of things but excel at none.

None of these adaptations is inherently bad or good.  But it makes it virtually impossible to set any meaningful type of across the board 'exercise standard'.  The best you can aim for is to compare standards for a particular activity broken up by weight, age, and sex.

Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: DougStache on February 28, 2014, 06:46:39 AM
I added the updated list to the original post, since most folks are commenting on the 10-30-50 metrics a lot since they've been amended; I agree, those were quite extreme for a baseline.

As a female martial arts student, my goals are this:
1. full side splits
2. full front splits, both sides
3. deadlift 100% bodyweight
4. squat 100% bodyweight
5. at least 1 actual pullup

Unfortunately, I seem to have the hardest time with pullups. My upper body just seems to keep shrinking the more I workout, whereas I'm getting to somewhere like 75% of bodyweight for both lower body exercises. I am 85% to one front split, but barely past 50 on the other two flexibility exercises.

Like all things, I guess I'm just deficient.
Thank you for bringing up flexibility.  This is one of my personal weak points, something I always overlook, and something I need to work on.  I will add "touching your toes without bending your knees" to the list.

-Move their own stuff up/down a flight of stairs, not including furniture (Lift&carry a U-haul "small box" of books)
This is an awesome "functional" metric.  Adding this to the list.

I think things like this list are half of whats wrong with the idea of fitness in America.   We're either grossly obese or obsessed with ridiculously extreme events.    We should strive for something in between.   
Actually, I am trying to avoid precisely what you are concerned with here.  The updated list (not the original 10-30-50) should much better meet your criteria.  This includes having the ability to: bike across the average town for an errand, explore a city by foot, maintain an elevated heart rate for about an hour, having functional strength and a stable core (this will help prevent injury in day to day tasks like gardening and moving things).

I am not trying to divvy us up into a gold bucket and a brown bucket; really, I am trying to set goals.  For example: running/biking/pull ups come easy to me, however my flexibility is lacking.  Swimming I can do but have to train for.  I probably could not hold a 2 minute plank if I got down on the ground right now.  Although a year ago I could bench my body weight, that's pretty damn unlikely today.  This shows me things that I need to work on, and I'm hoping others can get the same out of it.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Drew on February 28, 2014, 06:49:08 AM
I could do the last half of the updated list without breaking a sweat.  The first half of the list I could probably do each one individually, but I would be dying and sucking wind/puking when I finish.  Do I get extra points for benching my bodyweight for 23 reps? :)
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: arebelspy on February 28, 2014, 07:18:40 AM
I added the updated list to the original post, since most folks are commenting on the 10-30-50 metrics a lot since they've been amended; I agree, those were quite extreme for a baseline.

Thanks for leaving the original list.  Drives me nuts when people edit an OP and then half the subsequent discussion doesn't make sense because it's based on the old, removed info.  :)
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: MustachianAccountant on February 28, 2014, 07:32:49 AM
As a female martial arts student, my goals are this:
1. full side splits
2. full front splits, both sides
3. deadlift 100% bodyweight
4. squat 100% bodyweight
5. at least 1 actual pullup

Unfortunately, I seem to have the hardest time with pullups. My upper body just seems to keep shrinking the more I workout, whereas I'm getting to somewhere like 75% of bodyweight for both lower body exercises. I am 85% to one front split, but barely past 50 on the other two flexibility exercises.

Like all things, I guess I'm just deficient.

One of the best things for pullups (all upper body, really) is to get into rock climbing. Apologies if you don't have a rock gym near you.
The mix of mental problem solving required to get up the wall + total body strength + flexibility is workout zen for my wife and I.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: MustachianAccountant on February 28, 2014, 07:39:50 AM
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?

I once hiked all day.  Can't remember how many actual miles.  But yes, it hurt.  The blisters more than the muscles.

There's a section of the Appalachian Trail called the "Quad State." You start in VA, go through WV, MD, and end in PA. The challenge is to be in 4 states in a 24 hour period. It's not particularly challenging terrain, but it is ~45 miles in 24 hours.

I tried it once. I got ~35 miles in ~16 hours, and I was DONE. And I am reasonably healthy. 30 miles, while doable, is an "Extreme" challenge, not "Normal Activity."
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: jba302 on February 28, 2014, 08:00:45 AM
I like to think of my fitness goals in terms of things I think I should be able to without feeling like I'm going to die and/or be useless the next day. Some generally useful things that have actually come up in the past are-
-carry a pack 1/3 my bw for 10 miles over difficult terrain
-fireman's carry my BW for... I dunno, half mile?
-have the balance to walk across a single-plank bridge
-push my car 400m
-sprint 800m (this one might happen someday)
-pick up my wife / kids off the ground and carry them to the car 100-200m
-chop and buck a reasonable tree
-do somewhat of a splits / have the general flexibility to do things without risking strains

I figure if I squat 2x bw, deadlift 3x bw, ohp bw, bench 1.5x bw, and do my HIIT training (someday...) I should be a pretty physically useful individual.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: nereo on February 28, 2014, 08:19:43 AM

One of my pet peeves is the philosophy that people are at their physical peak in high school.  I think the majority of people are "late bloomers" who develop their coordination and/or strength later.  However, by that time, they have decided they lack physical prowess and/or that physical activity is punishment.

Thank you!! this is one of the MOST misunderstood concepts in human physiology.  People constantly cite that "peak" fitness occurs during the late teens, and then use examples from certain sports (e.g. the average age of the US Olympic squad is about 16 years old) or stats about the general public to 'confirm' their belief that peak fitness happens so early.
People don't weaker in their early 20s because of their biology, they get weaker because of our lifestyles.
Some examples - all of the top 10 finishers at the '13 boston marathon were over 26 (4 of them were >30).  The average age of MLB pitchers is over 27, and many have their most dominant years in their early 30s.  Tour de France finalists are even older.  (Admittedly drugs probably played a factor with both catagories in recent decades).  The gold in nordic combined skiing at the Sochi olympics went to Havard Klemetsen, age 35. On the more finesse side, the average age of PGA golfers is over 35,

The examples are everywhere; well trained athletes in their late 20s and early 30s routinely dominate younger participants. In our 20s and 30s we get out of shape because of our lifestyles, not our biology.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: adesertsky on February 28, 2014, 08:27:44 AM
This makes way more sense.  I've been running for a few years -5ks to half marathons plus x-training via trail biking- and have never been able to do 5 miles in 45 minutes (maybe 46 or 47, though, but only after training).  I wouldn't expect a healthy person with no prior training to just pick up and do that unless they had a natural inclination for it.

For the record, I would put it like this. A healthy teenage to middle age person should be able to:

-Jog 2 miles continuously at their own pace (less than 40 mins, because that's walking)
-Walk/hike 5 miles (8 if flat) in under 3 hours
-Move their own stuff up/down a flight of stairs, not including furniture (Lift&carry a U-haul "small box" of books)
-Do 20 sit ups, any style.

This is the lower limit of my perception of 'healthy.' If someone can't do something like this, then either
(a) their longest walk/physical activity is around the grocery store once a week, clearly not healthy
(b) they are physically unwell in some way that interferes, therefore not fitting the 'healthy person' criteria exactly (e.g. asthma makes cardio difficult, I hear).

I think the 10-30-50 criteria are more for someone who is very active and fit.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Jamesqf on February 28, 2014, 12:42:25 PM
The examples are everywhere; well trained athletes in their late 20s and early 30s routinely dominate younger participants. In our 20s and 30s we get out of shape because of our lifestyles, not our biology.

Even beyond that, it's still much more lifestyle/lack of training than mere age.  I'm well beyond that age, and as far as I can tell, the only major difference is that it takes longer to get everything 'warmed up'.  Where in my 20s, I'd just head out on say a stiff uphill hike, now it takes around a quarter to half a mile to hit a nice easy stride that I can keep up all day.

Just as an example, last weekend I went out for a hike up a fairly small (but nice view from the top) local mountain with a couple of my regular hiking/horse riding friends.  While I've never been so rude as to ask their ages, both have grandkids.  They brought along 3 college age kids who wanted to go on the hike, too.  First half mile, they were bouncing around impatiently.  Halfway up, they gave up and headed back to their car, while us 'old folks' strolled on up to the top.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Mrs WW on February 28, 2014, 02:12:26 PM
I see a confusion between healthy and fit here. My grandparents and their friends can be used as examples:

All extremely healthy except the long time smokers, they were throughout their WHOLE adult lives up into at least their late eighties able to:

bike for very long distances 20 kilometers or so (this would be done for transportation, to go see a friend that lived where the bus didnt go or to go to the best blueberry wood to pick etc), going up steep hills and walking them when too heavy.

Turn a potato field (back yard kind) in a day and plant it the next

Bend down and pick something up from the floor without sitting down or loosing balance.

Swim across the lake in the summer because thats what they did very summer.

All these things that they had always been able to do; and never running a dedicated kilometer or weight lifting a kilo in their lives. Work hard, keep moving all day long (no sitting or lying about accepted until evening falls) and lift the heavy things that come across your path without thinking. Go do the hard things, but do not bemoan them, just do, go, pick up, climb or whatever and enjoy yourself doing it. And keep doing it until you're old and have a real excuse not to.

To me thats healthy, the rest is merely icing on the (fitness) cake!

If I could add something to the modified list it would be

"have the ability to make love for as long as you like without ever having to think about if you can handle it fitness wise." this would be a life long goal.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: galliver on February 28, 2014, 02:51:12 PM
Work hard, keep moving all day long (no sitting or lying about accepted until evening falls) and lift the heavy things that come across your path without thinking. Go do the hard things, but do not bemoan them, just do, go, pick up, climb or whatever and enjoy yourself doing it. And keep doing it until you're old and have a real excuse not to.

So...are you saying we should all have manual labor jobs? I mean, that might do for a healthy lifestyle and obviously we need some of that. But I believe to contribute to the advancement of society we need mental labor, too. And what you've described isn't really compatible with desk jobs.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: sheepstache on February 28, 2014, 03:20:30 PM
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?

I once hiked all day.  Can't remember how many actual miles.  But yes, it hurt.  The blisters more than the muscles.

There's a section of the Appalachian Trail called the "Quad State." You start in VA, go through WV, MD, and end in PA. The challenge is to be in 4 states in a 24 hour period. It's not particularly challenging terrain, but it is ~45 miles in 24 hours.

I tried it once. I got ~35 miles in ~16 hours, and I was DONE. And I am reasonably healthy. 30 miles, while doable, is an "Extreme" challenge, not "Normal Activity."

I was going to offer the Appalachian trail as my context of reference too.  Many people I met considered 20 to be a good day.  If you did 20 milers for three days, you were considered to be hauling pretty well and could be understandably pooped each night.  However, that is with a fully loaded pack and rough terrain.  With someone else carrying your water and snacks and on level terrain, 30 seems more reasonable.

Maybe a good list would let you choose 3 out 10 or something.  3 of the things you have to be capable of the "extreme" (e.g., 30 miles), the rest you just have to hit a lower baseline.  That would allow for the specialization of your particular physiology.  It might also allow for gender differences.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Mrs WW on February 28, 2014, 03:39:15 PM
Work hard, keep moving all day long (no sitting or lying about accepted until evening falls) and lift the heavy things that come across your path without thinking. Go do the hard things, but do not bemoan them, just do, go, pick up, climb or whatever and enjoy yourself doing it. And keep doing it until you're old and have a real excuse not to.

So...are you saying we should all have manual labor jobs? I mean, that might do for a healthy lifestyle and obviously we need some of that. But I believe to contribute to the advancement of society we need mental labor, too. And what you've described isn't really compatible with desk jobs.

Nope, just move around a lot more, all the time. If you're stuck at a desk, get up and move about every fifteen minutes, or even just adjust your posture, stretch your arms or whatever. Work at an adjustable desk so that you can stand up, if you want a real workout stand on a balance plate. This kind of movement should only benefit your mental capacities and abilities and thereby the advancement of society!

I work a high stress, high performance job that has the potential to tie me to a desk with a computer for long days on end, but I also work with an increasing number of a new kind of office space that benefits the workers personally and job-performance wise as well as the economy of the company. Google activity based workspace/workplace/working if you want to know more. (I'm an architect btw)

I believe that a large amount of movement in every day life is the very humble foundation of health that we all can build for ourselves. Dedicated exercise is great, but its not the only path to a healthy and strong body.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Jamesqf on February 28, 2014, 03:40:01 PM
So...are you saying we should all have manual labor jobs? I mean, that might do for a healthy lifestyle and obviously we need some of that. But I believe to contribute to the advancement of society we need mental labor, too. And what you've described isn't really compatible with desk jobs.

Even with a desk job, you can find opportunities for little bits of physical activity throughout the day.  How many of your fellow desk employees take an elevator for a floor or two, instead of the stairs?  Or spend time driving around the parking lot to avoid walking a few extra steps?
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: wtjbatman on February 28, 2014, 09:44:00 PM
I can lift a hundred pounds right up over my head.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Nords on February 28, 2014, 10:08:06 PM
Quote
What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
I finally dragged up that oft-repeated Heinlein quote:

Quote
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Jamesqf on February 28, 2014, 10:24:15 PM
I finally dragged up that oft-repeated Heinlein quote:

Proof that you haven't been reading the whole thread.  I posted the quote yesterday :-)
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: sheepstache on February 28, 2014, 10:28:22 PM
Work hard, keep moving all day long (no sitting or lying about accepted until evening falls) and lift the heavy things that come across your path without thinking. Go do the hard things, but do not bemoan them, just do, go, pick up, climb or whatever and enjoy yourself doing it. And keep doing it until you're old and have a real excuse not to.

So...are you saying we should all have manual labor jobs? I mean, that might do for a healthy lifestyle and obviously we need some of that. But I believe to contribute to the advancement of society we need mental labor, too. And what you've described isn't really compatible with desk jobs.

I feel like this would require an MMM-style crusade to convince people otherwise.  As someone who does not have a desk job it is annoying to me that people assume I do not do mental labor simply because I am also working with my hands and body.  Mental labor doesn't have to equal desk job, that is how society has defined it.  For centuries privilege and education and mental labor have been tangled together and I think the drive to distinguish a mental laborer from a "lower" physical laborer is what has caused us to strip mental labor of as many aspects of physical effort as possible even when it's completely unnecessary.  Sure, most mental labor is not going to require as much exertion as ditch digging, but think of any school teacher you know.  Using your brain doesn't have to mean turning off your body any more than all physical activity is mindless.

*(warning, general rant, may be responding to more far-reaching things than covered by your actual comment.)
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Russ on February 28, 2014, 10:33:18 PM
I finally dragged up that oft-repeated Heinlein quote:

Proof that you haven't been reading the whole thread.  I posted the quote yesterday :-)

or you're not just on my ignore list ;-)
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Albert on March 01, 2014, 03:42:48 AM
For the record, I would put it like this. A healthy teenage to middle age person should be able to:

-Jog 2 miles continuously at their own pace (less than 40 mins, because that's walking)
-Walk/hike 5 miles (8 if flat) in under 3 hours
-Move their own stuff up/down a flight of stairs, not including furniture (Lift&carry a U-haul "small box" of books)
-Do 20 sit ups, any style.

This is the lower limit of my perception of 'healthy.' If someone can't do something like this, then either
(a) their longest walk/physical activity is around the grocery store once a week, clearly not healthy
(b) they are physically unwell in some way that interferes, therefore not fitting the 'healthy person' criteria exactly (e.g. asthma makes cardio difficult, I hear).

I think the 10-30-50 criteria are more for someone who is very active and fit.

This sounds a lot more reasonable. I might also add that if you are under 60 and can't comfortably climb up to the fifth floor without stopping there is something wrong with you. Sadly I've seen that...
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: AlanStache on March 01, 2014, 10:32:55 AM
Quote
Run 5 miles in 45 minutes
Walk 15 miles
Bike 25 miles
Swim 1 mile
Complete 50 pushups within five minutes
Hold a plank for 2 minutes (I'm advocating planks over sit ups; sit ups destroy your back)
Perform 10 pull ups (no kipping!)
Bench Press Bodyweight x5

Love the thread.

Firstly I would say if we are looking to define a standard it should be a STANDARD, no whining like 'oh but I am a weight lifter so I get out of the running part' a standard is a standard.  I would advocate a universal standard for men under say 40 and slightly different numbers for women under 40.  Then above that pull things back a bit. 

Also I might remove the biking and almost definitely the swimming as these are not 100% testing fitness but are in large part testing if you have trained to bike or trained to swim in past.

I have swam enough to have a half decent front crawl but unless you have spent real time in the water even if you know how to swim you probably dont have the efficiency or technique to swim that far.  This would be like adding body weight clean and press to the list, unless you have a good bit of experience with Olympic lifts you are just not going to be able to do it.

I have known strong runners (with ok marathon times) that were dead after five miles the first time on a bike, uses totally different muscles and unless you have put in the miles you just wont have those muscles.

With a days notice I could probably do most on the list, pullups I would probably drop off the bar around 6-7 (or start kipping :-) ) and my bench press is probably 50# below my body weight.  I think it fair to give the test with a two day warring, that would be a hard run the day after a squat day.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 01, 2014, 10:56:01 AM
Firstly I would say if we are looking to define a standard it should be a STANDARD, no whining like 'oh but I am a weight lifter so I get out of the running part' a standard is a standard.  I would advocate a universal standard for men under say 40 and slightly different numbers for women under 40.  Then above that pull things back a bit.

Been done: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Marine_Corps_Physical_Fitness_Test 

Quote
Also I might remove the biking and almost definitely the swimming as these are not 100% testing fitness but are in large part testing if you have trained to bike or trained to swim in past.

True, just as you use different muscles for cross-country skiing, so I'm always a bit sore the first few weeks of winter.  Then there's the appropriateness: I've no idea what my max bench press would be, 'cause I've never tried.  But I can load a pickup full of 8' logs...
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: AlanStache on March 01, 2014, 11:11:11 AM
Worked with a guy that left to join the Marines, he has maintained perfect 300 scores on that test. 

At first I pegged him as just some lifter that never looked twice at a treadmill but a about three weeks after starting in the office him he mentioned doing like a 40 min 10k over the weekend.

He is fit. 
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Albert on March 01, 2014, 11:14:50 AM
If you are a "fitness freak" go for it, but otherwise I think what the original poster suggested is asking for way too much… I could bike 50 km without problems (have done) and probably more (haven't), but there is no chance I could swim a mile or do 100 pushups in 2 min.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Nords on March 01, 2014, 05:06:49 PM
I finally dragged up that oft-repeated Heinlein quote:

Proof that you haven't been reading the whole thread.  I posted the quote yesterday :-)

or you're not just on my ignore list ;-)
Heh.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: TomTX on March 01, 2014, 07:10:02 PM
Okay, we need a little clarification on the bench press thing.

Are you saying, "Bench press your bodyweight, 5 reps" or "Bench press 5x your bodyweight"?

Because it is reading like the latter, which is just unreasonable. If it's the former - it's in the right range, for a guy in his 20s-40s.

Baseline for lifting standards from Rippetoe's* book:

http://www.crossfit.com/cf-journal/WLSTANDARDS.pdf

"Novice" should be about the target for these lifts... which is roughly 1x bodyweight for men in benchpress, more like 0.65% bodyweight for women.

*Pretty good authority on barbell lifting, especially for new lifters.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: sheepstache on March 01, 2014, 07:33:35 PM

Firstly I would say if we are looking to define a standard it should be a STANDARD, no whining like 'oh but I am a weight lifter so I get out of the running part' a standard is a standard.  I would advocate a universal standard for men under say 40 and slightly different numbers for women under 40.  Then above that pull things back a bit. 

Also I might remove the biking and almost definitely the swimming as these are not 100% testing fitness but are in large part testing if you have trained to bike or trained to swim in past.

[ . . . ]

I have known strong runners (with ok marathon times) that were dead after five miles the first time on a bike, uses totally different muscles and unless you have put in the miles you just wont have those muscles.


I feel like that sort of speaks to the benefit of the "picking and choosing" option though.  If you've got extreme accomplishment in some area, that benefits you somewhat in other areas.  The marathon runner is no doubt still better at biking than the average couch potato.

I guess it comes back to the question of whether the list is something to aim for, as in, something you would practice as the OP suggested, vs. something you just pick up and do because of your general fitness, as Jacob suggested.
Personally I'd like to see a list where everyday practical exertion creates the baseline and then you do deliberate activities to round it out.  Put another way, if you have to be putting a ton of training into it, then maybe your everyday activity level is too low. 
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 01, 2014, 09:09:47 PM
Okay, we need a little clarification on the bench press thing.

Are you saying, "Bench press your bodyweight, 5 reps" or "Bench press 5x your bodyweight"?

Because it is reading like the latter, which is just unreasonable. If it's the former - it's in the right range, for a guy in his 20s-40s.

So why would you only want to do 5 reps?  I think of 10 reps per set as a minimum for any exercise - if I can't manage that, I need to drop the weight down.  If I can do more than 20, it's time to up the weight. 

And with free weights, I wouldn't even want to try really heavy lifts without a spotter...
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: horsepoor on March 01, 2014, 10:00:38 PM
Nah, 5-8 reps is good.  High reps aren't generally all that beneficial.  When I get close to my deadlift max, I do more like 3 reps/set.

I was thinking about this thread during the last couple miles of my 10-mile run today.  While an athlete can of course focus on and excel in a certain sport or type of exercise, they're all very intertwined, and skill has a lot to do with completing tasks that at first glance seem to only require brute strength/fitness.  For example, today was my first 10-mile run since I ran a half marathon in early November.  I've basically not run more than 5.5 miles for almost 4 months, and I have only been running 2-3 days a week.  Yet I was able to do an 8-miler last week, and the 10 miles today were no problem.  In fact, I was running at about a 9:30 pace when my long-run training pace last year was more like 10:30.  So, my running has benefited from my crosstraining, and the fact that I've increased my deadlift from about 125 to 185# over the winter.  My core and legs are way stronger, so each step takes less effort.  I don't think I could have achieved the same type of improvement if I'd continued to run 25 miles per week all winter, but yet my running has benefited.

Also, having the experience to know how to pace a 10 mile run is really important, and someone with that knowledge will be much more successful than an equally fit person who doesn't know how to pace for that distance. 

And for whatever else it's worth, I agree on the cycling thing.  I was trained up and ran a 30K (18.6 miles) last fall, but 5 minutes on a recumbent bike and my quads were screaming bloody murder.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Drew on March 02, 2014, 07:24:53 AM
Nah, 5-8 reps is good.  High reps aren't generally all that beneficial.  When I get close to my deadlift max, I do more like 3 reps/set.

I was thinking about this thread during the last couple miles of my 10-mile run today.  While an athlete can of course focus on and excel in a certain sport or type of exercise, they're all very intertwined, and skill has a lot to do with completing tasks that at first glance seem to only require brute strength/fitness.  For example, today was my first 10-mile run since I ran a half marathon in early November.  I've basically not run more than 5.5 miles for almost 4 months, and I have only been running 2-3 days a week.  Yet I was able to do an 8-miler last week, and the 10 miles today were no problem.  In fact, I was running at about a 9:30 pace when my long-run training pace last year was more like 10:30.  So, my running has benefited from my crosstraining, and the fact that I've increased my deadlift from about 125 to 185# over the winter.  My core and legs are way stronger, so each step takes less effort.  I don't think I could have achieved the same type of improvement if I'd continued to run 25 miles per week all winter, but yet my running has benefited.

Also, having the experience to know how to pace a 10 mile run is really important, and someone with that knowledge will be much more successful than an equally fit person who doesn't know how to pace for that distance. 

And for whatever else it's worth, I agree on the cycling thing.  I was trained up and ran a 30K (18.6 miles) last fall, but 5 minutes on a recumbent bike and my quads were screaming bloody murder.

...
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: TomTX on March 02, 2014, 08:00:03 AM
Bodybuilding tends to run to higher reps.

Strength training tends to be fewer reps. The Starting Strength "formula" is 3 sets of 5 reps for each exercise, except for deadlift (1 set, 5 reps). Other starting formulas are similar, 3x5, or 5x5 (though some "5x5" count warmup sets at less than working weights, and only have 3 full-weight sets) for most lifts.

Oh, and if we're talking "bench press" - I'm talking actual barbell, strict "touch the chest, up to lockout" presses, not "move the weight stack 3cm via cable" or "team bench" where the "spotter" is assisting the lift.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: AlanStache on March 02, 2014, 08:15:22 AM
I have had good results with going from 10 rep sets to 5 rep sets, the strength gets put on noticeably faster.  Where that fifth rep you are near failure. 

Runners definitely should lift.  But I am not going to put hours into mastering the overhead squatting, cost benefit just is not there.

never heard the term team bench before-beutiful.  five times body weight: wow, not sure but a hand full of men have ever done that, that is really heavy.

I have been thinking of the list not as something specific to train for but a general measure of fitness.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: DougStache on March 02, 2014, 09:13:43 AM
This has really generated a great discussion, thanks again all who are contributing.

I see a confusion between healthy and fit here. My grandparents and their friends can be used as examples:
bike for very long distances 20 kilometers or so
Turn a potato field (back yard kind) in a day and plant it the next
Bend down and pick something up from the floor without sitting down or loosing balance.
Swim across the lake in the summer because thats what they did very summer.

To me thats healthy, the rest is merely icing on the (fitness) cake!

"have the ability to make love for as long as you like without ever having to think about if you can handle it fitness wise." this would be a life long goal.
This is exactly the type of healthy I am trying to define.  The problem, really, is that many of us have jobs that require us to sit the majority of the day and doing physical work all day isn't really an option unless we switch jobs (delaying FI), or until we actually FIRE.  Because of that, I believe we need a supplemental benchmark.

I am curious if I asked a slightly different question, if the end result of this discussion would be different.  Most of us are answering this question within the context of our current life (which is natural) and within our modern society.  We're factoring in the other problems in our specific life, our desk jobs, our driving addictions, etc.  What if instead the question was:

What should a healthy native american have been capable of?  (Or perhaps going further back, the idea is to move it to a more primitive society)

Interestingly, most of our metrics are still applicable (the exceptions being biking and bench press), but I'm curious if we would change where the bar is set if we weren't thinking inside the box of our own lives.  Thoughts?
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 02, 2014, 11:55:02 AM
Nah, 5-8 reps is good.  High reps aren't generally all that beneficial.  When I get close to my deadlift max, I do more like 3 reps/set.

I don't agree, though of course it depends on what you're aiming for.  If your goal is more endurance than brute strength (as mine is), then I don't think high weigh/low reps helps all that much.  It's sort of like saying that because you're really good at running a 100 yard dash, you could do a marathon.

And of course there's the whole safety thing.  Since I work out at home, I try not to do weights that'd get me in trouble without a spotter.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: griffin on March 02, 2014, 12:17:39 PM
Quote
Run 5 miles in 45 minutes
Walk 15 miles
Bike 25 miles
Swim 1 mile
Complete 50 pushups within five minutes
Hold a plank for 2 minutes (I'm advocating planks over sit ups; sit ups destroy your back)
Perform 10 pull ups (no kipping!)
Bench Press Bodyweight x5
Looks pretty good to me. http://www.strstd.com/ (http://www.strstd.com/) puts a 5 rep bench of your weight at slightly above the intermediate level. Assuming you'd like the rest of your body to be in equal shape, you should be squatting 1.4x your body weight, deadlifting about 1.66x your body weight and pressing .65x your body weight. If you ask me, deadlifts and squats are a much better indicator of general physical fitness :)
IMO, these goals seem a bit harder than, say, a 2 minute plank or 5 9 minute miles, assuming proper form on everything (i.e. hitting parallel on your squat). I like the idea of this list!
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Drew on March 02, 2014, 12:40:48 PM
Bodybuilding tends to run to higher reps.

Strength training tends to be fewer reps. The Starting Strength "formula" is 3 sets of 5 reps for each exercise, except for deadlift (1 set, 5 reps). Other starting formulas are similar, 3x5, or 5x5 (though some "5x5" count warmup sets at less than working weights, and only have 3 full-weight sets) for most lifts.

Oh, and if we're talking "bench press" - I'm talking actual barbell, strict "touch the chest, up to lockout" presses, not "move the weight stack 3cm via cable" or "team bench" where the "spotter" is assisting the lift.

True, but they tend to overlap as well.  Powerlifts also train with higher reps sometimes and bodybuilders train with low reps sometimes.  In my experience it really doesn't make much difference as long as you are consistently lifting heavy.  By heavy I mean the heaviest weights you can handle with good form for whatever rep range you are lifting in.  I agree about benching, that's the same definition I'm using.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: horsepoor on March 02, 2014, 02:00:20 PM
Nah, 5-8 reps is good.  High reps aren't generally all that beneficial.  When I get close to my deadlift max, I do more like 3 reps/set.

I don't agree, though of course it depends on what you're aiming for.  If your goal is more endurance than brute strength (as mine is), then I don't think high weigh/low reps helps all that much.  It's sort of like saying that because you're really good at running a 100 yard dash, you could do a marathon.

And of course there's the whole safety thing.  Since I work out at home, I try not to do weights that'd get me in trouble without a spotter.

I will let my legs know that since they didn't get the memo and are taking me farther, faster than ever after a winter of 8-rep max squatting and deadlifting.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: No Name Guy on March 02, 2014, 02:20:08 PM
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?

I once hiked all day.  Can't remember how many actual miles.  But yes, it hurt.  The blisters more than the muscles.

There's a section of the Appalachian Trail called the "Quad State." You start in VA, go through WV, MD, and end in PA. The challenge is to be in 4 states in a 24 hour period. It's not particularly challenging terrain, but it is ~45 miles in 24 hours.

I tried it once. I got ~35 miles in ~16 hours, and I was DONE. And I am reasonably healthy. 30 miles, while doable, is an "Extreme" challenge, not "Normal Activity."

I was going to offer the Appalachian trail as my context of reference too.  Many people I met considered 20 to be a good day.  If you did 20 milers for three days, you were considered to be hauling pretty well and could be understandably pooped each night.  However, that is with a fully loaded pack and rough terrain.  With someone else carrying your water and snacks and on level terrain, 30 seems more reasonable.

Actually, the AT is, IMO, a poor choice for a reference trail.  The east coast trails are meant to be "chest beaters", that is, they were made so people could prove their manliness.  One of the first built east coast trails went straight up a mountain to the top by way of example.  The AT does this as well - few to no switchbacks, lots of hand over hand pulling on roots climbs, goes over every hill it can find, etc.  This ISN'T a trail made to "go places".

Western trails on the other hand were made to get a person from here to there - usually on horseback - they are (or used to be) transportation arteries.  As a result, they're graded differently - typically 10% is a maximum, switch backs are used to lessen the grade, they contour when practical, etc. 

More to the point of "is 30 miles a reasonable standard":  I'd actually say, yes, it is.  Many years before the thru hike, I was having my epiphany moments on hiking and fitness.  I used to think 10 miles a day was "big" when I was out of shape and carried too much crap in the pack - then I had a "forced" 15 mile day at the end of a hike, and realized more was in fact possible.  After that, I started running a bit to get in shape and the next summer, set out to push my hiking envelope.  I picked a flat trail (the Suiattle River Trail) and did a 20 mile out and back day.  The following weekend, I took an over night kit with me (to guard against not being able to make the distance) then did the out and back to Image Lake (with a grand view of Glacier Peak, one of the Washington volcano's), 32 miles.  It had ~4,000 feet of elevation gain total - a 1000 feet over the first 10 miles, then 3000 feet over the next 6.  I think the hiking time was on the order of 12 hours or so.

To put an upper bound on the walking thing - Heather "Anish" Anderson did the PCT in 60 days and change - over 44 miles a day, all self resupplied.  Josh Garret finished the day after her in 59 days and change (although he was supported - supply team meeting him at road crossings).  These are the current unsupported and supported records.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: AlanStache on March 02, 2014, 02:38:27 PM
Quote
I don't agree, though of course it depends on what you're aiming for.  If your goal is more endurance than brute strength (as mine is), then I don't think high weigh/low reps helps all that much.  It's sort of like saying that because you're really good at running a 100 yard dash, you could do a marathon.

Everything in moderation but yes even endurance geeks will benefit from some heavy training.  It seems to have helped my running and maybe kept me injury free.  100 yards - marathon this is a bit of a straw man.  I dont know your set up but deadlifts and OH presses can very easily be done heavy w/o a spotter, rubber weights are nice if you have to drop it.  Dropping the bar off you back during a squat is probably a skill you want to be comfortable doing no matter the weight.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: jba302 on March 02, 2014, 04:45:43 PM

Everything in moderation but yes even endurance geeks will benefit from some heavy training.  It seems to have helped my running and maybe kept me injury free.  100 yards - marathon this is a bit of a straw man.

Even marathoners benefit from strength training. The misunderstanding seems to come when people think strength training expressly leads to weight gain and flexibility loss.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: dragoncar on March 03, 2014, 12:31:40 AM
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?

I once hiked all day.  Can't remember how many actual miles.  But yes, it hurt.  The blisters more than the muscles.

There's a section of the Appalachian Trail called the "Quad State." You start in VA, go through WV, MD, and end in PA. The challenge is to be in 4 states in a 24 hour period. It's not particularly challenging terrain, but it is ~45 miles in 24 hours.

I tried it once. I got ~35 miles in ~16 hours, and I was DONE. And I am reasonably healthy. 30 miles, while doable, is an "Extreme" challenge, not "Normal Activity."

Wow.  When I said "day," I literally meant while the sun was shining.  Not 24 hours of straight hiking.  Yikes!
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: fallstoclimb on March 03, 2014, 07:13:00 AM
I'm annoyed at how male oriented these strength benchmarks are. I trained my bench press all winter and didn't get to half my bodyweight, and while I do have a life goal of being able to complete ONE pull up, it seems that all but the most petite of women have real trouble with this.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: AlanStache on March 03, 2014, 07:31:42 AM
I have mixed opinions on CF but..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlPPfS1KpBc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlPPfS1KpBc)

Basically if you want to do pullups you have to train doing pullups (with bands).  Machine pulldowns only sort of transfer.

Yes this thread has been somewhat male centric, please comment on how you would adjust the standards discussed above for the other half of the population.

re your bench press: Some lifts are harder for some people that others, my deadlifts are strong, but am well below average in the squat.  Am working it but will probably always be below average.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: galliver on March 03, 2014, 07:42:25 AM
More to the point of "is 30 miles a reasonable standard":  I'd actually say, yes, it is.  Many years before the thru hike, I was having my epiphany moments on hiking and fitness.  I used to think 10 miles a day was "big" when I was out of shape and carried too much crap in the pack - then I had a "forced" 15 mile day at the end of a hike, and realized more was in fact possible.  After that, I started running a bit to get in shape and the next summer, set out to push my hiking envelope.  I picked a flat trail (the Suiattle River Trail) and did a 20 mile out and back day.  The following weekend, I took an over night kit with me (to guard against not being able to make the distance) then did the out and back to Image Lake (with a grand view of Glacier Peak, one of the Washington volcano's), 32 miles.  It had ~4,000 feet of elevation gain total - a 1000 feet over the first 10 miles, then 3000 feet over the next 6.  I think the hiking time was on the order of 12 hours or so.

I think you've made a point that it's *unreasonable* actually. It sounds like you couldn't do it until you started training for it specifically. I'm not saying it's not humanly possible--clearly it is, and I know people who have done pretty strenuous 20ish mile hikes in one day (and had time for a soak in the hot springs halfway). I'm just saying it's not necessarily something any reasonably healthy person can just pick up and do, which is how I've been interpreting this thread.

Firstly I would say if we are looking to define a standard it should be a STANDARD, no whining like 'oh but I am a weight lifter so I get out of the running part' a standard is a standard.  I would advocate a universal standard for men under say 40 and slightly different numbers for women under 40.  Then above that pull things back a bit.

Been done: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Marine_Corps_Physical_Fitness_Test 

I, personally, would hope the armed forces are *more* fit than simply healthy. I have heard that astronauts are tested for general health/fitness, but not particularly strenuous standards. I haven't been able to find their testing, though.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on March 03, 2014, 08:27:45 AM

Yes this thread has been somewhat male centric, please comment on how you would adjust the standards discussed above for the other half of the population.


Well, to start, I would say...

-Be able to push 6-10 lbs of baby out of a small orifice without anesthesia.
-Be able to lift rapidly growing infant (in carseat), groceries, and stroller.
-Be able to sprint and chase down your speed demon toddler before he reaches the busy road.
-Be able to do all this with minimal and interrupted sleep.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: mom2_3Hs on March 03, 2014, 08:50:12 AM
I would say your pace time should be 10 minute miles, not 9 minute miles.  Not wanting to pull the gender thing, but that is a good pace and requires training to maintain.  I could do 10 pull ups in high school, but can't do a single one now...but can carry a 42 lb 5 yr old on a hike for a couple of hours :)
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: No Name Guy on March 03, 2014, 01:34:36 PM
More to the point of "is 30 miles a reasonable standard":  I'd actually say, yes, it is.  Many years before the thru hike, I was having my epiphany moments on hiking and fitness.  I used to think 10 miles a day was "big" when I was out of shape and carried too much crap in the pack - then I had a "forced" 15 mile day at the end of a hike, and realized more was in fact possible.  After that, I started running a bit to get in shape and the next summer, set out to push my hiking envelope.  I picked a flat trail (the Suiattle River Trail) and did a 20 mile out and back day.  The following weekend, I took an over night kit with me (to guard against not being able to make the distance) then did the out and back to Image Lake (with a grand view of Glacier Peak, one of the Washington volcano's), 32 miles.  It had ~4,000 feet of elevation gain total - a 1000 feet over the first 10 miles, then 3000 feet over the next 6.  I think the hiking time was on the order of 12 hours or so.

I think you've made a point that it's *unreasonable* actually. It sounds like you couldn't do it until you started training for it specifically. I'm not saying it's not humanly possible--clearly it is, and I know people who have done pretty strenuous 20ish mile hikes in one day (and had time for a soak in the hot springs halfway). I'm just saying it's not necessarily something any reasonably healthy person can just pick up and do, which is how I've been interpreting this thread.


Actually Galliver - you misunderstand.  Prior to the mentioned training, I hadn't done ANY physical training - I was flat ass out of shape.  I managed the mentioned 15 mile day "off the couch".  With only mild running training (never more than 5 miles at a time, usually only 2-3 miles, 3x week) and smart packing, doing a 30 mile day hike became entirely possible.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: fallstoclimb on March 03, 2014, 01:59:44 PM
I have mixed opinions on CF but..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlPPfS1KpBc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlPPfS1KpBc)

Basically if you want to do pullups you have to train doing pullups (with bands).  Machine pulldowns only sort of transfer.

Yes this thread has been somewhat male centric, please comment on how you would adjust the standards discussed above for the other half of the population.

re your bench press: Some lifts are harder for some people that others, my deadlifts are strong, but am well below average in the squat.  Am working it but will probably always be below average.

I didn't say women can't do pull-ups.  I said it seems all but petite women have trouble with them (and I definitely saw some kipping pull-ups there!). 

The problem is you can't pose the question, 'what should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?' and then include activities that plenty of extremely fit women cannot do.  Many women with decent upper body strength, even after consistent training, will still not be able to bench press their bodyweight 5 times.  I'm not sure there are any women who can get under a bar for a first time and knock out her bodyweight.  Isn't this thread about what someone can do untrained? 

I'm interpreting this list as activities you could knock out today if your life literally depended on it.  You probably need to break this out by age and gender groups to determine standards for a healthy person, but if you insist on one list than I propose the following revisions:

Run 5 miles in 50 minutes (nothing wrong with a 10mm pace, that's pretty honest for an untrained runner)
Swim 1 mile  (lI agree with the previous commenter that this depends too heavily on skill)
Complete 50 10 pushups within five one minute. (The average untrained fit woman will not be able to complete 50 pushups if she carries any weight in her hips.  10, probably, although we are really limited by our weight placement here and shouldn't be considered unhealthy homo sapiens because of it!) 
Perform 10 pull ups (no kipping!)  (I know too many women with life goals of WORKING UP TO ONE pull up.  Most female marines couldn't even train up to 3!)
Bench Press Bodyweight x5  Not only is this an unreasonable expectation for most untrained fit women, I'm not sure what the functional purpose of this is really.  When are you ever on your back required to press a weight above you?  If we are going to include a barbell lift I think squat or deadlift would be the more functional ones to include.

I like the ones I didn't revise above, especially the functional-based ones (moving belongings, walking, touch your toes).
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: jba302 on March 03, 2014, 02:03:13 PM
Isn't this thread about what someone can do untrained? 

As a serious question, is this an important question?
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: rocksinmyhead on March 03, 2014, 02:04:49 PM
The pullup # is scary.  For every one of us that can do 20 pullups there are 20 people who can't do one?  And for everyone who can do 10, there are 10 more people who can't do one?

It takes a lot to bring the average down to just 1.

I can't do a pullup. but I can run 31 miles in 5.5 hours... (edited: okay, okay, I probably couldn't do this right now since I only did it once a year and a half ago. I could definitely cover 31 miles right now, but there would be more walk breaks :))

this is an interesting conversation, though :) and what do we mean by "untrained"?

I think things like this list are half of whats wrong with the idea of fitness in America.   We're either grossly obese or obsessed with ridiculously extreme events.    We should strive for something in between.   Aim to be able to carry moderately heavy objects from your house to the car, to be able to walk a reasonable distance, say three miles.   And strive to live an injury free lifestyle.   

+1

I just want to be healthy and not feel held back in my daily life by being unfit (like your examples... be able to carry heavy objects when needed, bike reasonable distances for transportation, etc.). above and beyond this I do run more than I need to because it's good for my mental health, but I am not one of those people who feels a constant need to push their own personal envelope. I set some goals, but man, being injured and unable to run really sucks... just don't want to go there.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: fallstoclimb on March 03, 2014, 02:14:29 PM
Re: the untrained issue, I guess I'm not sure.  I see now the original caveat that rather than the activities being done without preparation, they would be part of a constant state of fitness, not a peak - so, not someone's PR after training for a year.  There's a lot of vagueness here. 

For example, I suppose there is a chance that with consistent training I could probably get my bench press up to my bodyweight....eventually.  I expect it would take over a year of specifically training that, however.  (And, honestly, I'm really not sure I could ever get there). 

So, is the question about what a healthy homo sapien should be able to do with X amount of training?  Or is it what a healthy homo sapien should be able to do with no warning?  If we're going to keep the standards high enough to require training for many people, does that imply you cannot be a healthy homo sapien without training specific functional movements? 
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: AlanStache on March 03, 2014, 02:35:30 PM
@fallstoclimb:  I have not been reading this as what an "untrained" ie couch potato can do but rather what someone who regularly exercises should be able to do to consider them-self well rounded and over all fit; I have read the 'untrained' part here to mean that you dont train for this test but train and have general fitness.  That is you might bust out 6.2 miles in 35minutes but you cant do three pushups you are not a "fit" over all person but if you can do 5miles in 45 minutes but bench your body weight five times you are well rounded and fit.  (numbers age and gender scaled.)

I think most of the posts have acknowledged the need for different standards for age and gender.

Just speculating but I would think that if you have a BMI that you were able to do 9 min/miles you would be close to being light enough to do some pullups with training.

Quote
Most female marines couldn't even train up to 3!
Not sure what the marines are putting in the soup but you go into a CF box and you will see plenty of women doing strict pullups and many of them are not twigs or She-Arnolds.  Is all about what you train for, but yes CF does put a good bit of emphasis on pullups.  A-doing a pullup is f-ing cool B-they are a good simple & generic bicep/back exercise.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: jba302 on March 03, 2014, 02:54:48 PM
If we're going to keep the standards high enough to require training for many people, does that imply you cannot be a healthy homo sapien without training specific functional movements?

I see you are on another forum I frequent, you'll recognize this point (and I'll consolidate from my extremely long-winded mega fitness thread posts):  The general adaptation of strength with a simple routine (SS) would cover most of these discussion points. Maybe not the pullups for women, but that is also trainable if focused. You don't need specialization training unless you are looking at high skill movements, like doing a backflip or clearly hurdles in full stride.

Clearly not the cardio so much when heading into medium state work (like the marathon points), but if you can squat over your BW you should be able to handle a pretty decent hiking pace. Adding in some sprint work would cover the low hanging fruit cardio requirements.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: plantingourpennies on March 04, 2014, 07:08:16 AM
This is Mrs PoP, so coming from a woman's perspective.  I think this thread is missing a lot in terms of flexibility and balance.

For men and women, I think these basic flexibility tests are a good starting point:
http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/flexibilitytests.html

What's not addressed there, though, is flexibility of your back, so I would think at a minimum a nice looking bridge pose with fingers interlaced or even better a full wheel to maintain the openness of your shoulders and chest (especially to balance out all of those bench presses you're doing) is a great aim for the weekend warrior.

Balance is also key, especially as you age.  So I'd think that a few sets of squats with a lowish weight on an inverted bosu ball (your feet on the flat part) would be a good test of balance while in motion, with poses like a basic tree or warrior III being being good tests of static balance with tree being a minimum and a solid warrior III being a very good static balance. 
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: prodarwin on March 04, 2014, 07:53:59 AM
Quote
Most female marines couldn't even train up to 3!
Not sure what the marines are putting in the soup but you go into a CF box and you will see plenty of women doing strict pullups and many of them are not twigs or She-Arnolds.  Is all about what you train for, but yes CF does put a good bit of emphasis on pullups.  A-doing a pullup is f-ing cool B-they are a good simple & generic bicep/back exercise.

I've been to many CF gyms and I think the # of women I've seen do a strict pullup (unassisted, no kipping) I could count on one hand and have several fingers leftover.  Its certainly possible, but it isn't common at all.


Re:  Balance and flexiblity above...  I am ofter surprised doing CF that there are many people who can't do a full squat.  I.E. a squat down until your butt touches your ankles/back of calf.  Especially "third world" style (legs together, knees touching).
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: arebelspy on March 04, 2014, 08:58:47 AM
I agree with the people that said the benchmark for a "healthy homo sapien" should be based on what a fit person could do without training.

That said, I consider myself healthy, but not fit.  I don't exercise, besides walking a lot.

Last week I decided to do the 50 pushups in 5 minutes one, and was able to, but it was about my limit (did 25 in the first minute, rested, did 15, rested, did the final 10, ended with a minute to spare). I was sore for several days afterwards (especially my triceps and the part right in front of my armpit).

Okay, check mark for that one.

Today I decided to try to try the planking for two minutes one.  I did it, though my abs were slightly quivering at the end (not too much), but holy fuck did my back start to hurt during the second minute!

I thought that was interesting when the OP specifically says "(I'm advocating planks over sit ups; sit ups destroy your back)".

I could maybe make 3 minutes planking, but probably not, because the back pain was getting pretty bad.

No way I could swim a mile, I'd drown.  I don't float, I sink, so there would be no way to rest if needed.

I couldn't do 10 pullups, I could maybe do a couple (I had to google "kipping").  Might test this one later.

Not sure I could run a 9 minute mile for 5 miles.  Maybe if I really forced myself via willpower.  I could probably do a 5k (3.1 mile) at that pace, but not 5 miles.

Bike 25 miles?  Like, on flat ground?  And I set the gears?  I guess I'm not understanding this, as couldn't you just make it easy and sit there for 4 hours barely pedaling and do it?  Shouldn't this have a time limit, like the push ups or running ones?

Walk 15 miles, again, with no time limit this seems quite easy. 

I can't touch my toes without bending my knees.  Not flexible at all.

Can't bench press my body weight.  I have no idea how much I can bench press, but I'm pretty sure I can't.

Overall the benchmarks in the OP seem fairly reasonable (aside from maybe the swim one? IDK enough about swimming to tell if that's reasonable), as I think I can hit half of them or so (being a fairly healthy, but unfit person) without ever exercising at all, so someone who is fit should be able to do those (gender and age issues needing to tweak it aside).
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: DougStache on March 04, 2014, 10:12:17 AM
Today I decided to try to try the planking for two minutes one.  I did it, though my abs were slightly quivering at the end (not too much), but holy fuck did my back start to hurt during the second minute!

I thought that was interesting when the OP specifically says "(I'm advocating planks over sit ups; sit ups destroy your back)".
I'm excited that you went through the list to see what you could do, arebelspy.

Regarding sit ups vs planks:  sit ups generally contort your spine in an unnatural way and can cause issues with your spine; planks definitely work your back, but it is muscles that (should) hurt rather than your spine.  I also get pain in my back muscles on planks if I do them for the first few times after a break.

I agree with many of your points (and the points others have been making):

- Swimming does have a skill component and may not apply to this post
- Biking should have a time limit on it; however this varies a lot on terrain and the type of bike you ride.
- Ditto for walking.  Maybe a 20 minute mile?
- The running speed should be changed to 10 minute miles, my marathoning background skewed reality here
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: AlanStache on March 04, 2014, 10:15:09 AM
Not being a woman I cant speak to the relative difficulty for sure but maybe the pullup standard would have to include a band and (clearly) a reduced number of pullups.  I would say that most all men under 40 would have difficulty with 10 pullups-this part is not easy.  Sorry if my past posts were read as advocating a standard of women doing 10 strict pullups, that was not really my intent, I was trying to convey that I have seen plenty of 'normal' (but generally fit) women doing strict pullups and that a woman doing a some single digit number of them is not a herculean feat.

I like the idea of including more flexibility and balance elements but hesitate if a 'style' judge would be needed.  The standard for a proper squat or bench is painfully clear and easy to apply; hip crease below knee or bar touches chest - full lock out at the top (slightly simplified). 
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: arebelspy on March 04, 2014, 10:19:39 AM
Today I decided to try to try the planking for two minutes one.  I did it, though my abs were slightly quivering at the end (not too much), but holy fuck did my back start to hurt during the second minute!

I thought that was interesting when the OP specifically says "(I'm advocating planks over sit ups; sit ups destroy your back)".
Regarding sit ups vs planks:  sit ups generally contort your spine in an unnatural way and can cause issues with your spine; planks definitely work your back, but it is muscles that (should) hurt rather than your spine.  I also get pain in my back muscles on planks if I do them for the first few times after a break.

It wasn't a sore/tiring out thing, like the muscles were being worked (like with my triceps when doing the pushups). It was just straight pain.

As soon as I stopped, the pain stopped, and my back isn't tired at all.

- Swimming does have a skill component and may not apply to this post
- Biking should have a time limit on it; however this varies a lot on terrain and the type of bike you ride.
- Ditto for walking.  Maybe a 20 minute mile?
- The running speed should be changed to 10 minute miles, my marathoning background skewed reality here

Agree with all 4 of those.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Russ on March 04, 2014, 10:28:20 AM
I still disagree with the premise of the thread, but for those discussing minimum running pace:
running by definition requires both feet to be off the ground at the same time, and at some point going slower actually makes this harder. So I suggest just leaving the running requirement without a time limit, as running itself kind of takes care of that for you.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: prodarwin on March 04, 2014, 10:42:12 AM
I still disagree with the premise of the thread, but for those discussing minimum running pace:
running by definition requires both feet to be off the ground at the same time, and at some point going slower actually makes this harder. So I suggest just leaving the running requirement without a time limit, as running itself kind of takes care of that for you.

I agree with this.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: arebelspy on March 04, 2014, 10:54:33 AM
I still disagree with the premise of the thread, but for those discussing minimum running pace:
running by definition requires both feet to be off the ground at the same time, and at some point going slower actually makes this harder. So I suggest just leaving the running requirement without a time limit, as running itself kind of takes care of that for you.

Fair enough, and I still agree with your disagreement, but I'll also point out that the time benchmark gives a solid number for the question of "was I running"?  If you have to slow down for part of it, and you don't do a time limit, just distance, then you may not be sure of the vague "both feet off the ground," but timing it you can be sure you did it in an 8 minute mile, or 10 minute mile, or whatever.

Now if that even matters is obviously debatable, but it does give a demarcation line that "both feet off the ground" doesn't necessarily.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 04, 2014, 03:16:32 PM
Everything in moderation but yes even endurance geeks will benefit from some heavy training.  It seems to have helped my running and maybe kept me injury free.  100 yards - marathon this is a bit of a straw man.

Even marathoners benefit from strength training. The misunderstanding seems to come when people think strength training expressly leads to weight gain and flexibility loss.

The 100 yards vs marathon analogy was the best I could come up with on the spur of the moment.  Sorry if it doesn't work for you :-) 

To expand, I think it's really about the purpose of your training.  Do you want to be able to lift one very heavy thing one time, or lift a bunch of moderately heavy things for a long time - as for instance when shifting hay bales or loading firewood logs into the pickup.  I aim for the latter ('cause I actually do such things now & then), so I think that training with higher reps works better.

As for the max lift thing, I've found that if you know how to use leverage & balance, you can move things that are much heavier than you could ever do in a straight lift.  That in turn plays into flexibility: I can e.g. bend and place my palms flat on the ground behind my heels.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: momo5 on March 04, 2014, 05:59:11 PM
homo sapiens is the the way to write it. There is no such word as sapien.

I was told by a professor that everyone should, in their lifetime, build a wall, write a book, raise a child. YMMV.

I like your list better, lol.
I can birth babies no sweat, but I cannot do even one pullup.
Title: Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
Post by: jba302 on March 05, 2014, 07:51:45 AM

The 100 yards vs marathon analogy was the best I could come up with on the spur of the moment.  Sorry if it doesn't work for you :-) 

To expand, I think it's really about the purpose of your training.  Do you want to be able to lift one very heavy thing one time, or lift a bunch of moderately heavy things for a long time - as for instance when shifting hay bales or loading firewood logs into the pickup.  I aim for the latter ('cause I actually do such things now & then), so I think that training with higher reps works better.


That's fine, I get the purpose of your position and wasn't looking to set my position against a single statement. My overall point is twofold:

1. Strength helps downward more than cardio helps upward for all but very high cardio specific activity, and there's some good support for this in cases other than the very big outliers (the Tom Platz vs Dr. Squat comes to mind, where Dr. Squat's 1RM squat was over 100 lbs higher than Platz, but Platz squatted 540x23 and Dr. Squat did 540x13). So in your example, I would pick a 700 pound deadlifter over someone that can rep 100 pounds for 20 reps when looking to move hay bales, because in practice the 700 pound deadlifter can also rep 100 x 20, and will certainly have more left in the tank because the weight being moved is an exceedingly low intensity.

2. Strength activity still helps high cardio activity for various reasons.

Your point about movement specificity relates to the skill of the movement, but I'm not going to argue movement efficiencies because I agree :).