I forget exactly how she said the next bit, but it was something like "Is there a point when you don't need to get stronger?"
My initial reaction was "you should be as strong as possible, never stop trying to get stronger, strength fixes everything" as I beat my chest like a gorilla.
However, when I sat down and really thought about it, I realised there does come a point where the quest to get strong could be unnecessary and even detrimental.
The one arm pull up is a perfect example. Whilst it is an awe-inspiring feat of strength, the toll it takes on your body is a big one. Jasper Benincasa could do 19 one arm pull ups in row and he had this to say about them.
"You will experience elbow tendonitis. The only thing you can do is rest"
The same thing can be said about powerlifters and olympic lifters. They have phenomenal strength in their chosen lifts,, but when their professional career is over, their bodies are broken.
All this got me thinking, how strong should somebody be, without risking injury?
I have put together some standards that I think everybody should aim to achieve. It may take a few years to get there, but once you make it not only will you be stronger than 90% of the population. You will be strong enough to handle most things life will throw at you.
I have chosen kettlebell exercises simply because they are the tool I use with my clients and the ones I know most about (other standards could be made for other tools, barbells, body weight etc). As well as strength, your training should improve your fitness and mobility/movement quality (nobody wants to get the stage where they cant get out of the bath unaided or not be able to bend down to tie their shoes), so I have taken these into account as well.
Without further ado here are my strength and conditioning standards:
Turkish Get Up (Strength & Mobility)
Men: 24kg, 1 rep each side
Women 12kg, 1 rep each side
Clean & Press (Strength)
Men: 2 x 24kg, 5 reps
Women: 2 x 12kg, 5 reps
Squat (hips should go lower than your knees) (Strength & Mobility)
Men: 2 x 32kg, 5 reps
Women: 2 x 16kg, 5 reps
Snatches (Strength & Fitness)
Men: 24kg 100 in 5 minutes
Women: 12kg 100 in 5 minutes
I never said they would be easy!
They are all challenging goals, but any healthy adult can achieve them. I know that each of my personal training clients and those who come to my kettlebell class, will achieve these standards. It will take some longer than others, but everyone, if they stick with it will get there.
I am also pretty confident that anybody who reaches these standards and has followed a good, clean diet, will also look pretty damn good in their birthday suit, but that's just a bonus.