Take the Man test
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable”
We at Evolution of Man make no secret of the fact that we sell aesthetics. Our clients come to us to build the kind of lean, muscular physique that attracts admiring glances on the beach, simple as that. As a result, we will never waste weeks of your time working on ‘correcting muscular imbalances’ or ‘activating your core.’ Why? Because in reality these are often unknown concepts, used by naive trainers in order to sound cleverer than they really are. If you actually need rehab, we will send you to the best physio in the city rather than mince around with light weights under the guise of ‘functional training.’
But having said all that, we’re not ‘all show and no go’. Whilst our primary goal is to make you look awesome, we do believe there are certain physical abilities any man should have in his locker. Now, fair enough, we don’t actually live in the forest and kill wooly mammoths with spears any more. It is quite possible to live a happy and fulfilled life while also being weak as a baby’s fart. But presumably if you’re reading this article you aspire to something more than the absolute lowest common denominator. Presumably you want to be the exception to the rule.
So here is our checklist, some baseline measures that any man interested in physical development should work to achieve.
Ten Full Range Pull-Ups
Not the most amazing feat in the world and it certainly won’t guarantee your place on the next reboot of Gladiators, but this acts a nice ‘qualifier’. Put simply; you won’t be able to do this if you’re fat, weak or injured. Sure, you might be strong enough to belt out 100kg reps on the bench press, but if you’re carrying excess baggage around the waist, pull-ups will be a struggle.
So ask yourself honestly if you can do ten pull-ups (that’s with the hands pronated, which means palms facing away from you. Chin-ups are done with the palms facing you). If not make that a priority in your upper body training.
Deadlift Twice Bodyweight
Another strength standard that’s very tough to achieve if you’re overweight or injured, but this one earns you more bragging rights. The double body weight deadlift is a classic show of hairy-chested masculinity and a solid fuck-you to Isaac Newton.
Deadlifts (or variations thereof such as the trap bar or rack deadlift) should be a staple in your training program. 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps is a decent guideline. Go get stronger!
At some point in this crazy road to ripped-ness you’re going to start giving a shit about your cardiovascular health. It probably won’t be when you’re a twenty-odd year old buck still capable of pounding shots till 3 am and waking up as fresh as a daisy. But eventually, tragically, it happens to all of us. When that day comes, you’re going to want to add some cardio in, and you might not want all of it to be balls-to-the-wall, vomit inducing beast-sessions. That’s why swimming is a great tool in your training arsenal. Pay a visit to any public pool however, and you’ll see that the standard is incredibly poor, more akin to a grand-mal epileptic seizure than the elegant dolphin-like grace you deserve. Do yourself a favour and get some lessons till you have a decent front crawl. Your future self will thank you.
Throw a Proper Punch
Not because punching random people should be high on your list of priorities, but because a properly executed punch is a perfect combination of technique, speed, strength and coordination. A proper punch teaches you to develop force all the way from the soles of your feet to your knuckles. Most untrained men are embarrassingly awful at this, despite the fact that you can learn the basics pretty quickly. Remedy this and a world of punchbag-twatting satisfaction is your reward.
Learn To Rock Climb
Until you’ve done it, it’s hard to describe the satisfaction of conquering a tough climbing route. Rock climbing isn’t just a cool way to develop strength – particularly in the lats and forearms – it’s practically a Zen exercise in extreme focus. It is quite literally impossible to worry about your email inbox or work to-do list when you’re halfway up a cliff clinging on by your fingertips. It’s also a new, challenging skill that will tax your brain in a different way and push you into uncomfortable areas.
This might seem like an extensive list, but we suggest you pick one, and commit to it over the next few months, or however long it takes. Think of it like watching Breaking Bad, a bit of work to get going but worth it in the end.