"Fitness can be hard work, but it definitely pays off in the long run. Sometimes you've simply got to think it, will it, then do it. Push on through and persevere."
2004 ASP World Champion Surfer
[#5] Classic Strength
The Big Push
If you want to get stronger, you need to hit the weights. Just ask 34-year-old Joe Decker, record holder in the Guinness 24-Hour Fitness Challenge, which involved such Herculean feats as performing 1,100 push-ups in a row. Despite his current status as an outdoors üermensch, acquired through dizzying endurance events like the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon, Africa's 152-mile Marathon des Sables, and the eight-day Raid Gauloises adventure race, he still preaches the gospel of pumping iron. His weight-room M.O., though, is brief and intense. "You have to take each lift to muscle fatigue and then force yourself to do two more," says Decker. "Otherwise you're wasting your time." Follow his advice and you'll turbocharge muscle growth, drive up your metabolism, and increase your bone density, while shoring up your joints.
Decker recommends a three-days-a-week strength regimen, with different large-muscle groups getting the attention on alternating days—chest, shoulders, and triceps one day; back, biceps, and legs the other. Do two sets of ten reps, with enough weight so that "the last two are nearly impossible," Decker says. Many people are already familiar with these classic lifts, but those needing directions can consult www.outsideonline.com/workouts.
Chest: Bench press, incline bench press, and dumbbell chest flies.
Shoulders: Military press, dumbbell raises to front and to side.
Triceps: Cable press-downs and dips.
Back: Seated cable-row, lat pull-downs (alternate between overhand and underhand grips; complete four sets of 15 reps).
Biceps: Standing straight-bar curls, dumbbell hammer curls.
Legs: Barbell squats, leg extensions, leg-curl machine, calf raises.
Toolbox: Dumbbells are crucial for any strength-training program, but a full set of 20 will quickly swallow up most home gyms. Try the compact NAUTILUS SELECTTECH DUMBBELL SET. One pair adjusts quickly for loads between 2.5 and 52.5 pounds, while occupying a space about the size of a large pizza. ($350; 800-782-4799, www.nautilus.com)