Do you wish that you were stronger? Well the first step to “getting strong” is pin-pointing your definition of strength. Essentially, what you want to achieve and why.
Physical strength has a different meaning to everyone—and for good reason. An individual’s definition of “strength” is personal and—in most cases—directly linked to what they want to achieve in their life.
For you physical strength might mean—
being able to walk for an hour without getting tired
being being able to carry groceries without issue
being able to climb the stairs with ease
While others may define physical strength as being able to—
lift, push, pull or carry a heavy load
complete a specific task within a certain amount of time
being able to perform a physically demanding activity without issue
Whatever your goal might be, the plain and simple truth is that your physical strength plays a significant role in how well you are able to perform ALL of your daily activities and leisurely pursuits.
No matter your age, your level of fitness, or your fitness goal your physical strength is important. We shape our daily tasks around what we think we can accomplish within our capacities, both mentally and physically. Often our physical capacities are influenced by other factors—like previous or current injuries, physical disorders, and our overall physical strength. Although some of these factors are out of our control or difficult to change, the one factor that is modifiable is your strength.
Bottom line: You CAN change how strong you are; and whether you’re an athlete or not, you should care about your strength so that you can reap the benefits that come with maintaining it.
As mentioned, the whole notion of physical strength is personal and directly linked to your level of fitness. There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter training program when it comes to your personal goals and physical fitness.
Here’s Why You Should Care About Your Strength
If you’re an athlete—
If you are an athlete, you’re playing a sport—or multiple sports—that require you to perform a specific set of skills, accurately and efficiently. Regardless of what sport you play, or the level that you compete at, your strength plays a significant role in how well you perform these skills.
Bottom line: Improving your physical strength will allow you to perform better, and—as a result—sets you a part from your opponent(s).
A common mistake that many athletes make is living under the belief that strength training is reserved for elite athletes (e.g. the “pros”). In actuality, any athlete—no matter their skill or competition level—can benefit from strength training.
So if you’ve hit a plateau or have become frustrated by the fact that you’re getting beat out by the competition, chances are good it’s because you’re not participating in a proper strength training program.
Code for: If you’re not currently doing some form of strength and conditioning training, you will be left behind by those who are.
Strength training is beneficial to you, the athlete, for many reasons such as—
it corrects muscular imbalances that may be causing recurring injuries or resulting in less than desirable performance
helps prevent overall injury
increases power production (e.g. your explosiveness!)
it increases muscular endurance
Along with a number of other benefits.
Your muscular strength lays the foundation for all of your athletic qualities. The more forceful you train your muscles to contract, the more forceful of an athlete you will be.
To sum it up: stronger muscles produce better performance in A LOT of sports. So instead of strength training for the sake of training, strength train with a purpose – to compete!
If you are not an athlete—
Strength training is not just for the athletic population!
Not only does maintaining and improving your muscular strength—through strength training—provide you with a lengthy list of health benefits, (like helps maintaining a healthy body weight, improving bone density, improving your metabolism, preventing loss of muscle strength, preventing osteoporosis, etc.) it can also significantly impact your overall physical and mental well-being, particularly as you age.
Your physical strength is linked to—
how well you move
your ability to adapt and thrive in your environment, whatever that might be
your ability to overcome physical barriers
Not convinced that you should be on a strength training program? Check out the video below for a great summary from a Doc on why you should strength train.
Bottom line: If you’re not currently participating in some sort of physical strength training, you need to start.
What You Need to Know About Strength
1. Your muscles hold you together, not your bones.
Think of your bones as the wooden framework of a house—they provide the structure and platform for other things to attach onto. Much like how nails and screws hold the framework of a house together, our muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia hold our bones together. This network of tissue surrounds our bone structure, and dictates our movement. Therefore, the strength of your muscles is directly related to the force, speed, and quality of your movement.
2. The body has a tremendous ability to adapt.
Your muscles will adapt to the repeated demand you place on them over time. Without that added demand, you will see no change to the tissue. Essentially, you will find yourself at a physical plateau. In order to change that and become stronger, you need to present your muscles with consistent stimulus so that they can break down, rebuild, and adapt to the increased demand. If there is zero or minimal stimulus to your muscles, they will adapt and even shrink so that they do as little as required. This is known as muscle atrophy, and people who lead sedentary lifestyles can be at risk.
Bottom line: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Your muscles vastly contribute to your structure and how well you move. So I ask you this – why wouldn’t you do what is necessary to improve them?
The Key to Seeing Strength Results
Now that you understand the importance of strength training, the next step is learning how you can see results. Which—if you’ve ever participated in a training program before you’ll know—is half the battle.
Guidance and consistency are essential components that will often help you towards your goals. But something more powerful has to be your motivation. Progress takes a deep, intrinsic, personal need to want to be better than you were yesterday. If you have that passion to succeed, then nothing will stand in your way. There is no greater drive to succeed than the motivation within.
Hard work, dedication, discipline, and consistency pay off, but only if you have the drive to want to improve or make a change your life. It’s that fire within that carries you forward every single day, and will ultimately help you reach your goal of getting stronger.
Sometimes you need a little extra help getting the wheels turning. Whenever I feel I need that extra push I turn to Eric Thomas for some motivation.
Bottom line: If you don’t have the desire to succeed, you won’t succeed.
Setting goals—whether they’re short or long term—is essential to making any kind of progress in your life, especially strength training. They are the backbone that help you focus your energy towards a greater purpose. Whether you want to maintain your overall health and fitness, or to lift 500 pounds from the floor, make it so by first setting a clear set of goals.
New to the whole notion of goals? Click here to learn more about how to set them and how they can make a difference in your life.
Bottom line: Plan out the pathways to your goals. The clearer the pathway, the better direction you will have to achieving what you set out to accomplish.
3. Progressive Overload
OK so you’ve experience strength training before, but don’t feel like you’re making any improvements. That’s where progressive overload comes in. Progressive overload is a method of gradually applying stress on your muscles and whole body during strength training. It serves as a way to counteract the fitness or strength plateau that you might currently be experiencing.
How do you know that you’ve hit a plateau? If you currently strength train with the same routine, (e.g. you do the same number of sets, repetitions, and load for each exercise) you will likely not make progress, and thus find yourself at a plateau.
Sure doing the same routine over and over again might feel more comfortable to you, but once your muscles have adapted to that stimulus you will only be maintaining what you have already achieved. Therefore, it’s important to follow a program that helps break the habits that are holding you back.
Bottom line: You need to be willing to make changes and step outside of your habits to see results.
Ready to pull the trigger?
Now that you’ve made the decision to push past your comfort zone and work towards improving your physical strength, it’s time to take action. Which is where we come in. To help you reach your strength goals, we have developed a 12-week strength program. This is not your regular run-of-the-mill training program, it’s tailored to your needs, and fitness level—whatever that might be—and is 100% driven by results.
You will notice a change in your body by the end of the 12-weeks.
Whether you want to be stronger so that you can improve your overall mobility, or want to deadlift 500 pounds, we can help you make your goals a reality.
In the end, it really comes down to a few questions—
How much stronger, faster, and better do you want to be?
How much better of an athlete do you want to become?
How functional and healthy do you want to be when you’re older?
And, how bad do you want it?
The next step is, doing something about it. Are you ready?