What is Strength Training?
Strength is your ability to produce force against an external resistance. The more force you can produce, the stronger you are. Since everything we do with our bodies as we interact with our environment is some application force, strength is the most important attribute in our physical existence and the foundation on which all other physical attributes are built. Balance, speed, power, endurance, agility, stamina, etc all require force application and therefore strength. The more strength an individual possesses, the more effectively and efficiently these other attributes are expressed.
Not only is strength important when discussing sports performance, but also health in general. The human body is designed to be strong. A weak body is unnatural and unhealthy. In the past, life was hard enough that most people were strong without the need of exercise to make it so, life itself was a workout. Today, we live with many comforts and work jobs that aren’t physically demanding enough to produce strong bodies. The human body adapts to the stresses imposed on it and when you take away the stimulus of hard physical work, there is no need for the body to be strong and, therefore, it isn’t. We need to apply that stress intentionally in our modern lives to produce the adaptation of strength and return to the normal state of our design.
There are many opinions on the correct way to apply this stimulus of hard work and many forms of exercise exist and are attacked and defended by many. One of the major problems with many popular forms of exercise is that they do not produce increased strength in any meaningful way and strength is the most important thing to train and improves every other attribute as it increases. Another problem is that many forms of exercise are just that; exercise. A single workout produces no meaningful adaptation on its own, it’s the accumulation of stress and adaptation over time that produces real change. This is the difference between exercise and training. Exercise is about what happens today; getting hot, sweaty, and tired. Training is how each individual workout builds on the one before, accumulating adaptations over time so that meaningful change can occur.
An appropriate approach to acquiring strength is performing a feat of strength that is heavy enough to disrupt the body’s homeostasis and trigger the adaptation process, but not so heavy it cannot be performed, recovering from that stress event, and then performing the same feat again, but just a little bit heavier since you have adapted to the first event’s weight. This process is called the stress, recovery, adaptation cycle and it is repeated over and over again, producing increased strength over time. This natural process of the human body can be taken advantage of by anybody from young athletes interested in improved sports performance to older adults interested in maintaining or improving their quality of life as they age.
The exercises best suited for strength training are the basic barbell lifts; the squat, press, deadlift, and bench press, along with a couple of others such as chin ups/pull downs and power cleans for athletes who need to train power. These natural human movements train the whole body and use a barbell to load them. When strong in performing these exercises, the body is strong for everything else it needs to be strong for since everything else is just some variation of the basic movements and the strength acquired in training them will transfer to the rest of your life. These exercises, when performed properly and programmed appropriately, are safe and effective for everyone to use for the acquisition of strength.
Everybody should be strong because it is the normal state of the human body to be so. Strength training is for everyone whether they’re athletes and want to improve their sports performance and prevent injury, or whether they want to be more useful and improve their quality of life. At Bloom Performance and Rehab we want to help you be stronger so you can be healthier, more useful, and enjoy life more.
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Meet Our Personal Trainer: Matt Adamson
My name is Matt and I am an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. After getting into fitness myself and being exposed to strength training, I needed to share what I learned and benefited from with others. I am passionate about teaching people to do hard things and get stronger from the process.
Strength training isn’t just for athletes, it’s important for everyone to be strong and I want to help people do what it takes to get strong. Strength is the body’s ability to produce force in its environment and everything we do requires strength from playing sports, to putting groceries into the car, to picking up the grand kids, to going on a hike. The stronger you are, the easier, safer, and more effectively you can interact with your environment.
Training is the process by which strength is acquired. Training is the accumulation of the effects of each workout over time and differs from general exercise because each workout builds on the adaptations from the previous workout all toward the goal over time of being stronger. The best way to do this is through the use of natural full body movements progressively loaded with greater resistance over time. This resistance is best applied through the use of a barbell in the basic barbell lifts: the squat, press, bench press, and deadlift. I am experienced and skilled in the instruction and programming of these lifts for all kinds of trainees, from teenage athletes to seniors.
Everyone has a place they can start and everyone can benefit from strength training to improve their health and quality of life, especially as we age. My desire is to help people see and experience the benefits from doing the hard thing and getting strong as a result.