Why strength is never a weakness

Muscle: as well as being the key to strength, it looks good and feels great…

 

My series of articles revisiting the foundations of fitness brings me to a personal favourite: strength.

Admired and respected across all cultures, muscle identifies strength, but determined by the amount of weight we can lift or move. In fitness strength is never a weakness – in fact it’s a vital component.

How to maximise strength

A long-term variable, strength can only be built and developed over time, but the cumulative impact can be extraordinary. Consider this: if an individual’s initial deadlifting capacity is 60kgs, adding just 2.5kgs a month increases it to 90kgs in a year, while five years down the line it will be 210kgs! Gains may not be completely linear, for example some months 5kgs might be added, others nothing, but the overall improvement will nonetheless sustain your drive and momentum toward the prize.

Time and patience are key. Remain objective about progress, which often means learning to hold your ego in check. As a Personal Trainer, I have often witnessed people trying to impress others rather than focus on their lifting, putting too much on the bar only to injure themselves. Any chance of progress ceases until they recover, when they then must also endure the annoying process of rebuilding strength they will have lost. Better to leave your ego in the changing room.

Strength is built on multiple levels and it is important to not only build top-end strength, i.e. how much can you lift. It is also essential over the long term to become more comfortable with an increased load. If you begin by benching 60kgs for 1 rep, aim over the long term to make that a warm up weight and discover how far your body can go.

A final tip: whatever aspect of strength you are working upon, make sure you are moving in the most efficient manner. Whether you want to master the clean and jerk, the back squat or the bench press you must first make sure that all the components of the lift are correct. This is where mobility and flexibility assert themselves, with form-over-weight the golden rule. This will minimise risk of injury and maximize uninterrupted potential to continue to build strength.

By adopting a practical long term approach + the necessary discipline strength training will enhance both your physical and mental resistance, which in turn will boost your self-confidence, influencing all aspects of your life.

Man or woman, step into the weights section in the gym and experiment unlocking your potential.

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          About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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