STRENGTH: The common denominator
If there’s one thing I must say everyone should strive to attain and develop this New Year, it’s one’s strength.
In my opinion, I consider strength the common denominator for anyone perusing health and fitness.
Now don’t be freaked out, but I’ve come across a lot of people who are literally scared of strength.
Classic lines like “Nah, I don’t care about that” or even better, “Ew, I don’t want to turn into a monster”.
First off, gaining mounds of mass and gaining loads of strength are two very different ball games. And we’re not talking about becoming a muscle mutant; I’m referring to having a solid foundation on which you can eventually sculpt your goal-body onto.
These are just 4 of the reasons why you should focus on strength first, before you dabble into your main objective:
1. The stronger you are, the more weight you can move.
Obviously…but whether its dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls or just your own body weight, if the body can develop those ranges of motions required to achieve your objective with relative ease, your “goal specific” exercises are going to be a hell of a lot easier down the road with will lead to quicker success.
2. Your bones and joints become stronger
This is a big one. Due to a certain thing called “Wolff’s Law”, strength training forges your bones and joints into a stronger and more durable form. This is key when it comes to injury prevention, which is something everyone should strive for.
3. Muscle coordination
And I don’t mean juggling a dumbbell while sitting on a Swiss ball, I mean getting your muscles to beat to the same drum; getting them synchronized. Heavy lifting challenges your muscle and nerve cells to work as one in order to move the large force being put upon it. Over time, the cells will naturally fire on and off in unison. This will prime your body for more complex exercises, and also show you where your weaker areas are.
4. Growth Hormone
Strength training puts your body through a different kind of stress compared to, let’s say, long duration cardio or volume training. Strength training works the muscles but also your nervous system. And it’s the nerves that control the muscles you want. Tax the nervous system enough and you’ll send it into a “shock” which will make it produce hormones specific for muscle growth. Get that stuff flowing through you, and you’ll find it easier to build lean muscle down the road.
Now this is just scratching the surface, but I promise you, if you dedicate 6-8 weeks on basic push, pull, lift and press exercises at weight that’s about a 7-8/10 intensity for you, before diving into your goal-oriented workouts, you will get to the finish line a hell of a lot quicker.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out, or currently working out right now. Just do it.
Weather you’re striving for weight loss, grinding for that lean physique or going for that beefy built structure, without some sort of underlying strength to build upon- you will not get there.
Happy New year, Happy lifting