Why do I choose strength training as my specific focus? What is it about strength training that I feel is so beneficial and important? One of my answers to that will be, in true Socratic style, …Why NOT strength training?
There are multitudes of goals that can dictate the style or the method of training one can specialize in. Weight loss, weight gain, muscle definition, agility, etc., etc. Those are very individualized, however, and different people want different things. An overweight person probably has no interest in “bulking up”. Likewise, someone who feels too skinny has no real use for shedding some pounds. Similar examples can be made for most training methods and/or focuses, making them not universally beneficial and/or appealing.
On the other hand, who doesn’t want to be stronger? Before I discuss that, let me just clarify some terminology first. STRONG means just that…Strong. Defined as: “…able to exert great bodily or muscular power”, it simply means having an increased ability to move things. Or to withstand a force being acted upon you. That’s all. The majority of people hear “strong”, and they immediately think “big” or “meathead”. It’s rather unfortunate that strength and mass, or bulk, have come to be perceived as mutually exclusive. That is absolutely not the case. Please check out the FAQ titled “Will I Get Big and Bulky From Strength Training?” for a more detailed explanation, but for now just know this…getting stronger doesn’t mean you have to bulk up. It just means you get stronger.
So I ask again, who wouldn’t want to be stronger? Is there anyone out there that says to themselves, “I just have too much darned strength.”? Does anyone ever think, “I never want to be able to pick up more than 18 lbs. I want a 20 lb bag of groceries to pin me to the floor.”? I don’t imagine this is the case. If Zeus came down from Mount Olympus (just go with it for a minute) and decided to endow you with limitless strength, where you could walk around picking up cars, are you telling me you wouldn’t say, “I’ll take it!”? Just think of the parking benefits!
I’m not saying everyone wants to be able to pick up cars or even wants to clean and jerk 400lbs. I truly believe, though, that from the 30 year old office worker who is sick of mildly embarrassing himself when changing the Sparkletts bottle, to the 80 year old grandmother who has a dickens of a time getting out of her chair, a little bit of extra strength would never be frowned upon.
Last (for now), but certainly not least, are the “fringe benefits” of strength training. When following my regimen and direction, training for strength will always take your body to where it needs to be. If you’re underweight to begin with, you’ll add lean body mass as you continue with the program. If you’re a little heavy at the start, you’ll alter your body composition, so that you have a lower bodyfat percentage. Getting stronger in my programs will give you better balance. To stay upright while pressing or squatting with a heavy weight, you have to develop balance, not to mention that your core MUST be engaged to its full potential. While other training methods have very narrow focuses and results, strength training increases your physical well being, performance, and appearance in all areas. We start with strength. The rest will come along with it.