3 Reasons Why Strength Training is King
Strength training is the undisputed king of all training methods. Here are my top three reasons why everyone should strength train –
Every single athlete should strength train. It doesn’t matter if your goal is endurance, agility, speed, power, or balance; strength training improves almost every component of fitness. This is why almost all elite athletes strength train, it gives you the best bang for your buck, this is absolutely vital in elite sports because training efficiency is everything.
You may question how lifting heavy increases some components especially endurance, let’s take a look. Nine men participated in an exercise program (10 weeks) that was designed to strengthen their legs, to see if there was a correlation with increased endurance. Following training, endurance time to exhaustion significantly increased. Cycling by 47% almost double their endurance in 10 weeks! Running time also increased (12%) (Hickson RC, 1980). Why? It requires less energy expenditure each time you exert force onto the ground or peddle, due to a greater level of strength, leading to a higher level of endurance because of reduced energy expenditure.
If you’re a contact athlete you should obviously strength train, the better strength to weight ratio you have the faster you can run, the higher you can jump, the harder you can hit and the more agile you become. “I can usually judge how fast an athlete is by the amount of pull-ups they can do” – Joe DeFranco I always found this massively interesting, a good strength to weight ratio is critical. However, coming from a contact sport background I find bodybuilding techniques are overused, yes there is a place for it as Dan John says “armor building” but strength training must form the foundation. Having bulging biceps doesn’t matter on the pitch.
This is always excruciatingly painful to admit but we all began our journey with countless sit-ups and curls, many never grew out of it… It is a eureka moment when you finally make it through the swamp of fitness trash and release a strong, lean and muscular physique is built with big compound movements such as the bench press, squat and deadlift. When done for low repetitions and heavy weight these movements increase central nervous system (CNS) activity, which over time increase muscle fiber requirement and physical strength.
Here’s the good news bro’s! The more weight you can lift, the more stress you place on your muscle fibers, couple this with increased muscle fibre recruitment and you have a recipe for swole, brofists all round, we did science. Here’s your take home point, if you’re looking to gain mass, begin each session with a heavy compound lift before you move onto your isolation work, you must lay a strong foundation to build a big fortress.
Longevity and life
If you’re not pursuing any athletic or competitive endeavor, all you need to do is strength train and mobilize. As we age the two main things we lose are strength and mobility, our current lifestyle exaggerates this issue with most of our hours spent sitting leading to a chronically tight, weak and poorly functioning body. If all you did was heavy lifting and yoga a few hours a week, you’d have an incredible functional body. Jointly aesthetic and functional, which you could use to pursue anything you wish.
Many of us are too young to worry about this but if you maintain your strength and mobility into the latter part of your life, your less likely to end up falling without being able to get up, being dependent on others and being in chronic pain – all of these are extremely scary especially for us who have grown up as athletes, due to the warrior type attitude breed into us. So lift heavy and do your yoga! Men, I’d like to think doing a few yoga classes here and there is far less damaging to your ego than being dependent towards the end of your life.
Here’s a link if you’re interesting in going into the details of strength training and longevity such as reduced blood pressure and risk of osteoporosis – http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=364.
I think strength training is summed up perfectly by this quote from Brett Jones – “Absolute strength is the glass. Everything else is the liquid inside the glass. The bigger the glass, the more of everything else you can do”. In conclusion, lift heavy.
• Hickson RC, Posenkoetter MA, Brown MM. (1980). Strength training effects on aerobic power and short-term endurance.. Medicine Science Sports Exercise. 12 (5), pp336-9.