Today I want to talk about how strength training isn’t unlike brushing your teeth. Let me explain.
Why do we brush our teeth?
- so we can eat
- so they don’t fall out of our head
- so we look better
In short, bad things happen if we don’t brush our teeth. And, having healthy teeth makes for a better life. Bad things also happen if we don’t strength train. And, having strong muscles makes for a better life too!
Muscles pull on our bones. This pulling creates movement. It’s this movement that allows us to:
- enjoy our environment
- get work done
- go to the bathroom
You might be thinking that you already know this… but current statistics on strength training participation says otherwise. Currently, about 50% of Americans report meeting one of the physical activity guidelines. To refresh your memory, the guidelines call for at least 2 full body strength training workouts per week AND at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise.
You can almost certainly guess that, IF 1 guideline is being met by about half of the people, it probably isn’t strength training. Traditional aerobic exercise is much more accessible and generally accepted. There are a lot of people not taking advantage of what strength training has to offer.
What is strength training?
Strength training is training that is specifically done to increase strength.
I know that sounds a redundant, but…
- Strength training isn’t about losing weight.
- Strength training isn’t about looking good in the mirror.
- Strength training isn’t about bigger arms or a bigger butt.
Strength training is about getting stronger. Period! Strength training can definitely help you accomplish those other things too but they are byproducts of the training, not the intended result.
The intended result is more strength!
Why should you care? Because I believe if you understand what strength training does, you’ll understand that it isn’t really an optional activity.
Let’s look a bit deeper…
Do you like endurance sports (running, cycling, swimming)? If so, having stronger muscles makes those submaximal activities more submaximal. You’re effectively working with a bigger, more powerful motor.
Do you want to look better naked? More muscle means a higher metabolism. That’s more fat burned! Folks that look more muscular are usually folks that carry lower body fat percentages.
Want bigger muscles? Yep, again, strength training can help. When you lift weights, you create muscular tension. Tension + protein + a caloric surplus results in bigger muscles.
Lastly, are you in pain? Stronger muscles protect our joints more effectively. The muscles around your knee are what provide stability and movement. The stronger those muscles can contract, the more healthy your knee function will be.
Most of the people we work with aren’t at the gym to just lift weights. Most of them are there to get stronger so they can do the other things in life they enjoy.
It might be golf, jogging, playing with their grandkids, looking better at the pool, or having more confidence in their low back while they work around the house.
They understand that strength training, like brushing their teeth, isn’t optional.
Ok James, how do we get stronger?
(1) Lift heavy things 2-3 x per week
(2) Work reasonably close to failure (about 3-4 reps shy of failure)
(3) Pick exercises that work the body in a coordinated manner. Stuff like squats, lunges, deadlifts, chin ups, bench presses, overhead presses, dips, and curls.
(4) Eat enough protein to support muscle growth
(5) Don’t skip your workouts
The hard part is that most folks still see strength training as something people like or don’t like vs. seeing it for what it is: medicine for healthy aging.
Hope that helps get your mind right to start the week! If you’re ready to book a meeting with one of our coaches, GO HERE.