In the back of our minds most of us know strength is important, but for some reason it isn’t given the priority it deserves. Maybe because it’s difficult and our society increasingly seeks the easier path. I want you to stop walking down the easy road. Since when has it lead to anywhere worth your time anyway?
Let’s first understand what strength is. Strength is the ability to produce force against an external resistance. As humans we have to interact with our environment and in order to do so we have to produce force against objects. The more force you can apply the more efficiently you can counter resistance and interact with your environment. A weaker person has more difficulty doing everyday tasks. Carrying groceries, picking up our children, bringing out the trash, the list goes on. We all know weak people and we all know strong people. Do the stronger people seem to be struggling through their day?
As a society we value strength in others. We all picture our police, fire fighters and military as strong individuals. We want those people to be able to save us from harm. How about being strong enough to save yourself from harm? We take pride in our athletes being big and strong. What about taking pride in yourself for being strong? If you were picking teams for a sport would you pick muscular people or tiny, frail looking people? Say the tiny, frail people, I dare you. We all know whom we want on our team. At least I do.
All of the bodies’ structures adapt to the stress of strength training. Improvements aren’t isolated to just the muscles either. Bone density increases to protect you from the compressive loads you’re under. Tendons and ligaments all become stronger and denser in response to resistance training. Why? Because they have to. You’re putting your body into a stressful environment and it has to adapt to survive. Those stronger tissues are now more injury resistant. Bones break when they are subjected to a force that is higher than the structure can withstand. So if resistance training can increase bone density, thus making it stronger, it would also be logical to conclude these same bones are less likely to break. Pretty simply, right?
Stronger kids hurt the weaker kids on the field of play. Not because it was intentional (most of the time), but because the weaker child is simply being subjected to external forces they aren’t equipped to handle. Do you want your child to be the weaker or the stronger one? I think we know the answer. If you’re a parent with a child who is or wants to play a sport, I suggest you find yourself a quality strength coach. The single best way to physically prep them for a sport is to make them stronger. Strength and practicing the sport will take care of most of the work. The difference between your child getting a full scholarship, partial scholarship or any scholarship at all could very well be dependent on his or her strength. It would be a shame to lose out on an opportunity for something that’s within your power to control.
Strength training builds confidence and mental toughness in a way unlike any other. A person who has undergone the process of strength training for a long enough time has been in situations where they have to dig deep to finish the rep, set, session, etc. It’s all up to them. Either they do it or they don’t. They will fail or succeed, right here, right now. There’s a certain independence you develop when you’re stronger. You know you can a handle tough situation. You don’t shy away from a challenge, and you don’t feel the need to ask for help because you know you can get the job done.
So now that you understand the important role strength plays in our life and livelihood, I want you to commit to becoming stronger. Don’t try to kid yourself by saying something silly like “I’m strong enough”. Are you? Are you really? I’m not saying everyone needs to become powerlifters, but I am saying most people should be stronger.
About the Author:
Scott Acosta is a Starting Strength Coach, USA Powerlifting Coach, Westside Barbell Strength Coach, and competitive powerlifter.
Scott’s best competition lifts are a 540 lb. squat, 391 lb. bench press, and 606 lb. deadlift in the 231 lb. men’s open weight class.