Why do we emphasize strength as opposed to other physical attributes, and if we value strength, how do we achieve it. Niki & Matt explore WHY you should get strong & how to get strong.
Strength--and the process of getting strong--produces lasting changes in our body. Our body changes to the stress we impose on it, with denser bones and bigger, more capable muscles. This changes how we interact with the world every day. Like unlocking a new ability for a character in a videogame, strength upgrades your capability, allowing you to do things you could not do before.
When we decide to get stronger, we want to get the most bang for our buck. For strength exercises, this means exercises that move the most joints and involve the most muscle mass. We'd rather do 4 exercises than 14. We're not looking to live in the gym or do as much as we can (and, if you do, that's okay, we can always add more, but remember that there comes a point in time where you HAVE to add more volume and more stress and spend more time in the gym to continue to realize strength gains, so enjoy the simplicity and relatively short workouts novices can execute).
We like exercises that are incrementally loadable. Barbells--more than any other implement--allow small weight jumps and for us to train multiple joints as we overcome gravity and attempt to keep our center of mass over our center of balance.
The term "functional" has been overused and has come to mean almost nothing, but if we understand that the movement we do in the gym resemble and carry over to movements we execute in our life, then we realize the functionality of free weight movements.
Nothing is more natural than bending over and sitting down and then getting back up again, like the squat. The deadlift mimics picking something up off the floor. The press resembles lifting something up over our head.
People who have never undergone a systematic exercise program can increase stress in a linear manner with small enough jumps. While many point to the flattened top of the curve when they reference the law of diminishing returns, as a beginner you can enjoy the steep portion, with quick gains.
For those using barbells, we most often add the same amount of weight each workout in a linear fashion until this stops. If you aren't ready for barbells and are using bodyweight exercises or lightweight objects in your home, we most often add reps (though eventually the resistance must go up).
The great part about this is that you'll feel better quickly--likely within 2 weeks. Furthermore, the improvements last. So, if you have to take a week off, the increased muscle mass and improved strength do not lessen as fast as conditioning changes.
So, if you're unsure about strength and how you might get strong, enjoy this. If you know someone this might benefit, be sure to share this with them. GET STARTED with one-on-one online coaching FOR FREE!
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