Why Strength Training is Important
Mark Rippetoe’s book, Starting Strength begins by saying that physical strength is the most important thing in life, and this is true whether we want it to be or not.
Is physical strength really the most important thing in life? What’s the big deal about strength?
Strength matters because it makes all other physical abilities better. It’s the basis for all human and athletic movement. For example, a thirty year old female who is overweight, untrained and feels bad about her current physical appearance and abilities decides to start an exercise program. She chooses hot yoga, which may be good for her, and it makes her hot, sweaty and tired. It also helps her mobility. However, it will not increase her physical strength over time. If this same woman chooses barbell training and she learns to squat, not only did she get stronger, she also improved her mobility, balance, coordination and agility.
Power improves, because power is strength expressed quickly. She gets faster, she can jump higher – all because of strength. She starts to appreciate her physical capabilities and she also experiences positive changes in body composition.
Regardless of what the end goal is, we’re always going to start with strength. Strength isn’t the only thing we care about, but in order to spend our time wisely, we want the greatest return on investment for time spent in the weight room or gym. Strength gives us the best return on investment. Strength training will make this woman feel and look better than hot yoga ever could.
Strength contributes to more vigorous cardiovascular exercise, but if the focus is only on cardio, strength does not increase. Running a 5K does not help us when we have to pick up a lawnmower and transport it to the back of a truck. This is why strength matters.
Strength matters because it helps older populations get off the toilet and out of their cars. It also helps younger populations get off the computer and video games.
The physical changes that come with strength are not the only benefit strength provides. Strength improves emotional, mental and relational health, as well. A person who has walked through the journey of extremely weak to strong has been refined by the power of voluntary hardship. A self-confident, strong, healthy man or woman in America is the exception. Strength produces that exception.
That’s why we start with strength.