Why do we lift? BECAUSE I SAID SO! Blog over, conversation done. We’ll see you on the internet some other time.
The conversation around the necessity for resistance training in everyone’s program has to be supported. As much as we are zealots for the barbell, one can’t expect to have their position heard amidst a winner-take-all shouting match. This multi-part blog series is my attempt to encourage the strength community to put down the pre-workout, put some sleeves back on those cut off shirts, and provide support for the lifting we so dearly love. So whether you are a self diagnosed meathead, or have just recently delved into resistance training, I hope you walk away with some reasons for why we do it, and why you should to!
Reason 1: Increased Strength
You lift to get stronger. Stating this might seem obvious, however what I find frustratingly misunderstood are the actual benefits of increased strength, not the methods in which to gain strength. Strength improvements are not reserved for those with performance oriented training goals. Instead, strength improvements ought to be a goal for all humans.
See, there’s this thing we interface with called gravity, and without fail it can really be a schmuck. As we age (which is essentially a euphemism for “as we get weaker and closer to death”), gravity remains constant. Those groceries still need carried in, your children and grandchildren will still want to be played with, and those destinations you’ve longed to travel to will still be there — but so will gravity. This is why Detective Roger Murtaugh, actor Danny Glover’s character in the late 20th century action franchise Lethal Weapon, is always saying…
Furthermore, did you know that two of the three biggest indicators of when and how you will spend your retired days is strength related? That’s right! Research shows that both a lack of grip strength and leg strength, combined with limited upper back mobility, are predictors of a loss of retirement independence. Best news of all though is we can train to improve strength! Following a exercise plan that incorporates a good amount of resistance training can dramatically improve your strength levels.
A great place to start is to begin trying out some of the stationary equipment at your local fitness club. This may seem like a foolish suggestion to some, but for an individual who is just starting out, machine set ups are available, easy to figure out, and the chance of injury is low. Keep things in the five to ten rep range for sets of three or four, progressing in weight as you complete a selected rep range with ease. For a better comprehension of how to progress for strength training, we did a three part blog series that can help you jumpstart the learning. To progress, dumbbells and bands can be a great place to add in variety. They are easy to come by at many fitness facilities and you can place them in a training program according to your ability levels.
Lastly, kettlebells, barbells, and more advanced dumbbell work is really where the benefits multiplier kicks in. While there might not seem to be a huge difference between smith machine squats and the barbell front squat, the proof is in the pudding. Many times, a more advanced resistance training tool like a barbell can maximize the effectiveness of the external load applied. This effectiveness, when performed correctly, leads to even greater strength gains in less time. You get stronger quicker, leaving more time to get better at other things (in life or in training). It is important to note that at this point in your strength progression, seeking out a qualified coach for instruction on how to perform movements of a higher technical competency is paramount. That aforementioned exercise effectiveness is nothing if not performed properly.
Legendary strength coach Mark Rippetoe has been quoted saying, “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.” So let’s get strong! Whether you are just starting out, or seeking motivation for a life well lifted, fending off the grave and living well is a great thing to aspire towards.
We’ll follow up next week with Why We Lift: Building Muscle…
-Written by Taylor Gish
If you are in the Minneapolis / St. Paul / Twin Cities area of Minnesota and are looking to find a qualified coach to help you get stronger, look no further than MSP Fitness. We have the tools to make your health and fitness goals become a reality. To schedule a consultation or find out more information, CONTACT US today!