Why Strength Training is so important

There are a couple of very simple reasons we want to make strength training the cornerstone of exercising.

  • Strength training accumulates over time.
    • Strength training is a lot like a mutual fund; staying invested in it means you’ll enjoy compounding interest over time. If you do a little strength work often over the long haul, it will add up to a better quality of life for longer, and you’ll fade more slowly than peers, too.
    • Like investing for retirement, the more boring the plan, often, the more successful.
  • Strength Training makes everything else easier to do.
    • Strength is the most general adaptation for the body.
    • If you can lift a 100 pound weight five times today, and the next time you lift, you can lift a 110 pound weight 5 times, then the 100 pound weight has gotten easier to lift than it was before.
    • It should be no surprise that if you deadlift, say 200 pounds, a 180 pound power clean might not be possible, but if you deadlift 500 pounds, that 180 pound clean would feel trivial.
    • The same basic principle applies to everything else. If you are a runner, and your squat improves from a low weight to a higher weight, you should run faster and more efficiently, because you can apply more force to the ground.
    • Like all things, this is subject to diminishing returns.
  • Strength training provides the greatest return on investment.
    • We can improve strength as a quality for the longest time with the least amount of resources invested.
    • Adaptations for strength persist the longest before they become detrained, and the higher your level of strength the less they detrain over time.
    • One does not have to become very strong (like anywhere approaching world class) to reap a lot of benefits from strength.
  • Strength training is easy to measure.
    • Barbells and plates make it easy to know exactly how much stronger you are getting over time.
    • Because there are fewer variables to control for, it is easier to adjust training appropriately.

For all of these reasons, it’s the right place to start.  It is not that training other qualities is not important; it’s that training strength, for the untrained, detrained, or novice, will lift the other qualities higher, in less time, than any other quality.

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