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Strength is Nothing to Fear

Created on Tuesday, 12 October 2010

When you hear the word "strength" what image comes to mind? Is it a massive brute lifting something big and heavy? What about an average man or woman carrying a suitcase through the airport? An older, gray haired granny opening a new jar of hand cream?

150 pound dumbbells

I was reading a post online about someone's opinion that many modern exercisers have moved away from training for strength to training for looks. This is probably true about a lot of people working out. Think about it, how strong do you need to be to go about your normal daily activities? There's a machine or tool designed to handle just about any task that would require a significant amount of effort to lift, push, pull, twist, tear, or move something in any direction. Now couple this with sedentary lifestyles and muscles have no stimulus to maintain tone, metabolisms can decrease faster, and fat levels increase higher. So other than for health reasons, the average person will take up exercise in hopes of molding their physique to their idea of what looks good.

And contrary to what you may read online, there's more than one way to do this. But one thing the best methods have in common is strength training, specifically progressive strength training. In order to change or adapt, the muscles need a reason, or stimulus, to strengthen, improve their tone, grow larger if that's what you're after, and grow stronger, which is a very good thing. Can you think of a situation where being strong is not a good thing? If you can please comment below.

Personally I think if there was not so much confusion and nonsense about training more people would realize the importance of progressive strength training and not be hesitant to design their training programs around this key element of fitness.


I know for a fact that some women are still fearful of developing "big, bulky muscles" if they add an element of strength training to their workouts. Sadly this myth is still being spread by some personal trainers. Ladies, if you believe it is easy to add muscles to your frame go into a gym and interview some of the males that are seriously working out toward that goal. Those that have succeeded and those that haven't yet will let you know it's not that easy.


For guys, something that's adding to the confusion are the theories floating around the web regarding transient hypertrophy and myofibril versus sarcoplasmic hypertrophy(fancy terms for muscle growth.) Certain online marketers, while trying to promote their own preferred methods by bashing hypertrophy training, are leading the misinformed to believe they'll reach their goals by using light weights and high repetitions. This fallacy might be causing some trainees to fail because they are not placing any emphasis on increasing their strength through progressive resistance. It's true that certain physique athletes train with the emphasis only on size, but that doesn't mean they are not strong. I've never met a very large muscular person whose main goal was getting huge that wasn't strong as hell. It's how you manipulate the many training variables that can determine the overall outcome of your training.


Of course for some, the drawback to performing strength training will be laziness or fear, or a combination of both. This is where proper progression is crucial. For the average new exerciser it's almost unthinkable to believe that in a matter of weeks or months they might possibly be using double or triple the resistance they are currently using. But realizing that by progressively increasing the resistance in manageable amounts as your muscles adapt to the current loads and get stronger should alleviate that fear. This might make the thought of strength training seem less unpleasant for those beginners that have not yet started enjoying the many rewards and benefits of regular exercise.

 

Comments  

 
medicla equipment
# medicla equipment 2010-10-20 06:39
i totally agree you don't have to look big to have strength, im not the biggest guy in the world but i surprise people why they see what i can do
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Monty
# Monty 2010-10-20 15:20
...do you have a workout that targets building the upper body (including core) AND achieving some level of higher cardio...EVEN THOUGH the person cannot use their legs, almost at all?

Hope all is well amigo!

Monty
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Aaron
# Aaron 2010-10-20 15:27
:-) Of course I do.

What's wrong with the legs?

All is well, how about you?
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Monty
# Monty 2010-10-21 00:15
Some punk kid took my left leg out (on purpose) during a simple play at the plate. Every single acronym you can think of, which makes up the left knee, is destroyed. I am waiting to be scheduled for the first of two surgeries, for some time next week.

I did find out, I'm a beast though...because, I'm walking with a brace, no crutches, and I'm not screaming in pain...as I am told I should be. So, that's a good thing, right? hahaha

Would love to hear about the kind of workout requested? You know where I am!

Monty

Monty
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Aaron
# Aaron 2010-10-24 17:28
Check your email. I just sent you something useful.
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Monty
# Monty 2010-10-25 09:33
Sweet! Thank you!

Once I do finally have the first of two surgeries (which "might" be this week or next), and start the recovery process, we should schedule a session or two to get me going again. I'm sure you've had experience with these kinds of injuries and can help me get going again. Need to get back to form, and do so as quick as the knee will allow me.

Hope all is well with you!

Monty
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Aaron
# Aaron 2010-10-25 21:59
You're welcome.
All is well,thanks.

Sounds like a plan. Keep me updated on your surgeries and how you're doing. I still need to come up your way and check out your gym.
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Monty
# Monty 2010-10-26 06:23
Absolutely, will do. I am trying to get a second opinion from a more experienced ortho, one who is more up on sport medicine. The Chargers ortho surgeon, Dr. Chao. We have a mutual friend, in the baseball world, will see how that plays out.

Look forward to seeing you again soon amigo!

Monty
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Monty
# Monty 2010-11-07 06:14
Surgery went well, which was this past Thursday. I am recovering, and enjoying the nice feeling of the good drugs! haha!

Dr. Chao was able to do everything at once; MCL, PCL, and ACL were all done. The worst was supposed to be Friday night and Saturday. And if that was supposed to be the worst of the days, as far as recovery is concerned, then it's safe to say I am past it. But, it really hasn't bothered me all that much, except for the fact that the leg feels like it weighs 150 LBS all by itself. haha!

Anyway...

Hope all is going well for you and the family! Look forward to possibly seeing you some time soon!

Monty
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Aaron
# Aaron 2010-11-07 17:05
Hey friend,
Great to hear that everything went well. :D
I take it some intense physical therapy is in store for you next?
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Monty
# Monty 2010-11-07 22:24
You aren't just whistlin' Dixie! I keep hearing all of the horror stories about the rehab, pain, etc...but, if I've been able to endure a month of the so called paid I have been "supposed" to be feeling, plus make it through Friday night and yesterday OK...my hope is that it won't be AS bad as everyone keeps telling me.

It was fun today. I watched the Chargers game, and saw Dr. Chao on the field, three times, helping injured Charger players...haha! That's the man who is my doctor. He is phenomenal! As is his ENTIRE staff, including Dr. Young...I can't EVEN say enough good things about them...would DEFINITELY give a recommendation for persons who need anything similar in the future.

As soon as I get my regiment, will definitely need to get together...and visit. Show you the new gym up here...and get some ideas...and look to get a few sessions going again, all in hopes to get me back on the field...as quickly and as strongly as possible! :D

Hope all continues to go well with you!

Monty
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Aaron
# Aaron 2010-11-13 15:29
You know a pro sports team is going to have the best, they have a major investment to protect. Good for you for getting him to do the surgery.
How is the recovery going now?
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Monty
# Monty 2010-11-14 07:21
Absolutely agree! But, come on, his team called me 3 times the following day, JUST to check up on me. They are AWESOME! And would recommend him to ANYONE who has a sports related Ortho issue. I mean, it never hurts to be a part of the small professional sports fraternity, but I saw all sorts of people coming out of their offices...it was very cool!

The knee if feeling great, and I am recovering very nicely. The knee has its ups and downs, simply because I'm probably pushing the knee a bit harder than I should, so it swells up, or gets tired quickly. I ice it, take an anti-inflamatory, and all seems to be well.

Start therapy on the 22nd, and not the 21st because the Chargers on Monday night football and Dr Chao has to be on the field. haha!

Look forward to seeing you soon amigo! Hope the fam is doing well!

Monty
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