Jerry Answers Your Questions Part 3 - Why Strength Train? - Tucson Personal Training Blog

Jerry Answers Your Questions Part 3 - Why Strength Train? - Tucson Personal Training Blog

“I know building muscle and mobility is so important. I know I should do more strength training in my life, but my true athletic passions are yoga, mountain biking, and simple walking or hiking. What are your suggestions for getting into a better strength training discipline when I am so busy and gravitate towards other pursuits?”

Marie S. Tucson, AZ

Thank you for your question Marie!

Short answer: In anything we do, we have both a “what” as well as a “why.” Regardless of the pursuit, there must always be a “why.” In other words, if something is important to us, we find a way. If it is not, we find an excuse. It seems to me like the reason strength training is not on your agenda is because there is no “why.”

Long answer: All of the modalities you described in your question are awesome! I enjoy many of those activities myself. Yoga, for example, is both fantastic mobility work, as well as strength. Yogis who are able to perform the poses that require intense stabilization are usually very strong… although almost none of them do any conventional strength training (AKA weight lifting) per-se.

The example of the very strong yogi eludes to one of the key principles I believe: It’s summarized well by Mark Reifkind, “Strength fixes almost everything.” Professor Leonid Matveev said, “Strength is the mother of all physical attributes.” When two comparable athletes are put up against one another, the stronger one always wins… even if it is not a strength-oriented activity (running, hiking, yoga, etc.). You even mentioned in your question that you intellectually understand the value of strength as a physical attribute.

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So why so little desire to get strong? I suppose one reason could be is that you simply don’t need to. In modern life, being strong has simply become optional. When something is optional, that thing inherently gets moved to the bottom of the priority pile. If, heaven forbid, you injured yourself and needed physical therapy for the injured part of your body, the strengthening exercises they give you would suddenly get moved to the top of the pile… mountain biking will need to wait.

Please understand I’m not making fun of you. I’m no different. One of the biggest things I know I need to work on that I don’t, is grip training. It’s boring and I don’t enjoy it. Three months ago, I sustained an injury to my right ring finger that basically killed the grip strength on my right hand. All of a sudden, grip training and hand therapy became a twice-daily practice! 

The best advice I can give here is to find a type of strength training/programming that has the best carry-over to the activities you enjoy; a type of program where you could see a very tangible benefit. If we drew you up a very simple program that accomplishes those objectives, that you did as little as once per week and shortly after starting it, you immediately notice improvement in the other activities you enjoy, your ‘why’ would become clearer and the motivation to continue this type of strength training might find its way.

This is, of course, a big ‘maybe’. I’ve met many outdoorsy-type people that have never done any conventional gym-style strength training in their lives and got by just fine. The simple act of staying active kept their bodies in the ‘shape’ they desire.

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I know I’m an outlier here. Most of the time when you ask a car salesman if you need a new car, you can pretty much guess what their answer is going to be. I’m one of those weird car salesmen that will look at someone’s car that’s in great shape and tell them, “It looks great! Come see me in a few more years.” The translation of this analogy to my line of work is this: Sarcopenia is a real thing (age-induced loss of muscle mass). At some point later down the road, you may discover the things you are doing, although may have been fine in your 20’s and 30’s, may not be getting the job done anymore. In the meantime, keep up the great work!

Until next time,

 

Jerry Trubman is a coach, clinician, author, blogger, and powerlifting state champion. With over two decades of lifting experience, he has devoted himself to seeking out better answers, and distilling them into practical programs that produce great results. Jerry has coached "Team Protocol" to 4 National Powerlifting Championships in the 100% Raw federation. He writes the internationally-read blog, “The Healthy Addiction” and lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife Marie and dog Sadie. To subscribe to his blog, click here.

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