“Strength” and more specifically, “strength training” can take on different meanings for different people. Over 15 years ago many trainers were primarily using machines to build strength, focusing on individual muscle. Most clients working with these often misguided trainers, focused on building beach muscles or burning fat. Injury prevention, functional strength, and sports specific training were almost unheard of in those days.
Specific tools like medicine balls, bodyweight, and kettlebells were considered less effective, old fashioned methods to use if someone was not fortunate to have access to machine systems, like Nautilus. In recent years however, there has been an explosion of information from fitness experts, gym trainers and competitors on the benefits of “old school” strength training, and there has been an influx in acceptance and education on these methods. It seems now everyone is strength training or doing some form of resistance training. Magazines regularly publish articles on strength training, functional strength, and mobility for all populations.
The benefits are abundant, the information plentiful, but the misconceptions are widespread.
The problem is that many trainers do not know the fundamental principles of breathing, muscle tension, program design, proper technique or how to progress someone to truly develop their potential strength, so they do not ever get to appreciate the true benefits of being strong in a functional way.
So how do you decide what program to follow, who to seek for guidance or even where to start?
You have to “load” the body with resistance carefully with the proper exercises and progressions. Many fad exercise programs and poorly educated trainers are unable to provide the stimulus to unlock the results many clients seek and deserve over months or years. Being strong does not just mean you can lift heavy things, it means:
- You have “armor” to protect you from potential injuries and stresses on the body
- Your posture will improve
- You will almost always perform better in any life activity that involves movement (hitting a golf ball, running, or even sitting)
- You will look healthy, youthful and toned
Numerous studies have proven the benefits of strength training and how this translates into measurable health effects including: increased bone density, lower blood pressure, and decreased stress. Strength training for women has also taken off, and for good reason. Women respond just as well to strength training or even better than men in many cases.
These benefits will not be accomplished or at least maximized by working with a typical trainer while doing a traditional strength training program. You have to work with a qualified expert in functional movement who can assess your patterns and fitness level before designing a personalized program that is best for your body.
At Empowered Strength we believe that the best tools to build your strength and health include kettlebells, your own bodyweight, and a carefully selected mix of other strength training practices that will maximize your results.
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