Western Campus Recreation

The Importance of Strength Training

A small disclaimer before we get into the bread and butter of this blog post. TECHNIQUE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!

Lifting with proper technique will allow you to safely lift the most amount of weight possible. If you need help with your squat, buy a book, search YouTube or ask one of our great trainers at Campus Rec.

Let’s get some basic information out of the way first: strength is the ability to produce force against an external resistance, and force is that which causes movement. Keep those definitions in mind throughout this.

Increasing strength is beneficial regardless of age, fitness goals or sport of choice (even if you’re not a powerlifter). Here are three examples of why strength training will make your life better.   

  1. Being stronger makes everything easier, literally.

By increasing your overall strength levels every movement you do becomes a relatively smaller percentage of your overall force production. Once you start squatting 100kg for reps, lugging that loaded backpack around campus doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore.

  1. Being stronger makes you a better endurance athlete.

That’s right, I said it….just hear me out. Every step in a race is a repetitive submaximal effort. Referring back to the above point, if you increase your overall strength, you are increasing your ability to exert force. This makes every sub-maximal effort even less of your total force production (easier).

Assume that each step uses 1% of your force production capacity. If you were to double your strength, each step would only use 0.5% (half as much as before) of your force production capacity. This now means you can run further before fatigue, or go faster (by producing more force per step) for the same distance.

  1. Strength training helps prevent you from breaking your hip.

Bone is living, stress-responsive tissue, just like muscle, ligament, tendon, skin, nerve, and brain. It adapts to stress just like any other tissue, and becomes denser and harder in response to heavier weights.

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. This leads to increased bone fragility and risk of fracture, particularly of the hip, spine and wrist. Statistics show that at least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime. Increased bone density through strength training has been shown to decrease these osteoporotic fractures. Squatting requires loading the skeletal as well as muscular system, causing not only an increase in muscle mass, but bone density.

 

These are just a few examples of how your life can be better by increasing your ability to produce force – increasing your strength. While some sports require more absolute strength than others (powerlifting), there should be no doubt that increasing strength is beneficial to more than just sports.