You should train for strength/power

Posted on April 6, 2011. Filed under: Misc | Tags: , , , |

As I have mentioned before all coaches are prejudiced.  The good ones realize this and keep themselves in check.


These biases are in the form of preferred exercises, training and nutritional philosophies.  One of my prejudices is that I believe in the all mighty and sacred goal of getting stronger.  Preferably stronger in a one repetition maximal lift.


For those not familiar a one repetition maximal lift or (1RM) is exactly how it sounds.  You progressively and intelligently, work your way up till you lift the maximum amount of weight you can for just one rep.


I think this is something everybody should do.  In fact not only should you test yourself, you should then sit down and figure out how to increase that max by 30-50 lbs in say the next six months.   I suggest doing this with a compound or multi-joint exercise, non explosive.  This leaves out cleans, jerks, and snatches.  And would involve Standing presses, deadlifts, squats, and variations of these exercises.


I have intentionally left off bench pressing, simply because there tends to be an over-romanticized view on this exercise.  Especially with guys.


Every one should train like this at least once in their life.  Not just for the strength benefit.  But for the benefit to your mind and body.


The drawback with always training for an aesthetic look be it in bodybuilding, fitness, figure, or bikini competitions.  Or even just for fat loss is that there is a usually a psychological barrier to contend with.  Some find their way through the process of it and are made the better because of it.  Many though become obsessive, and even paranoid about the state of their physique.


I know when I did natural bodybuilding I never felt like I was good enough.  I was always missing  something, in some area.  Either greater ‘fullness’ or ‘sweep’ or balance between my bicep peaks.  On one side I enjoyed the challenge of it, but the end result was never a great enough reward for my mental state.  I see the same for my clients, with a slightly different twist.


they know they are getting stronger, and their clothes are fitting looser.  But it’s hard for them to truly see the results, that others are seeing.  You can tell them they are looking good a hundred times.  But it goe in one ear and out the other.  This is why I advise all clients to take photos.  Some don’t feel comfortable having me take them, so I encourage them to do it for their own records.


This helps them to visually see.


I’ve had people ask me how can someone with an eating disorder not see the damage they are doing to themselves.  One of the reasons i what they see in the mirror is not what everyone else sees.


I have a client who has worked with me about a year off and on depending on schedule.  Lost 30 lbs of fat so far.  Knew they were getting results, even joked about me being a “wardrobe killer,” as now none of their old clothes fit anymore.  But it did not truly click for them until recently one day coming out of the shower they noticed something.  A line, in their stomach.  The abs were becoming visible.  Since that day, the mentality has shifted.  They were committed before, but now it is real to them.


I find for clients this to be a common occurrence, they are satisfied with the progress they make.  But until they see that line in their arms, the new V taper in their favorite outfit, or just that instance when “oh my gosh, that guy/girl is checking me out!,” than it becomes real.


Strength though, is much more instant gratification.  Either you lifted the weight or you didn’t, end of story.


When pursuing this I encourage having a proper coach, or at least someone who is not going to let you cheat.


You learn so much about your self in the process as well.  Physically you learn where your weak points are.  For example, with my DB shoulder press experiment.  I learned that I am stronger and more stable on my left than my right.  Not by much, but still.  I also learned I could be a little stronger in my connection between my rhomboid and rear delt.  So I will be adding in some light upright row work into future routines.

I also learned I could be stronger in my mid back.  So I will be mindful of my form and mechanics when I train my back.  I may be allowing other muscles to compensate too much.


You also learn something about yourself mentally and spiritually when you train for strength in a 1RM.


When you train for a 1RM, there is no quick ending.  The weight move slow, like a giant clock work gear.  You use every muscle fiber, every motor neuron you can recruit to move the weight.  Many a time I have heard a person say after they failed a lift that the muscles did not give out, their focus did.  It is much more mental than physical.


On top of everything else there is just something different about a person who has earned their strength.  They walk a little taller, look at things a little different.  They have personal proof if they work hard, work smart, and work right results will come.  And no personal issue can take that from them.


It’s not jut set in stone, it’s set in iron 😉



Best Health,

Coach W


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