If you’re at all into fitness you are probably wondering about strength; why do we need strength, how to build it, how to maintain it, and what other facts are there that you already don’t know. The answer(s) to these burning questions are not simple and there is NO QUICK WAY that doesn’t involve artificial hormones. Don’t do that.
Strength is an absolutely vital component of overall health. The reason you walk upright – strength, the reason you can walk around without pain in your joints – strength, etc. etc. If you didn’t catch the point, strength is not only for “fitness/aesthetics.” Your overall health and well-being are tied directly into the strength of your body. Ever wonder how to strengthen your bones? You strengthen your musculature. Crazy, right? Our bodies are awesome. We won’t even get into the health benefits; physical and mental, of maintaining strong muscles.
Anywho…strength is not bilateral. Meaning, your left side, and your right side are NOT EQUAL IN STRENGTH UNLESS YOU TRAIN THEM TO BE THAT WAY.
Now, how do you build strength? That one is easy; consistent strength and conditioning exercise paired with a proper lifting program. I guess it’s not THAT easy, it takes work. A lot of work. Like I said above, you can’t build strength overnight. You need to stay consistent and ask for help if you don’t know what you are doing. Also, when following a program, make sure that you vary your exercises/program every so often to avoid getting bored and hitting plateaus.
Maintaining strength has pretty much the same principle as building muscle; consistent strength and conditioning exercise. It takes a lot of effort to BUILD the muscle, but you don’t have to work as hard (comparatively) to maintain your gains. That’s not saying that you can go to the gym 1x per week and sorta-workout, but you don’t have to be as regimented. You just cannot allow yourself to fall off the wagon, so to speak. Eric Cressey says it best, “I’m always surprised at how much volume it takes to attain a level of fitness, but how little volume it takes to maintain that level of fitness.”
As to facts about strength, I’m going to give you 10. It’s just a tiny drop in the overall bucket, but it’ll help you better understand that fitness, strength and conditioning, and overall health are tied together.
- The body has over 650 muscles
- The strongest muscle in your body (based on size/weight); masseter. It’s located in your jaw.
- Strength training is beneficial to expecting-mothers but it should be monitored
- Connective tissues are strengthened by proper strength training
- Having a good workout buddy can lead to better strength gains
- There is such a thing as “overtraining” and it’s detrimental
- Anyone of any age can benefit from a strength training program that is properly programmed and monitored
- Flexibility is not built by strength training, but flexibility is needed for proper function
- Men and women between the ages of 20 and 30 typically hit their “peak” muscle strength
- Strength training can help with balance issues