Strength training and why I believe its relative to your goal
Last week was a fun week for me with training. I had finished my program and was waiting for my coach to prescribe my new program, so I took the opportunity to play with movements I rarely get to do in my usual program.
Movements such as sumo deadlifts, front squats and Olympic weightlifting. I have not done sumo deadlifts much at all, and it had been nearly 6 months for front squats, and almost 2 years for the Olympic lifts.
I was pleasantly surprised at my ability to lift substantially well considering the fact I had not done them much, or the time lapse between now and the last time was significantly long.
HIGHLIGHTS THIS WEEK:
2RM Sumo deadlift 160kgs beltless
1RM front squat 110kgs
Working sets of doubles at 75kgs (bodyweight) power cleans and jerks
Working sets of triples at 50kgs snatches
Upon reflection, all the reasons why this was possible, was due to the fact I have spent time building a strength base. My training revolves around strength training. Not cardio. My training revolves around building my capacity to lift more, rather than plateauing and lifting numbers that no longer challenged me.
This is the reason I have the ability to perform well in areas I do not train in.
Yes, to develop the technical aspect completely in the sumo deadlift and Olympic lifting I do need to dedicate time and practice into perfecting these lifts, (as well as invest in oly shoes again) but my ability to lift substantial numbers was there. In other words, I have the potential to do quite well and be competitive if I commit time to practice and refine/master my technique.
Another area this week where my strength training had a substantial impact was with my current fat loss goal. The last two weeks has marked my return from my hiatus of 6 months, and in effect I have tightened up my nutritional compliancy. Already I can see changes in my body (hips and stomach especially), a weight reduction on the scales and my clothes are feeling looser. I can assure you this was not a product of voodoo, diet fads or magic pills, just good ole fashion good food (bread, eggs, steak, full fat milk etc) in the right quantities and my body responding the way it has been trained to. Yes, trained to. Thanks to my strength training and my increased ability to eat more calories daily, my metabolism functions efficiently.
I could go another step further and report that the benefits of strength training have also balanced out my imbalances I had while I was doing crossfit a few years back. The specific activation exercises (not stretches) I use for warm up now (thank you Dr Andrew Lock)
have strengthened those specific areas, and have had long term carry over effects in maintaining my pain free status, and in general increased my ability to lift more.
Gone are the dull aches in the front of the hip, gone are the frequent trips to chiropractors and massage therapists, gone is the tight, sore lower back. (Turns out I have one leg shorter than the other and two differing hips sockets, which my mum also has I found out, which is for another blog).
Thanks again to consistent strength training and my activation/strengthening exercises.
This lead me to thinking about health and fitness related goals. Goals related to:
- Fat loss
- Muscle increase
- Body recomp (aesthetics)
- Strength increase (lift heavier)
- Everyday general health and well-being
- Sports performance
- Application to another sport/skill
I believe, from my experiences and education on strength training , the bulk of these goals are reached by people investing in an effective strength training program. They achieve these goals because strength training, unlike cardio, builds muscle. It increases bone density, increases metabolic rate (burning fat long after you have finished lifting), can be programmed for low impact and limitations, increases strength and power (making the body more efficient in life, work and sporting tasks) and assists in injury prevention/ rehabilitation provided you have the correct understanding of human mechanics. Not to mention it is a quantifiable way you can measure and regulate your progress that also makes strength training a vital component to reach goals.
This is why strength training is relative to your goal.