Mark Rippetoe’s book, Starting Strength
starts by saying that “physical strength is the most important thing in life” and
that this is true whether we want it to be or not. But I think we have to
question: is it really true? So what is the big deal about strength.
Well, strength is the greatest of physical attributes because it makes all
other physical abilities better. It’s the basis for all human and athletic
movement, and see this isn’t a two-way street it’s a one-way street. If I take a thirty year old female who is overweight, untrained, and she feels bad about the
way she looks and feels and so she wants to start some sort of exercise program.
She does hot yoga. Yoga will
make her hot and sweaty and tired. Those things are fine. It
will also certainly make her more mobile but it will not make her more strong. But
if I take the same woman out of the hot yoga studio and I put a
barbell on her back. I teach her how to squat and I get her strong and she
moves through full range of motion on the squats, not only did she get stronger,
she also got more mobile, her balance coordination and accuracy will get
better because of the neural efficiency gains she makes from strength. Power gets
better because power is a product of strength. Power is just strength
expressed quickly. Agility gets better because of force production increases.
She gets faster because she got stronger. She can jump higher because she got
stronger. So regardless of what the end goal is, we’re always going to start with
strength. It’s not because strength is the only thing we care about. We care about other things as well. It’s just that strength is going to make
everything else better. It’s going to give us the best bang for our buck or the
greatest return on investment for the smallest effective dose. In the beginning, we always start with strength. As we get stronger, we can actually perform
cardio more vigorously but when we focus on cardio our deadlift doesn’t go up.
We’re not able to go out and run a 5k and then pick up our lawnmower and put
it in the back of our truck. This is why strength matters. Strength matters because it helps old people get off a toilet and get in and
out of their car but it also helps Millennials get off video games internet
porn and cheetos which is something that most people don’t talk about. We have
to make the point that the physical change we achieve from strength is not
the only benefit we see from strength. Strength doesn’t just make us better
physically but it makes us better emotionally, mentally, and relationally as
well. When you find the person that’s walked through the journey of
going from extremely weak to very strong they were refined by the power of
voluntary hardship. When it does those things, it does something else that
most people won’t talk about. It builds confidence in us and a self-confident,
strong, healthy man or woman in America is not the norm but the exception.
Strength produces that exception and that’s why we start with strength.