Strength training is not bodybuilding, strength training is not powerlifting, and strength training will not make you bulky.
The notions behind strength training give a very negative connotation to most people. Females are scared to strength train because they will get bulky (this is not true), soccer players should not strength train because they need to run fast (again this is not true), youth should not strength train because they will stunt their growth (biggest misconception), and the list goes on and on. These are just some of the common themes I hear and discussions I do have on a weekly basis.
Strength training has many positive implications ranging from overall health and longevity in life to the opposite end of the spectrum in sport performance. The ideas and the negativity behind strength training is very common due to easy access to poor information on the internet and the power of social media in today’s day and age. Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I saying the internet is bad and so is social media, I actually find them very helpful, but everything an individual reads on the internet or on social media needs to be taken with a grain of salt and dug deeper in to, in order to find the full truths.
The benefits of strength training will most definitely outweigh the negatives and I encourage everyone and anyone to strength train. Whether this is for sport performance, or this is purely for overall health and wellness, strength training has many positives that will outweigh the negatives. Some of the positives of strength training include;
For overall health and wellness, the reasons why we strength train include: (2)
- Increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
- Weight management
- Increase overall strength, increasing quality of life
- Reduce the risk of falls as we age
- Reduce the risk of metabolic disease
- Mental health, stress relief
For sport performance, the reasons why we strength train include: (1)
- Injury prevention
- Improvements in overall strength
- Increase bone density, reduces the risk of fractures
- Create stability, strength, and mobility through the various joints in the body
- Stress the body in movement patterns outside of the given athlete’s sport
- Increase in strength can aid in overall power development
- Improved sport performance
- Metabolic advantages, hormone regulation
- Proper biomechanical movement patterns
With the given reasons above as to why it is important to strength train, please remember this list is not fully inclusive. The above list covers areas I felt needed to be mentioned and areas in which I wanted emphasis to be drawn. Strength training and what we do in the gym can and should vary from person to person, and the manner in which athletes train should be very different from the manner in which the general public trains. I encourage everyone, to reach out to an educated, qualified, and reputable coach or trainer to help guide in the journey of strength training, and to aid in any manner that is needed and necessary. The goal of this post is to break the stigma behind strength training and break the negative connotations behind it that do negatively affect this industry. If there is any take away from this, I hope it can be the idea that strength training is important for any, regardless of sex, age, weight, lifestyle, athlete or not, strength training is important and is for everyone!
What we do today makes our body better for tomorrow.
Until next time,
Michael Silvestri, MS(c)
- McGuigan MR, Wright GA, Fleck SJ. Strength Training for Athletes: Does It Really Help Sports Performance? International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance 7: 2–5, 2012.
- Westcott WL. Resistance Training is Medicine: Effects of Strength Training on Health. 11: 8, 2012.