Discuss any subject matter – from gardening to sky diving with a group of people, and you are sure to get different opinions from everyone. That’s because no two poeple have the exact same experience, and therefore relate things in their own unique way. Below I’ve gathered the opinion of some of the fitness industry’s best, discussing what strength and strength training means to them. Soak in their knowledge, and be sure to add your own response in the comments below!
What It Means To Me…
To me, strength training is respecting your current level of potential, while knowing how to change and improve things if you work hard enough. The big lesson I learned from lifting heavy stuff, is that if something is not the way you want it to be, then a focused effort will change that. It has taught me to persistently strive towards my goals in and out of the weight room. The iron is always working against you and once you learn that and accept the challenge and strive to overcome it – then things working against you in life will turn into conquered goals instead of obstacles.
Your strength is not my strength. Many different forms of strength exist, such as physical and mental – but the one factor in common between all of them is what strength is all about, at least to me: constant strive for improvement. I hope I can express that state of mind through my site. Welcome!
What It Means To FJ…
I want you to think of a 250lbs man sitting down at a bench station with an intense look in his face. He’s not exactly an ideal example of the perfect physical specimen, but he isn’t the worst thing you’ve seen either. He’s got a bit of a gut, and maybe an extra chin, but you know that if he took a swing at your face, you’d see the 4th dimension from an inverse perspective.
Now I want you to imagine him lifting 200lbs off the rack, benching it a few times, re-racking it, followed by a proud and glorified expression on his face. Would you call that impressive? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t. Personally, I think that’s weak sauce. But what’s important to understand is that neither of our opinions mean jack shit.
Maybe he just started benching. Maybe he’s coming back from an injury. Maybe he truly is weak… you never know. The only opinion that matters is of the guy benching – that’s it. If he thinks that’s the best lift he’s done in his entire life, then by all means he has every reason to be proud.
And that’s the point I’m getting at. When most think of pure strength training, they probably imagine a powerlifting meet where a bunch of hardcore tank heads pound the iron and breathe chalk dust instead of air. Not so. While being a complete tank is respectable, true strength is all about being the strongest at your potential. Beating your own records. Trying to compete against the past you, so your future you can be stronger, faster, sexier, smarter and generally less lame.
To me, that’s what strength training is all about. Well that, and getting hot chicks.
What It Means To JC…
Strength training is my aggression regulator. When I feel the need to release my rage and anger, strength training is often what can take me to my special place of letting go. The gym is where I continually improve myself both mentally and physically. Forget silly cardio sessions, I shoot for 20-rep widow-maker squats. Without strength training, I’d be without a job and most likely in a psychiatric ward playing ping-pong with the local crazies.
What It Means To Jon…
Strength is being an individual inside the weightroom and out. Too often we fall victim to the faustian bargain (trading our genius and artistry for apparent stability). Walk into a gym, how often do you see people lifting differently? Trying new things? Getting off of the treadmill and doing some farmer’s walks?
I argue that these people are afraid to stand out. These people are afraid because they think that somebody, somewhere that they don’t know (and shouldn’t care about) will think that they are weird for working on Olympic Lifts in a commercial gym. So they resign to running for 30 min at 65% on a treadmill to stay in the “fat zone” and lifting weights for 3 sets of 12 reps.
The truly strong don’t fall into this trap. They challenge not only themselves but common thinking day in and day out. To me, the definition of strong is avoiding a faustian bargain.
What It Means To Bret…
There are many different types of strength. You have “weight room strength,” which involves the combination of leverages, muscle mass, neural drive, and technique. There are plenty of sub-categories of strength; concentric, isometric, and eccentric strength. Then there’s maximum/limit/absolute strength, explosive/speed strength, reactive/elastic strength, relative strength, starting strength, top-end strength, and finally, strength endurance.
So there are plenty of types of “weight room strength,” but you also have “on the field” and “inner strength.” On the field strength is dependent on how well an athlete knows the sport and understands how to position his body to maximize his leverage. For this reason many less-strong guys can outperform their stronger counterparts. A for inner strength, qualities like dedication, drive, commitment, integrity, passion, and resolve contribute to create this valuable characteristic.
What It Means To Jordan…
Strength is the foundation of ones continued success. Those who are strong physically, mentally, and emotionally are the ones who will achieve their ultimate goals regardless of the situation. They make no excuses. They give no justifications. There are those who have the will, desire, and motivation to do what is necessary, and there are those who don’t.
Simply put, strength is a prerequisite of success. There are no “if’s”, “and’s”, or “but’s” about it; if you truly want to succeed you must be willing to get strong. It wont be easy and there will inevitably be obstacles to overcome, but the difference between those who “make it” and those who “don’t” is determined by the individuals desire to constantly grow and become stronger. Do you want to be strong? If so, then I believe you’ve come to the right place.
What It Means To Roger…
The funny thing about strength is that no matter how strong you are, it never gets any easier, but that’s also what makes it one of the most rewarding pursuits that there is. Unlike many things in this world, strength is never given, but earned only through consistant, purposeful action.
To me, strength is a philosophy; a way of living. It means being prepared for whatever is thrown my way, both inside the gym and out. When I strengthen my mind, my body follows suit, and vice versa. I become more resilient to the nonsense; more willing to say no to the things that don’t matter in life, yes to the things that do and aware of how to discern between the two.
The iron teaches you so much about yourself – are you the type of person who gives up once constant progress becomes harder and harder to come by, or are you going to step outside of your comfort zone and do what it takes to progress no matter what?
Pay attention to how you answer, because it may very well affect how you live your life.
What it means to Mark…
I’m past the point where strength training is about vanity or ego (okay…not totally, but mostly). I’m at the point now where strength training is more about health and being able to keep up with my daughter and being around for long enough to celebrate the events in her life.
That is not to say that I don’t appreciate the effects that lifting heavy stuff has on my physique, the clang of the iron, or the feeling of the almighty pump. These things are in my blood.
But my overall perspective on life has changed since having a child and the focus of my training has changed as a result.
What It Means To Chase…
Strength training. Those two words have had a huge impact on my life. The lessons I’ve learned in the gym have been invaluable. Discipline, Respect, Courage, Motivation, Hard work, Integrity, Trust, Patience, Discomfort, Pleasure, Pain, Persistence and Desire – I have learned firsthand the meaning of all of these words while in the gym. Strength training is about much more than big arms or the amount of weight you lift though. Strength training doesn’t define me as a person, but it’s helped to mold me into the man I am today. All of the lessons I’ve learned in my many years under the bar have translated into all aspects of my life.
From my education, career and relationships to dealing with the stresses of everyday life – strength training has had a major impact. For those of you who don’t share the same passion of strength this may sound crazy or even asinine to you. And that’s fine; I don’t expect everyone to understand it. All I know is that strength training means a lot more to me than how I look or what I lift. Strength training develops not only physical strength, but it develops the true potential of the body and mind.
What it means to Jaime…
When people hear the phrase “strength training” many get confused by the meaning. Going to the gym to do a few sets of bench, and curls so you can look good on a Friday night is not strength training. Sure that might be an added bonus/result from strength training, but strength training is about setting goals to improve ones self. Your drive to be better than yesterday. Not just physical strength but mental strength as well. The satisfaction of moving more weight in sled, getting a half inch more in your vertical, pushing out one more rep in a pull up, better recovery between shifts in a game, or just performing your damn best in a sport or gym. That is what strength training means to me. Strength training is finishing your workout knowing you made your self better.
What It Means To Jody…
I plan on working out till I can’t anymore which means I am no longer on this earth! I do want to mention that after 30 years, my feet took a toll & without my Hoka One One shoes, I would not be working out. Yes, they are running shoes but they saved my working out life! If you do running or hiking or walking to supplement your workouts, check them out!
I first want to mention that I will be 54 in November so how I feel now is different than when I started lifting weights 30 years ago. Back then, it was just part of my routine with cardio & aerobics classes being more important. I did know enough to realize that weights would make me look better & firm too.
It was not until my mid 30’s that I got really serious about weights, meaning they became my love vs. just doing them them. I did my first bodybuilding contest in my late 30’s. It was at this time that I really built & saw my muscles and I LOVED IT! I loved looking strong & muscular & did not care that some guys did not like it! I was married anyway! Now in my 50’s & still working out & lifting like crazy, I still LOVE the way I look with muscles. Staying lean is a lot harder at this age but worth it! More importantly, as I age, to be able to take care of myself & lift heavy things without help & do so many regular day activities that many people my age & younger can’t do – well, the proof is there – weights have not only made me look great BUT live life actively & healthier as I age!
What it means to Mike…
I plan on working out till I can’t anymore which means I am no longer on this earth! I do want to mention that after 30 years, my feet took a toll & without my Hoka One One shoes, I would not be working out.
Strength training to me is simply the ability to overcome I love the challenge that today I can’t lift X amount of weight, but soon I will be able to in the near future.
Over the years I have learned it is not a matter of can’t as much as it is a matter of WHEN.
One of my current goals is to lift the Dinnie Stones in Scotland. They are 2 odd shaped stones with metal rings stuck in them and weight a combined weight of 734 lbs, with the front one weighing about 100 lbs more. To do the lift, you must straddle the stones and lift them for a rotated, off axis, position. On my best days now using replica rings loaded with weight I am at about 500 lbs. While this is up from around 400 lbs when I first did the lift about 9 months ago; I still have 234 more pounds to go. And then do it in new country where it is damp, cold and step up without a warm up and lift the stones.
In the past I would have thought this was an impossible idea. Now I realize it WILL happen, it is just a matter of time. I just get strong enough, grab the rings and stand up!
The skill to overcome can be transferred to ALL aspects of your life. Too many people never apply the valuable lessons they learn from the weights to the rest of their life. My buddy Frankie calls this “lateral transfer.” You apply the same skill set, just in a new context. This skill, the ability to overcome, has been incredibly useful in my life. I know that I will achieve what I set out to do, I just don’t know when or sometimes even how! But, given enough time, I will achieve it.
I Want To Know What Strength Training Means To You!
Leave your response in the comment section below.
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