So you’ve heard of strength training, but you’re not sure if it’s right for you. Trust us, it is. Regardless of age, physical fitness, or goals – strength should be most people’s top priority. Strength is considered the Master Physical Quality by many because it affects everything from running long distances to picking up heavy objects. Strength training improves flexibility, joint mobility, bone density, insulin sensitivity and hormone balance, muscular and connective tissue strength, and cardiovascular capacity.
One of the biggest benefits of lifting weights is that it can be safely progressed or regressed based on the trainee’s skill level and current physical state. A barbell gives you the ability to increase or lower resistance in a safe, controlled manner unlike other modalities of training. This also makes it very easy to keep track of your progress in a quantitative manner. While sometimes we judge success based off whether something felt better or easier, it can be difficult to plan long term with qualitative assessment. When we have physical numbers to go by, it’s much easier not only to gauge the success of a program but to plan days, weeks, or months in the future as well.
A big misconception about strength training is that it’s only for young, supple athletes. It’s become a common occurrence to hear anyone over 25 years old claim that they are “too old” to lift weights. This is simply not true. There is no age cut off to moving your body – and for all our sakes, let’s hope the cut off is not 25! Lifting weights in a correct, safe, and effective manner can be done at any age from young children to senior citizens. It has a plethora of benefits, keeps your body and mind strong, and can aid in most of the chronic ailments people face – namely back pain. Many people that believe they are too old to lift weights have never done it correctly, may have sustained an injury or two, and are afraid to go through it again.
That is where a Starting Strength Coach comes into play. Starting Strength Coaches are trained to teach proper form with one thing in mind: get as strong as possible as safely as possible. Being strong in today’s world means you can do the things you love more often, have the confidence to pick up any heavy object, and live a very healthy life. Being weak often means the opposite. All it takes is one session at Cox Barbell Club and we’re confident you’ll have a classic “light bulb moment”. With Cam Cox as your coach, you’re guaranteed results both in and out of the gym. You’ll look better, feel better, and move better than you ever have – so what are you waiting for?
Strength Training for the Recreational Athlete
One of the worst myths about strength training is that it will make athletes “muscle bound” and worse at their sports. This effects recreational athletes most of all – those who run, swim, bike, play tennis, etc. as their main hobbies outside of work and life. Many recreational athletes avoid strength training for fear of getting hurt, becoming slow and bulky, or because they simply don’t know what to do in the weight room. Often those that do lift weights resort to the classic bicep curl – ab crunch workout that we all learned in high school. If this is your idea of a workout, you may be correct in the preconceived notion that it won’t improve your performance.
A true strength training program incorporates lifts that use the most amount of muscle, range of motion, and resistance to be effective. Bicep curls and ab crunches, while fun, do not meet these
criteria. The best movements for getting stronger in your sport are squats, deadlifts, overhead press, and bench press. These movements build strong connective tissue around injury prone joints like the knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, and spine – ultimately helping you stave off injury and keeping you in the game longer. Sometimes it’s not the best athlete that wins, it’s the one that lasts the longest. If you want to outlast the competition, strength training is your secret weapon.
Maybe squats and deadlifts have been in your program before but have only led to pain and injury. This is very common, but the lifts themselves are not to blame. Most people learn to lift weights through youtube or Instagram videos, magazine articles, or having a “fit” friend show them the ropes. While these methods may do a good job of getting you in the gym, they should not be anyone’s go-toeducational tools.
Starting Strength Coaches like Cam Cox are trained, tested, and educated on the proper execution of each exercise. Coaches aren’t quizzed on a multiple choice exam to see if they know how to memorize a bunch of anatomical jargon – they’re tested on the platform by head coaches in a display of knowledge, strength, and coaching proficiency. That means that by the time you step foot in Cox Barbell Club, you can have the confidence in knowing your coach knows what he’s talking about. Sadly, this can’t be said for most personal trainers in most gyms.
A Starting Strength Coach understands the physics and biomechanics of each lift in a way that will change how you think about the squat, deadlift, and press. Each lift must be performed correctly to progress through the program, and your joints will thank you for it.
How will Squats and Deadlifts improve athletic performance?
Let’s imagine that each step you take in a run is a percentage of your body’s maximum effort – otherwise known as strength. The easiest way to measure strength is to quantify it. The most common and universal measurement of strength is a one-rep-max, or 1RM. For the runner, let’s imagine their 1RM in a squat is 100lbs. If each step in a run requires 10lbs of force, each step is 10% effort relative to their 1RM. If we increase this runner’s 1RM squat to 200lbs, 10lbs now becomes 5% of their 1RM, meaning that each step is now more efficient.
Outside of improving the runner’s speed or time, less effort per step also means less force on the joints being used. Common running injuries like hip or knee pains often stem from the joints taking the brunt of the force rather than the muscles. If the muscles become more active and efficient at handling loads, the joints are more supported and protected. As athletes get older, they just want to perform without pain – and strength training is the key.
Your muscles and connective tissue are the only things supporting your bones and joints. Aerobic training makes the muscles more efficient at using oxygen but does not make them stronger. Connective tissue does not get stronger through constant pounding and repetitive motions – it gets fatigued. As the muscles fatigue, the tendons and ligaments must take over some of the load. Over time this can lead to pain and injuries that are easily avoided through getting stronger. Lifting weights may not be your main sport, but it is imperative for improving anyone’s performance and staving off injury.
What are you waiting for? Get the leg up on your competition and start strength training – the right way – at Cox Barbell Club in James Island, South Carolina. With Cam Cox as your coach, you’ll learn the true meaning of strength and conditioning.