Year round, day or night, awake or sleeping, your body’s muscles are working. Strength training is the process of exercising this muscular system with weighted resistance. Developing a safe, efficient and effective program is one of the five essential elements of optimal health. (strength training, cardiovascular training, nutrition/weight management, mind/body connections and flexibility training.)
Strength can be defined as the ability to apply force. This relies on the neuro-muscular capability to overcome an external and internal resistance. Therefore, strength training involves using training techniques that help to increase the athlete ability to apply force. The development of strength should be of prime importance for anyone seeking to improve athletic performance. Even athletes that competed in the ancients Olympic Games realized the importance of strength training, and used primitive strength training techniques to take advantage of it’s benefits. However, it is still common for many coaches, particularly endurance coaches, to overlook the benefits that can be gained from strength training.
Why not aerobics…?
“Aerobic” activity is not the most effective form of exercise for fat-loss. Steady state activities such as running, cycling, dancing, etc. do not burn a significant number of calories! One pound of fat can fuel the body for up to 10 hours of continuous activity. “Aerobic” activity is simply inefficient for this purpose!
The most important contribution that exercise makes to a fat-loss program is the maintenance of muscle tissue while fat is lost. Strength training is the only reliable method of maintaining muscle tissue. Aerobics can actually cause you to lose muscle tissue!
Limb and Muscle Length
Another strength factor that is naturally determined is limb length. Persons with short limbs tend to be able to lift more weight because of advantageous leverage factors. Similarly, differences in strength development may come about because of variation in muscle length. Some people have long muscles, and some people have short muscles. Persons with relatively long muscles have greater potential for developing size and strength than persons with relatively short muscles.