*The title of this post was taken from the Sheryl Crow song of the same name*
What does it mean to be strong?
It means one thing to a high school football player, something else to a competitive powerlifter, a post-menopausal woman concerned about osteoporosis, or someone who has spent the last two decades pushing no more than a pencil to paper or keys on a keyboard.
And honestly, what’s the value in it?
For starters, there is something to be said about progress. When you can barely lift a given weight for 10 repetitions one day only to come back a week later and get 12,13, or 15 reps from the same weight, it feels good.
That little voice that sneaks in to say “Yeah! I did that!”
To be able to chart over time, how your body responds to higher weights or more repetitions of a given weight can have an almost exhilarating effect on some.
And yes, I’m showing my bias. I support my family by helping people find that strength.
I love seeing people get stronger. I love the confidence I can see in their face when they do something they previously thought they couldn’t. I love the physical results of someone who compounds that strength over time and partners it with a reasonable food plan.
Strength does mean different things to different people (as it should.)
For one person, the strength to do a proper push-up is enough to make their week.
For another, it’s being able to bench press more than their body weight or perform a pull-up.
And it can be easy to get caught up in what others do as well. Since some of my clients have been beating their personal records week in and week out, they’re routinely hopping on the internet to watch others do the same as a way to get more motivation.
My professional advice is to get as strong as you can with as few injuries as possible. With greater strength comes greater trauma to the body and with trauma comes risk. Those risks are not always preventable but they can certainly be mitigated.
Get strong enough to know you’re making progress. Then determine how you want that progress to continue.
Will you go for more reps next time or more weight? They both count.
There’s no age limit on the ability to get strong either. “King” Richard, who I’ve written about before, is nearly 78 years young and he recently hit a new personal record on the bench press (even though we were working his traplift fairly aggressively for awhile.)
All it takes to get stronger is your will to do so.
Just ask John, who pulled a massive 470×2 yesterday.