Every week there will be a new training system or trend which causes shockwaves across the ‘’fitness’’ industry before falling flat on its face. Why is that? Purely because people become accustomed to it and realise it isn’t what it was initially supposed to be. They then realise that there is nothing which will out do hard work, determination and going ‘’back to basics.’’ In my opinion going back to basics means lifting with basic compound lifts and getting stronger. Strength might not be your goal but I would encourage you as a male or female to get stronger IF –
. You want to be lean
. You want to be healthy long term
. You want to improve your shape
The bench press, deadlift and squat are 3 of the most basic movements in the weight lifting world. In my experience if you are strong on each of these exercises you are instantly ahead of the game. Building lean muscle tissue, burning body fat and sustaining balance within your physique which helps counter act injuries due to imbalances.
Being strong helps burn body fat because heavy lifting requires huge amounts of energy due to the level of exertion during the lift. Whenever you see a middleweight powerlifter you will notice that they are often absolutely shredded yet they eat a hell of a lot of food and do no cardio as a generalisation. This style of training creates a 24/7 elevated rate of calorie burning and it also improves glucose tolerance.
In relation to gaining muscle mass being strong really helps. The chances are most of the work you have done to try and build muscle up until now is ‘’hypertrophy’’ based which means 8-15 rep range. Great, but this will have almost exclusively stimulated sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Strength lifting focusses on myofibrillar hypertrophy which could potentially offer a new pathway to gain more mass especially if you haven’t explored this before.
One of the world’s leading S&C coaches Phil Richards once told me if you want to be injury free long term then get strong. At first it took a while to take it in, surely lifting heavy weights increases the chances of injury I thought. In hindsight Phil’s words were right in many ways because to be ‘’strong’’ means to pay attention to the smaller details. You care about keeping balance within the smaller muscles, the ones you can’t see as well as the ‘’mirror muscles’’ which most ‘’bodybuilders’’ focus on. Therefore if you get strong (with foundations in place) then it stands to reason you will be healthier long term as well.
Be smart, get strong!