Strength means something different to everybody. Some have images of bodybuilders, others conjure up intangible concepts like “strength of character,” but for us, we have a very simple definition: the ability to produce force against an external resistance. Strength is lifting your bag of groceries out of the cart and carrying it to your car. Strength is picking your suitcase up and putting it in the overhead bin. Strength is being able to do physical tasks in life that have some component of applying force to objects. To get strong, we are going to need a strength program, the specifics of which I will discuss in the next article. For now, I want to lay the foundation for the importance of strength as a physical ability.
It should be clear that strength is not a nice to have ability; strength is critical, especially the older you get. Strength could mean the difference between living a life of independence or relying on others to take care of you. Strength could mean the difference between doing all of the activities and hobbies into old age or having to stop.
Think of life and all that you want to do as your competition. Strength training is your preparation for that competition. As Dr. Jonathon Sullivan would say, consider yourself an athlete of aging. Our goal is to develop strength in a simple, programmable, scalable way and then apply it in our everyday lives.
So, you understand by now that strength is important, but where do you begin? First, look into hiring a coach. The barriers to entry in personal training are low, and you want to be sure that your money is being spent productively. The Starting Strength Coach credential is the only certification that requires its coaches to demonstrate first and foremost the ability to coach live athletes in real time. There are other components to our certification, and you can read more about it here. A good coach will take you through the basic exercises and figure out where you are today. Then, we’ll slowly add weight, allowing your body to recover and adapt at a pace suitable for your ability. The amazing thing about strength is that while it might take longer to develop, it last for a very long time. Consider your strength program and training as an investment into your retirement. It’s never too late to start!