Why do you want to be strong? You can say for the health and performance benefits. You can say for the psychological effect. Lifting is a great activity, and in the right environment, it can be a social support system. There are many reasons why you should want to be strong. One that I think of often is more of an homage to our past. Coach Rippetoe writes about this is his book, Strong Enough. He writes, “Working toward a bodyweight press is a laudable goal. It provides an appreciation of, and a connection with, an important part of the history of weight training, a time when equipment was simple and training was straightforward. When you press, you train with Kono, Alexeyev, Starr, Grimek, and Cyr. When you press, you train much more than the shoulders and arms. You train the soul of the sport of barbell exercise.”
The example used is the press, but it can be applied to the other barbell lifts as well. I love the idea of training with the old timers, the men and women of the past, the ones who paved the way for us. I love the idea that I can be pressing in my cold garage in Fargo in 2018, and have some connection to Bill Starr, pressing basically the same barbell at York, with the same weights and the same gravity. I love that these lifts can connect people who know nothing about each other. Strength training can be the glue that binds folks of different generations, cultures, races, etc..
To finish, I’ll give one more quote from Coach Rippetoe, again in regard to the importance of training. “You owe it to yourself and the millions of lives that generated yours to live as though you appreciated it. Over and above the fact that you’re healthier — and as a result cost everybody less money and aggravation while you’re here — there is just something wrong with getting up everyday and moving through your existence with the least possible effort.” I try and keep this in mind when I least desire to train. The opportunity to train is a gift. Be grateful. Our bodies evolved over time to be stressed, strengthened, and challenged.