The Oxford dictionary defines strength as a mixture of being physically strong, being able to handle great force or pressure, as a potent mixture, a good and beneficial quality and the number of people comprising a group.
However, as we know it is something that is not easily attainable, and there are times where our strength dips, and explodes above and beyond what we are capable of. Anyone ever moved a car when someone you loved was in danger of being hurt? No? Me neither and I hope I never need to.
What we need to do is understand how we get it, as it’s one of the best motivators (and demotivators) known in the fitness world. If you have ever been completing an exercise training program, and all of a sudden your max drops, and your numbers seem to be going backward. Then all of a sudden after a week or two, they are back up, better than they were, then you know exactly what I am talking about.
Everybody has a degree of strength attributed to their being. Whether you run, lift, ride a bike, wrestle cows, or sit behind a keyboard, you have a strength that is associated to you. It’s not associated to your training buddy, to your bike, to the bull with the long horns, or that server that is sitting unbalanced on a chair in a server room, it’s asociated with you. You have the ability to make yourself stronger. Not only in the mind, but in body and spirit.
Hopefully, if you are like me and students of the School of Strength, you will use everything and anything that is in front of you to get stronger. Slosh balls (or commonly referred to as the “Red Ball of Death”), ropes, drums, tyres, as well as the conventional means will get you strong. When you get strong, all your other pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. Want to lose weight? Get strong. Want to pack on muscle? Get strong.
The million dollar question is how do we get strength, and therefore stronger? The only answer to this question is do what you love. If you love riding your bike, but hate lifting weights, then ride the bike!!! Instead of spinning the cogs going up a hill, flick it to the highest gear, get out of the seat, and climb. If you love lifting weights, and hate the idea of running, then load the bar up, and LIFT!!! If you love running…well you get the picture. Instead of just running with one foot in front of another, try sprinting, or even running backwards on an oval. Don’t do something that you hate, just because someone said it’s the best way. Your trainer and coach should tailor your sessions around what you love doing, what needs to be done from an exercise standpoint, and what is essential to meet your goals.
Where it gets confusing for the general public is sets, reps, rest periods, and weights used, and here is a little tip. Just do a little bit extra. If for example, you deadlifted 80kgs for 3 sets of 6 reps, and next time deadlifts came around, you did 80kg for 3 sets of 8 reps, well guess what? You just got stronger!!! If you held a sprint going up a hill for 10 seconds before reverting back into the saddle for a breather. Next time on the same hill in the same gear, you held that sprint for 15 seconds, you did it again. You got stronger.
Here is my little final tip, and for some people this will be the “AHA” moment. Let’s say your goal for this year is to hit 100kgs on a squat. Load that bar up with 100kgs, and take a photo. Get it in your mind what that weight will look like. As you get stronger, and get closer to your goal, you may even get under the bar, and unrack it, just to feel what the weight feels like. Same goes if you are struggling to get stronger on the bike. Take your camera, or your phone, and take a couple of photos of the hill that wrecks you, and study it. Understand at which point in the climb you find it hard, and then look for like areas that you can train on. You will find sooner, rather than later, that weight and that hill will become your friend, and then bigger and better things will await you.
We have all wanted to give up, because it was too hard, or progress was slow. But what makes us not quit, and come back for more? How do we harness those thoughts of success, and then control it to improve our strength?
I’ll discuss motivation in-depth in my next blog
“You want to be strong? Then you must learn to deal with your mind. The body will follow where the mind leads.”
School of Strength motto