So in this blog we want to break down why a strength program is important for anyone, how you can go about it pending on the goal and why chasing it all maybe isn’t the best idea.
Who is a Strength Program for?
In short, everyone!
If you are looking to be fit and healthy for life then you need to be strong for it and be built to last! You want to be able to pick up your kids in the years to come. To be able to go for those walks along the beach on holiday. You want to be able to hike yourself up a hill on that Ski/Snowboard trip in the years to come.
If you compete in a sport such as rugby, football, maybe a MMA fighter or even a triathlete then a Strength program is only going to help you perform better and for longer.
Obviously if you compete, for fun or seriously, in something like CrossFit then you’ll know how important a good strength program is.
Strength training plays a key role in any program and any goal. This may look a little different for each of the above goals but the point is no matter the goal, you need a strength program thrown into the mix to keep you on track and making progress over the years to come.
How is a Strength Program different for different goals?
So, this will lead into a few separate blogs and videos to help those geeky among you deep dive a little deeper but here we will try and explain why strength training can and should be different pending on your goals.
Their training each year is geared towards a meet where they will perform the Back Squat , Bench Press and Deadlift to get the best total they possibly can by lifting the most weight they can across the three lifts.
All of their training across the year is built and biased towards those 3 lifts and accessory lifts to support those movements and therefor lift more weight. As with any sport they will rotate through phases of their training but they main goal all year will be those lifts and because of that you won’t see too much variation in their movements.
Their strength program will of course have variation in it with reps and sets across the year and their current timeline of training but the staples of their program is the big 3. Anything else programmed is pretty much only done so to improve those lifts.
Olympic Weightlifters much like the power lifters are training specifically to perform their best at certain lifts. In this case that would be the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. In it’s simplest terms to easily understand the differences here is that while Powerlifters are training to be their strongest at Back Squats, Olympic weightlifters are 100% going to be back squatting in their strength program. The biggest difference is the vast majority of lifters with the biggest back squats in weightlifting AREN’T winning in their chosen sport of weightlifting. There is a vast number of Olympic athletes who can outlift the champions in their weight class but the fact is they can’t beat them at the key lifts of the Snatch and Clean & Jerk.
This just shows that doing strength isn’t enough. You need to be doing strength work specific for your sport.
Longevity and general sexiness
If your goal is indeed longevity and feeling sexier then you need to be training most movements and following a good strength program that will help keep you progressing and getting strong (whole body strong not necessarily lift specific strong) over time rather than a quick fix type. You are looking for a stimulus rather than just focusing on Back squats. You want to make your whole body strong and as robust as possible rather than chase a single number to be able to perform at a set time of year.
Now, by all means use the Back squat numbers as markers if you enjoy doing them and it helps keep you consistent. Just don’t make it the be all end all number to chase. Doing stuff like Bulgarians split squat and cyclist squats and lunges etc will give you an equally good stimulus on strength training and help to keep you fit and healthy for years to come rather than learning to lift the most weight possible in something like a back squat.
So CrossFitters fall in line closer with the Olympic weightlifters, however their harder thing to deal with is the vast movements that they need to be ”Strong” at. They need to be good at the powerlifts, above average on weightlifting, whilst maintaining a good strength to weight ration for the gymnastics and more than robust enough to handle the volume of all the above. And that’s before we add in the chaos of Metcons 😛
Now, this sounds a bit impossible haha but trust me it can be done! However it means being smart with your training and having focus points at areas of your athlete lifecycle. If you try to improve all of them at the same time then you are going to get caught out either physically or mentally.
What does that mean? Well we will deep dive into this in a much more in depth blog coming soon. However for now know that it means being intelligent with your training to maximise your results over the long game and don’t get caught playing the short term game. Have focus points in the year where you will work on your raw strength of the big lifts such as Squats and Deads. During this period maintain your Oly lifts and maybe work on your strict gymnastics.
Then following that block start working hard on improving your Oly lifts with this new found strength and start building up your volume of gymnastics with the new strength gained there. You catch my point. Have a clear direction and work towards each one with purpose and dedication.
Why Can’t I have a Strength Program that does it all?
Simply, it won’t work and you won’t get much results in any…
Our bodies are built to adapt and that’s how strength training essentially works. We train a certain way, that sends a message to our brain and bodies that it needs to adapt to these new stressors being placed upon it. However if you send all the signals in the world to it then it just stays were it is at and doesn’t adapt to much of anything at all. Not to mention all these adaptations cost a lot of energy on the body in terms of resources (sleep, calories, training time and energy spent on performing the programs etc) and to expect your body to have much left to do much with it is a big ask. No matter what kind of genetic freak you think you are…
In short… it won’t work. Pick a specific goal and work towards that. If, like me, you see value in all of them or 2 of them then same rule applies much like to the CrossFitters (as much as that may hurt some of you 😛 ). If your goal is to be good at weight lifting and Powerlifting and you’re willing to accept that you will never quite maximise your true potential in any either one then alternate between the two and keep your toe in each when focusing on the other.
Maybe save yourself some time and trial by fire and talk to a Coach who can help you navigate the circus…
If you want to chat what this may mean for you and your goals then reach out and we will do our best to help guide you and if we can help you directly then we will!
Head Coach Milo