A big reason our business is named “Southwest Strength” is that we believe strength is the most important aspect for an individuals health, longevity and performance. We also believe it enhances people’s self esteem and improves body composition significantly.
We use the “bigger” type lifts in our training to get stronger – Deadlift, CGBP, Press, Back Squat, Front Squat – Pull-ups/Dips. In my opinion, these are the most important lifts a person can do for their health, body composition and performance. Reason being? It is the recruitment of the entire body when performing them. Try doing a back squat without bracing your spine and core, how did that work out?
I think there is a common misconception that these lifts are dangerous and unsafe. If you have come to any our classes, done any personal training or are currently on an individual program, you know @ SWS we always make sure your mechanics are efficient and appropriate before even adding load. If a coach tells you to deadlift or back squat heavy on your first day, they are an idiot.
Incorporating tempo training into these lifts has allowed for maximal muscle contractions, we have seen good results using this with – squats, deadlifts, pressing, pull-ups/dips. We love the control during these lifts as it allows people to really feel and understand how their body moves while performing the lifts. Example, do two air squats really fast, and now do two air squats with a 4 second eccentric -tempo down to the bottom of your squat. The tempo air squats add a bigger element of “training” and awareness of body position, this helps with strength, muscle mass and mobility as well. Read my article on “Tempo Explained” – HERE
That being said, someone that walks into our gym looking to improve their quality of life, health and body composition, the loading really shouldn’t be the #1 focus for that individual. Rather, focusing on proper mobility, range of motion and core/muscle recruitment while performing the lifts will be more beneficial. The athlete that walks in the room? Once they start moving well and safely, loading and intensity is a priority if their goal is to get stronger and perform better for their sport.
When we say strength training is important, we are not expecting or saying you need to lift crazy amounts of weights. We are saying you should be able to move your body through a full range of motion while moving a external load SAFELY. Why? If you can squat, deadlift, press with proper technique, no pain, your allowing your body to get strong in the positions it was naturally meant to be in. We constantly see sedentary people that haven’t weight trained or exercised before and can’t put their arms over their head, bend down and touch their toes or squat down below parallel. How many people have you heard say, “My back has bothered me for 10 years”, “My knees hurt all the time”, “I have this thing going on in my shoulder for the past 15 years”. When I hear this, I automatically think people would benefit from, first doing some mobility and moving, but strength training the muscles that are bothering them and the surrounding muscles that support that area. I always tell my Mother – Lenora Corrigal to squat more because she works an office job and her hip bothers her. My big sales point is that she should gain some strength in her quads, hamstrings, glutes and hips for stability but also some “protection” from things like falling and preventing future injuries.
Importance of core strength is probably the most crucial and important part of strength training. When training the “big lifts” we constantly teach breathing and bracing techniques. This engages your core and allows for the lifts to be performed safely and efficiently.
The definition of Core Strength: The ability to support and maintain a neutral position of the spine as you move about the hips, knees, shoulders and elbows. This position evenly loads the vertebral discs of the spine…reducing shear and creating a safe and effective transmission of forces.
When people think core training, they generally think about situps and planks. However, training the “big lifts” to get stronger allows maximal core engagement throughout those movements. A strong core allows people to perform daily tasks, balance, run, jump, bend over, squat, walk etc. How important is that to your daily life?
Lifting weights is going to make you bulky? Oh boy, don’t even get me started on this one. Check out my article “Strong Is The New Skinny” I wrote on this months ago – HERE
If your interested in scheduling a consult or checking out Southwest Strength, contact me : firstname.lastname@example.org