The Principle of Strength in Fitness

Physical Activity and Movement Part 11

A very important foundational principle of physical and mental health is strength. I’ve already outlined how important it is to maintain your lean body mass. If you do not give a signal to your muscles, bones, and connective tissues that they’re needed, they will atrophy, meaning they will shrink. Your body is into energy conservation. If you’re not using it, you will lose it.

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Lean body mass is one of the first things to start going as we age. Maintenance of lean body mass is associated with many positive health outcomes, and the loss of lean body mass is associated with many diseases. The number one cause of death for humans is debility and frailty. You need to maintain your strength.

The only way to create the right stimulus for your body’s muscular system is to take the muscles to the point of failure.

The good news is that maintaining your strength doesn’t have to involve going to the gym (unless you like to)  multiple days a week; the concept of “No Pain, No Gain” need not apply here. Now you will experience a little bit of discomfort. The only way to create the right stimulus for your body’s muscular system is to take the muscles to the point of failure. This will feel uncomfortable, but studies have shown that doing this once a week can be enough to maintain physical health.

It doesn’t even have to be 15 sets per muscle group, or even five. In fact, there are workouts developed based on scientific studies that involve just doing one rep to complete failure using exercises that stimulate your major muscle groups. It’s a hard rep, typically between a minute and a half to two minutes that will push you to absolute exhaustion, but studies have shown this will take care of all you need in regards to maintenance of lean body mass. You can do it just once a week.

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You can use weights for this but you can also just do it with your body weight. There are innumerable body weight exercises that you can do in a slow, sustained fashion to failure that will meet this need. I outline such a program in this FREE resource. You can use this program, or feel free to come up with your own. It’s pretty simple. You choose a push, a pull, a squat, a lunge, and a core exercise. This is to exert your chest and shoulders, your back, the front of your legs, the back of your legs, and then your core. You do each one to absolute exhaustion, rest briefly, then move to the next. You can do this in 15 minutes. But you must do it.

Strength is a foundational principle of maintaining good physical health.

I have a strength routine that I do once a week. It’s my least favorite thing to do, because as I already discussed in our earlier blog, I’m geared more towards endurance than power. But nonetheless, the health benefits are very important to me, and afterward I do feel good about having done it. I don’t like gyms, so I do it in my own home, and I do it once a week. That’s all I need to do.

A routine as simple as this is all you need to do if you just want to maintain good physical health, but you have to do it. Strength is a foundational principle of maintaining good physical health.


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