Rodney McBride

A More Detailed Look at Strength 5

A More Detailed Look at Strength 5

So far in this strength series I have only talked about the fundamental components of strength training if one is to seek strength in its pure form. You can go back and review my blogs A More Detailed Look at Strength 1 thru 4 for the exact details.

Today I want to talk about some misconceptions regarding strength. I will return to a few more foundational aspects of strength in the next few blogs to close off this series.

The biggest misconception about strength is that strength and bodybuilding are the same thing or wrongly perceived as being one and the same. An example will help.

A client that I am currently training and giving strength advice to expressed his lack of success working with a previous trainer when we met. When I asked my client about the facts it became apparent that the training regimen he was instructed to follow was a bodybuilding program not a strength program. 

First he was told to keep his repetitions in the 6 to 15 range. Second he was told to do multiply sets. Third he was told to go to failure. I am guessing he was also told to use a combination of free weights and machines. Etc., etc. If you have read my strength blogs you will notice that this is absolutely incorrect if real strength is the goal. 

I perceive that this trainer made these recommendations because he has made the wrong association that size and strength are the same thing. The bigger you are the stronger you are. If this size and strength correlation were true then bodybuilders would definitely be stronger than powerlifters and weightlifters, but that just isn't the case. 

It makes perfect sense why this trainer and a lot of people would make this incorrect assumption for two reasons. 

One is America's lack of Sports Science in strength and the idea that general health can be maintained by aerobics alone. It used to be accepted in America that lifting weights would make one inefficient which would interfere with proper movement. No scientific understanding was pursued. So strength training went underground. 

While underground strength separated into two forms. Actual strength and bodybuilding. When strength resurfaced it resurfaced as bodybuilding in the documentary Pumping Iron in 1977. This was the general public's first modern experience with weights. If you see big guys lifting enormous weights it would be easy to compare size and strength as being the same when you don't have any strength science background. 

Knowing this I see why this personal trainer recommended my client train this way. It's what he's been taught. It's what everyone here in America has been taught. If you are interested in bodybuilding then by all means go for it; but if strength is what you want then you are heading down the wrong path my friend.


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