Strength: Why Does It Matter to Me?
Why Strength Matters:
In the movie Enter the Dragon there is a saying: “Sparta, Rome, the knights of Europe, and the Samurai, they worshiped strength… for it is strength that makes all other qualities possible.” I believe this statement to be quite profound, simple, and true. Strength by definition is a body’s ability to apply force, but physical strength is not the only manifestation of strength, not by a long shot. Willpower, concentration, dedication, and discipline are all qualities that originate from having a strong mental disposition.
I believe that during the journey to mastery, regardless of your chosen discipline, the pursuit of strength must be a focus of great importance to the athlete. Physically, strength is important because without a strong foundation you cannot possess the more advanced physical attributes such as: speed, power, coordination, agility and endurance. Strength is also important because it enhances the base abilities that make movement possible. Improving these abilities can lead to game-changing improvement, for example: in order to for a person to have stability, along with proper movement patterns, the individual needs to have strong muscles and ligaments for the system to handle the load. Furthermore, if an individual is hypermobile, adding strength will make a person more capable of controlling their range of motion and therefore, attain better movement. If you happen to be a coordinated athlete, gaining more strength you will allow your bodies to move more efficiently. The bottom line is that by attaining higher levels of strength your other athletic qualities will only get better, resulting in superior performance.
How Does Strength Relate to Mobility?
Now just because an individual chooses to pursue a high level of strength does not mean that the qualities of stability, mobility and flexibility should be neglected or ignored. Quite the opposite. The stronger a person gets, the more mobile and flexible they should try to become. These above mentioned attributes are hugely important for having a healthy body and possessing the ability to move efficiently. For the serious athlete, mobility and flexibility should be akin to brushing and flossing your teeth at night. It’s a necessary thing to do if you want to perform at your top level. Don’t want cavities, then brush your damn teeth. Don’t want injuries, do your mobility work. Period.
Mental strength is what makes the athlete. Physical attributes absolutely help, but I believe mental strength separates the moderate from the truly elite. Look at the army rangers for example: those men are put through absolute hell so they can attain the mental toughness necessary to perform while in action. Just like its physical counterpart, mental strength must be trained and honed daily. With constant practice your mind and your will can become as hard as iron and perform the tasks you ask of it. Daily training and the stresses of being an athlete can be mentally exhausting. It can wear you out. Constantly, athletes have to perform actions that tax their willpower, and for the record willpower is in no way an infinite source. It’s a form of sacrifice that most people never consider. From waking up early, to eating healthy, not drinking, not having a social life, having to train even when exhausted, to getting the crap kicked out of you in practice, athletes need to have a strong mind in order to function and keep up with the demands of their lifestyle.
Focus during your chosen activity and meditate about it on your off time to build a strong mind, focusing on your goal. Whatever it is you are doing, you should always have a clear goal. If you practice in this way you will build a strong mind. The stronger your will, the less it will be taxed when stressed. When practicing, try to become better and better at what you are doing. Don’t necessarily push yourself harder into exhaustion, but improve your movement with each repetition and each training session. Actively engage yourself with what you do, feel your muscles activate the way you want them to move, and constantly visualize yourself performing the movement before you do it. In this manner, regardless of what you do, you will become better at it. It’s about training smarter not harder.
A lot of people who exercise or participate in a sport just show up to practice and go through the motions on a day to day basis. This isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, just showing up and exercising can pay dividends; but more is required for mastery. If Mastery over your chosen activity is your goal then conscious thought, focused effort, and direction is necessary. In the end, it is your hands if you want to get stronger.
Looking for an extra boost? Try juicing for awesomeness!
Have you tried making fresh juices at home? If not, you should get on it. Drinking fresh juices once a day aids in weight loss, increasing energy, immune function, digestion and feeling super awesome. Give in a shot and see how you like it. Here is one of my favorite recipes:
2 small apples (Fuji)
1 lage cucumber
1 cup mixed power greens
1 hunk of ginger
Let us know on the Robot Facebook if you give it a try!
Robot Fight Fitness – LA’s Top Martial Arts Training Facility Serving West Los Angeles & Santa Monica (90025). We always offer a free trial class so come check us out!