Physical strength defined by the Macmillan Dictionary as “the physical energy that someone has to lift or move things.” This sounds hard because it is hard. Picking up and lifting heavy things in or out of the gym gets you out of your comfort zone quick.
Lifting heavy things is not every one’s idea of a good time, however, the health benefits of strength bares mentioning again. Strength training will give you
- Stronger muscles and bones
- Reduced chances of chronic disease
- Reduced injury risk
- Improved flexibility and mobility
- Boosted brain and metal health
However, there’s more to strength training than improving the way you look because it will change your life. That’s the main reason you need to make time for movement, no matter how busy you are or however many excuses you have.
On a personal note (and an incentive to strength train), I’ve been teaching group exercise to seniors 65 and older in retirement homes and I’ve seen what not moving does to ones’ quality of life.
Trust me, it’s not pretty.
If you knew what the end looked like, wouldn’t you want to attempt to improve yourself now? Strength training can do this for you, all you must do is try. I’m not saying it’s going be all sunshine and roses, but it will be worth it.
Use the following strength tips and tricks below, so you too can reap the benefits of being stronger.
1. Do yard work
I’ve been lifting weights for the better part of 20 years, but every time I do the yard work, it kicks my behind. Then it got me thinking, why? I’m in reasonable shape, so why does pushing a mower, edging the lawn, weeding and sweeping leave me so exhausted?
Because the act of pushing, pulling and maneuvering a lawn mower involves the muscles of the legs, chest, upper back and shoulders. And doing this for any length of time, subjects those muscles to a lot of time under tension. Add in the variable of the weather and you’ve got yourself one heck of a workout.
Doing any type manual labor will help get you stronger. Now, get to work.
2. Increase your tension level
Squeeze your fist. Now squeeze it harder and harder.
Did you notice the tension in the muscles of your forearm, upper arm, chest and shoulders? This is the Law of Irradiation in action. The harder you tense your muscles the more force you will generate and the stronger you can become. Doing this during a lift will allow you to move more weight safely and efficiently.
Furthermore, performing muscle squeezes when you’re sitting around the house or workplace works too. Sounds simple right? Here are some ways you can incorporate the Law of Irradiation in and out of the gym.
- When doing exercises like the deadlift, press or row variations, actively squeeze the bar, dumbbell or handle with your hands to help generate more force and to provide stability in your shoulders.
- With your feet wider that hip width apart squeeze your fist and glute muscles as hard as you can for 30 seconds. Did you feel that? That’s your butt and it missed you. 😊
- While sitting with your legs straight on a bench or bed simultaneously squeeze your quads and fists as hard as you can for 15-30 seconds.
You can do this for your chest, back and biceps muscles also, all in the comfort of your own home.
3. Carry stuff
If there’s one move that people avoid in and out of the gym that could drastically improve exercises in the gym and life outside of it, it’s carrying stuff.
Think about it, how often do you
- Carry in groceries from the car?
- Open a new jar?
- Pick up something from the ground or overhead and then carry it?
- Rip open cardboard box or a packet of your favorite indulgence?
Grip strength is important if you like pickles, picking up and putting down weights or growing older gracefully because losing grip strength is a predictor of disability as you age, making it a big deal.
Please don’t avoid carrying grocery bags, boxes or weights in the gym anymore because it’s too hard for you. I think you’re better than that after reading this.
Notice, how the title stated simple and not easy? Attaining strength is hard but it isn’t complex. Strength training has real implications for your health and the ability to do stuff for the rest of your life.
What are you waiting for? Go ahead carry the rest of the groceries in.