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What is Strength?

“What is strength?...The ability to apply force against an external resistance, and that all it is…”

-Mark Rippetoe

The pursuit of strength is often seen as both a great prescription and a terrible affliction. Those who find it subversive to the narrative of being a well rounded healthy individual must be blind to the fact that in order to become well rounded we must have a prerequisite base-level of strength. It’s like trying to build a house on loose gravel, it’s not going to happen and in general is a bad idea.

But why start with strength? Why not focus on cardiovascular respiratory endurance (CRE), and build kinesthetic awareness? Great question and while CRE is indeed valuable, it will not help build a capable human.

Life is often filled with hardships that not only require mental fortitude, but physical strength as well. We often praise those who run marathons, seeing the event as something to overcome and vanquish. However when we look at strength events we are filled with fear and trepidation instead of awe and equanimity.

When discussing kinesthetic awareness, we must first have a really grounded approach in our kinesthetic sense. Without understanding how our bodies moves or the interplay between the muscles and joints any sort of physical and mental exercise will be a lost cause. We can and should develop such a sense first using our own body without the need of external resistance. However there comes a time when the most basic have been made tame (I use that term for illustrative purposes) and our bodies and can no longer continue to grow without external factors. The next logical step would be to stress the muscles and see if the body mechanics remain the same.

Now as you continue to increase the demand on the body it will continue to adapt to the new stimuli that it encounters. This process repeats itself until adaptation starts to slow down. Once you reach this point it is time to change the stimuli by introducing new movement patterns, varying loads, etc. Let's not forget though that this entire process will most likely take you several months to reach and by then you have become a much stronger and more capable human being.

From this point if you decide to go on to partake in other activities, sports, or literally anything else you will have developed your body and mind to a point where performing other things will be less difficult than for most.

Strength should not be the ends to a means, but instead the start an audacious journey be it in fitness, academia, or life in general.

Now that we have an abstract sense of what strength is, lets us dive into greater detail on the means and methods of how you get strong.


Next time….How to Get Strong.