How Overall Strength Affects your Workout

by Orion Lee

In the movie Enter The Dragon there is a saying: “Sparta, Rome, the knights of Europe and the Samurai, they worshipped strength... for it is strength that makes all other qualities possible.” 

This statement is 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. Willpower, concentration, dedication, and discipline are qualities that originate from having a strong mental disposition.

Regardless of your chosen discipline, the pursuit of strength is of great importance to the athlete. Physically, strength is important because without a strong foundation you cannot possess more advanced attributes such as: speed, power, coordination, agility and endurance.

Strength is also important because it enhances the base abilities that make movement possible and improving this base can lead to game changing improvements.  For example: in order for a person to have stability and proper movement patterns, the individual must have strength in the muscles and ligaments for the system to handle the load.

If an individual is hypermobile, adding strength allows greater control over range of motion, which equals better movement. If a coordinated athlete gains more strength they enhance the ability to move more efficiently. The bottom line is that higher levels of strength increase your other athletic qualities, resulting in superior performance.

Just because an individual chooses to get stronger doesn’t mean stability, mobility and flexibility can be neglected or ignored. Quite the opposite, the stronger a person gets the more mobile and flexible they should strive to be. These attributes are hugely important to having a healthy body and moving efficiently. For the serious athlete, mobility and flexibility is akin to brushing and flossing your teeth at night. It’s a necessary thing if you want to perform at your highest level. Don’t want cavities?  Brush your damn teeth. Don’t want injuries? Do your damn mobility work. Period.

Physical attributes are essential but I believe mental strength separates the moderate from the truly elite. Look at the Army Rangers: those men are put through absolute hell so that they can attain the mental toughness necessary to perform in action.

Just like its physical counterpart, mental strength must be trained and honed daily. With constant practice and the help of a Santa Monica personal trainer, your mind can attain an “iron will” and your body will perform the tasks you demand of it. The daily training and stress of being an athlete can be mentally exhausting and wear you out. This grind will tax your willpower, and for the record willpower is NOT an infinite resource. It’s a disciplined sacrifice 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 must to have a strong mind in order to keep up with the demands of their lifestyle . . . and their competitors.   

Focus during your chosen activity and meditate about it on your off time to build a strong mind. Have a clear goal, perhaps even one that you’ve developed with the help of personal training coaches in Santa Monica. A clear plan of action will help you to build a strong mind and improve the results of your training efforts without pushing you to exhaustion. You will notice that you’re improving your movement with each repetition and training session.

Engage yourself during the activity, feel your muscles activate and visualize yourself correctly performing the movement before you do it. Synergize mind and body in this manner and you will become better at what you do, regardless of the discipline.

It’s about training smarter not harder.  In the end, the choice to get stronger is yours.