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This news story originally appeared at SportDayue News on 21 September 2023

Lifting Weights vs. Strength Training

I was asked a question by a client.  ”How does the strength training we’re doing differ from what I’ve done in the past with weights?”

Simply put, a majority of the issues I help people improve result from not being strong enough for their activity;

  • Distance runners without enough leg strength for running
  • New moms without enough arm strength to carry their child properly
  • Weekend athletes not strong enough to participate in their activity pain-free
  • Older women who want improved bone density

All of these things are improved through strength training and getting stronger.  When getting stronger there is a shift of brain power, hormones, and connective tissue health that reduces injury and chronic disease risk.

Common knowledge is “lifting weights make us stronger” but this is not necessarily true.  What movements do we perform?  What directions?  How many times?  How frequently?  If we answer these questions incorrectly, we don’t get stronger.

The act of lifting weights is different from “strength training”. Lifting weights is moving a weight through a range of motion. The focus is on the single act of moving the weight.  There is no thought given from workout to workout  to improve the ability of the individual.  Typically, one does not often lift more or less from workout to workout, they lift the same amounts each time just to “work the muscles”.  This does not allow progressive improvement.

Strength training is a process; multiple workouts strung together in a specific way to improve strength. To legitimately get stronger we must pay attention to how much someone is lifting, how often it is occurring, what various movements are performed so that we don’t get too strong or too weak in certain directions, and how you eat/sleep/live to maximize your recovery.  Strength training involves more thought, expertise, and focus than simply lifting weights.

Strength training is a process of improvement and weight lifting is a singular act.  Find an expert in your area to develop a strength training program instead of a weight-lifting routine.

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