In the defense of strength training for the everyday human
Disclaimer - The following is NOT supported by scientific evidence. It is my own opinion based on my own experiences with strength training. I'm sure there is research that supports my thinking, however I haven't read it. I generally leave the research to people that are smarter than me with longer attention spans!
I wanted to make a case for strength training because I think it may carry negative connotations for people who maybe aren't aware of it's benefits for general health!
Just to clarify, the definition of Strength would look something like "the ability to generate force". Don't confuse this with muscular endurance, being "the ability to generate force for an extended period of time".
It may be common to see strength training being represented by group fitness classes like GRIT or F45, however these would fall into the muscular endurance category.
The general parameters that need to be adhered to in order to get a true "strength" stimulus look something like this
- Rep ranges between 1-5 reps
- Weights between 75-95% of your 1 rep max
- Rest periods between 3-8 minutes (if you're resting less than 3 minutes the load isn't heavy enough)
If you're doing a group fitness class that states it's a "strength" workout but has you moving constantly for 30-45minutes with minimal rest then this is actually creating an endurance stimulus. (Not wrong or right, just not strength)
Why do I think everyone would be better off if they were stronger?
In short, being stronger makes everything else you do in life easier. The amount of "strength" you possess really just comes down to your brain's ability to communicate to your muscular system (having bigger muscles will help too).
Rather than thinking strength is something you have to go out and physically build, think about it as if you all ready have all the strength you'd ever need in your body, however your brain doesn't grant you access to it. It's like hearing the story of someone lifting a car to save another person. Your brain doesn't grant this level of strength day to day because you'd tear yourself apart.
The act of getting stronger is a skill. Slowly, over time, convincing your nervous system to tap into the strength potential that's already in your body.
This is why I think being strong is so valuable for everyone. If you can condition your nervous system to have this high level of strength then everything you do during your day becomes easier and safer.
Having a high level of strength means living in a body that is constantly ready to go. Walking, climbing, carrying, lifting, sitting, working, running, playing sport or working out. Everything physical you do becomes so much easier. And I'm not talking about strength training to the extent that you want to smash records or compete in powerlifting, but lifting weights often enough (2-3x per week) to maintain a high level of neuromuscular activity and efficiency (strength). You're not going to become "massive", or be constantly injured or fatigued. Training in general should be done to benefit the rest of your life, not take from it.
An analogy that might help illustrate my point is thinking about two different heat pumps. Imagine both heat pumps are in the same room (thus have the same workload) however one has an 8kw heating capacity and the other has 3kw. The 8kw heatpump can do the same job with a lot less effort.
Go have a look in a rest home. A lot of the people that end up in a rest home are there because they can't stand out of a chair, had a fall and didn't recover, or can't walk on their own. We don't fall into this state overnight, but slowly regress over years and decades.
There are many other benefits to strength training as well E.g. Maintenance of muscle mass and bone density, mental resilience, increases and maintenance of mobility, looking better naked and many more.