Strength is the foundation of all fitness qualities.
Sure, cardiorespiratory fitness is important. Everyone needs a healthy heart. However, as many good coaches have previously noted, the cardiovascular systems exists to support the muscular system, not the other way around.
Even if you enjoy performing or compete in some kind of endurance-based event, a foundation of strength must exist first. Many people embark in running programs if they’re new to fitness, figuring this is the best way to achieve their goals of fat loss and overall health. While running can be a fantastic activity, this is a somewhat misguided approach. Typically, a new trainee will jump into a running regime that they are simply too weak for, and will end up injuring themselves.
I’m sure we’ve all witnessed this before, or even experienced it ourselves. “Oh, I’ll just start running X times weekly, and that’ll take care of everything.”
Not so fast. Before you know it, said person is suffering from sore knees, ankles, hips, or all of the above, and their exercise regime comes to a halt. If they had taken the time to also start an appropriate resistance training program, they would have developed sufficient strength and stability in their lower body, upper body, and core, which would have allowed them to ease into a running program without as much risk.
There must be a constant strive for progression. Whether your goal is muscle gain, fat loss, or a combination of both, you must always aim to do more reps, more weights, more volume, or aim to complete more total work in a training session of equal duration than before (density). Naturally, more advanced trainees can benefit from easier stretches of training and periods of deloading, but most of you probably don’t fall into this category. Most of you need to be pushed to add some weight, grind out a few more reps, or take a shorter rest between sets so you can complete more work within a given time period.
Developing strength and muscle mass is essential for longevity and health. The risk of mortality drastically drops the more muscle mass an individual has, and the increased bone density, enhanced immune system, and simply the strength and mobility to do simple things (walk up stairs, lift household objects) are imperative for quality of life, especially as one ages.
Work on getting stronger. This goes for everyone, whether you’re a powerlifter, housewife, or retiree. This is more than an athletic foundation, it’s the key to movement and life!