Strength rocks

rockI’m writing this during my daughters dancing lesson. As I’m watching the teacher take these eight year old girls through their drills I’m struck by how much this is a strength skill practice as much as it is a dance skill practice. This makes sense as it important to be strong and flexible if you want to be a good dancer. For instance, they’ve just done some stomach strengthening exercises. The instructions were to lie on the floor with knees bent and feet on the floor, hands behind their head. They were then told to pull their belly button to the floor. This is good crunch form. I was very impressed. Also, they only needed to do 3 reps have a rest and then do another 3 reps. Low reps with rest is key to building strength. All very good. There are lots of other moves they are doing which are a bit too complicated for me to describe, but as well as building skill in dancing I can see that they are also building skill in strength. I hadn’t really noticed this before but over the past year I’ve become a bit more geeky when it comes to movement and strength.
Earlier this morning we went ice skating as we promised my daughter we’d go over Christmas and today was the last day we could go. What I noticed as I was skating was that I was more aware of my body and what it is was doing than I was last time I went skating (a couple of years ago). I also had more control. This is largely down to practicing the kettle bell swing and full body tension from pistol squat practice. As I got into skating I found that the movement pattern I was following was similar to the swing. As I pushed off with my right foot, I hinged at the hips with my upper body weight over my left foot, I then brought my hips forward and stood up straight (not quite, as I needed to keep balance with my forward momentum but you get the idea). It’s difficult to describe, but I felt strong and controlled. It’s as if my body recognised the movement and was able to automatically employ the muscles it needs to. This is a geeky, long winded way of saying that because I have built my strength up a bit I’m able to do things like ice skating with my family with ease.
Strength has so many pay offs in life, and makes life itself easier. It’s worth chasing after. When I talk to people about strength they usually respond by saying they are strong enough but they need to lose weight, or they are strong enough but they need to build muscle size or stamina. Now I’m all in favour of losing body fat, building muscle and increasing endurance, but all within reason. Having a lean body with noticeable muscle mass is beneficial for long term health. When I say noticeable muscle mass, I’m not talking body builder like physiques or even beach dudes with big guns, pecs and abs but not much else. Instead of body building, I like to think of armour building. Think of muscles as armour for the body against life.
By far the most important thing to build I think is strength. As we get older, if we don’t build strength we will lose it. This loss of strength is what makes people decrepit it their old age. This isn’t what I want. I want to be like Caleb in the Bible who at eighty years old said ‘Give me my sword, I’m as strong now as I was forty years ago’. An awesome attitude. Strength guards against old age. It’s been shown that even old age pensioners can gain strength by lifting weights. Everyone should lift weights, young and old, men and women.
Strength is a skill.
Strength makes life easier and more enjoyable whatever the endeavour.
Strength is not just for the young.
Strength rocks.

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