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Video Highlights

- An "easier" way to increase strength?
- You don't have to lift heavy.
- Effort beats intensity.

“Hi everybody, Dr. Cobb from Z-Health back with you. Today we’re going to be talking about strength training and getting stronger.”

A lot of people that I have worked with over the years avoid strength training because they’re like, “Ah, I’m an endurance athlete. I like to run, I like to ride my bike, I like to swim, I do triathlons.

Is strength training really that important? Do I really need it?” And my basic answer is, “Yes”.

There’s a lot of research around this. Now, I’m not saying you have to become a bodybuilder, but one of my basic sentences in life is: “There is no substitute for strength.” When people come to our education program they get really excited about helping people get out of pain through moving better and taking care of their skin and their breathing and all this kind of crazy stuff that we teach about neurology.

But then, when most of our advanced trainers come to our strength course, what they learn is one of the key components to being pain-free or getting rid of pain is also being strong.

What I’ve discovered, again over the years of working with thousands of people, is that many people avoid strength training because they think it’s too hard and like, “Ah, I don’t want to go pick up really heavy stuff!”

Today what I’m about to talk about is super important because the vast majority of people out there who are not trying to be competitive strength athletes can actually get a really, really nice benefit from changing the way that they think about strength training.

Over the last few years what we’re seeing is a kind of big growth in research that says, “You know what? You don’t always have to lift really heavy in order to get stronger. You don’t always have to lift heavy to get hypertrophy. You don’t always have to lift heavy to get better looking.” Whatever it is that your goal is for doing strength training.

One of the most interesting studies that I’ve looked at recently, it was a comparison. It was done in Canada where they took a bunch of people and they had them try two different tests. They had one group that was doing very heavy strength training. They were lifting about ninety percent of their one-rep max for whatever set scheme and that’s usually going to be a very low number of repetitions. They took another group and they had them lifting thirty percent. Now, thirty percent is kind of the equivalent of doing a push-up against the wall, so really lightly loaded strength training.

Study Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20711498

What they started to figure out is that if they applied equal effort … And here’s the important part, if they applied equal effort; they both got bigger, they both got stronger. This was for males. Obviously females don’t tend to get bigger like men do, very often, but they would also get stronger.

The cool part about this and again, it’s very intriguing, is they actually were looking at anabolic properties.  People have heard of anabolic steroids, those are the hormones that some people take in order to get bigger and stronger. They were measuring the impact of these two different strength-training measures on anabolic hormones that were created within the body itself. They found that they were relatively equal regardless of the heavy weight or the lightweight.

The researchers are now looking deeper into this and they are saying, “You know what? It seems like the last effort that you’re making, as long it’s intense, that’s really the key.”

Based on a neuro-lens, right? A brain-lens; which is how we do everything in Z-Health, “Oh, that makes sense.” Because we need to threaten the brain enough to say, “Hey! If this happens again, I’m going to be ready for it”, but not so much that it goes, “Ah! I’m just going to curl up and hide!”

Here’s my suggestion for you in the coming week. If you’ve been avoiding strength training, I’d love for you to pick one thing to do, maybe a squat, maybe a push-up, something and I want you make it really easy, not really hard, but really easy. Think in the thirty to fifty percent intensity range and see if you can do something and just make sure that you’re working really hard at the end of your set.

I usually tell people, “Don’t go all the way to failure. Leave one to three reps in the bank, if you want to call it that.” But, push yourself right up at the end. What you’ll find for most people is that if you do that and you do it with some level of regularity, you can get a lot stronger but it won’t feel like it’s wearing you out as much.

Last tip on this is if you pick something that you can do fifty to a hundred times, that’s probably too light. Your thirty percent rep scheme should allow you to complete maybe twenty to twenty-five repetitions. That will prevent you from getting bored and stopping, but it should also be enough work for you to start to make some changes.

Here’s the idea, ultimately. You don’t have to always lift heavy stuff in order to get a lot stronger, to hypertrophy your muscles, to look better and to perform better in sports. This is general and obviously if you’re a competitive athlete we may have to look at it in a different way, but for the vast majority of us, we can get accomplished a lot in a way that we can enjoy, which is ultimately the point of exercise.

There you have it.

If you have questions about this let us know otherwise have a fantastic week.

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