Strength is not just a reflection of how much weight you can lift.

Strength is a measure of how well your body functions, by its ability to recruit the proper joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the right order at the right time to complete a desired action (such as bench pressing). If proper order is achieved, the action is still completed but the stress is put on other joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that may be designed to complete that particular movement. Lifting with poor form robs the body to leverage and can ultimately take away from the amount of weight you will be able to move, hindering strength gains.

Strength is about leverage. Positioning your body in the best possible way for it to have the most leverage to lift or move a weight. Being able to get into these positions are skills that need to be developed in order to prevent injury.

Strength is a skill. Being able to properly activate your hamstrings and glutes to power up during a deadlift or firing up your lats during a pull-up are skills. Skills can be learned. If strength is a skill then you can learn to be strong.

Strength is relative. If last week you did 3×12 at 50 pounds and this week you did 3×12 at 55 pounds, relative to last week you are stronger. A weight that is easy for you may not be so for another. Powerlift Mark Felix, who easily deadlifted 1,128 pounds in 2013, probably does not consider 185 pounds to be challenging. However, someone new to lifting may and to them that could be their max.

Strength is a challenge. We should all see how much we can accomplish. We should all aspire to be stronger. It is the only way to make progress. Pushing ourselves a bit more every time will make us stronger. Aim to do more every workout. That could be more weight, more reps, more sets, doing the same reps faster, resting less between sets, or doing exercises in a different order. Approach every workout like you are hitting your own personal record, because you very well can.

 

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