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“Strength is a Skill”

By Stephanie Fox | In Coach's Corner | on November 25, 2013

“Strength is a Skill”

When I first heard this adage years ago it didn’t really mean much to me, but as time went on, this has become one of the my favorite truths about fitness training. I’ll often hear from new clients: “I can run for days but I’m not very strong” or “I’ve got really strong legs but my upper body is just weak”


….well, there’s a reason for that. You haven’t developed those skills yet. Strength not simply a matter of muscle hypertrophy or genetics(though these are not unimportant), it is also a function of body awareness and learning how to move efficiently. Becoming strong, in any capacity, is about skillfully applying force. That force may be applied to the ground, as is the case with a deadlift or a sprint or it can be applied to an object, such as the bench press or even towards another person like an opponent in martial arts.  Moreover, it can take many of us years to simply learn to squat properly; getting comfortable resting in our heels, understanding how to brace and breath under load. The subtleties, just like with playing the piano or learning a new language, are immense and are only truly understood when we practice.

Many of us, “who just aren’t strong” have simply ignored developing this skill and assumed it was poor genetics. The real downside to this mindset is that strength is quite literally the foundation upon which almost every other element of fitness rests.  No matter, what the endeavor, being stronger will always improve performance or at the very least, reduce the risk of injury.  Make strength a top priority in your training and you will start to see its importance to your overall health and fitness.

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