How is strength training different?


Strength training has distinct characteristics that differentiate it from other forms of exercise:

  1. Exercise Selection and Variety: Strength training typically involves a variety of exercises targeting different muscle groups. While both strength and muscle gain workouts use similar exercises such as squats and deadlifts, strength training focuses more on performing these exercises with heavier weights and fewer repetitions. Muscle gain workouts, on the other hand, incorporate a wider range of exercises to achieve comprehensive muscle growth 1.

  2. Intensity and Volume: Strength training is characterized by high intensity with lower volume, meaning heavier weights and fewer repetitions. This is opposed to hypertrophy or muscle gain training, which often involves lighter weights but more repetitions to maximize muscle growth 2.

  3. Technique Orientation: Strength training places a significant emphasis on proper technique and progressively increasing the load. This approach helps in minimizing injury risk and maximizing the effectiveness of the workout. Powerlifters, for example, focus on making heavy weights feel as light as possible through efficient technique 2.

  4. Adaptability and Specificity: Strength training is highly adaptable and specific. Different types of strength can be targeted, such as maximal strength, explosive power, or endurance. This specificity allows for targeted improvements depending on the athlete's goals 3.

    Strength vs Muscle Training

    Sal, Adam, and Justin discuss the similarities and differences between strength and muscle training. While both types of training use similar exercises and resistance, muscle training tends to focus on more variety and volume. The group also debates whether deadlifts are a back exercise or not, with Sal arguing that they are a phenomenal back exercise despite being technically a lower body exercise.

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  5. Long-term Maintenance: One of the notable advantages of strength training is that the gains in strength are generally more sustainable over time compared to other fitness attributes like flexibility or stamina. Strength remains longer in the body even when training is paused 4.

These characteristics make strength training a unique and effective form of exercise for building strength, enhancing performance, and reducing the likelihood of injuries.