What is the difference between strength training and weight lifting?

Strength Training: What Is It?

Strength training is not just lifting heavy weights. It can be using machines, bands, your own body weight, or anything else that makes your muscles work hard against some type of resistance.

Not Too Much of a Good Thing

As someone who plays sports and coaches, I've learned and seen that doing too much of one thing isn't good. Even if something is good, like exercising, doing it too much can be bad.

You Don't Have to Do the Same Exercise Every Time

You don't need to do squats every time you work out to get stronger. Even if you're training for the Olympics or a big competition, you don't have to only do those types of exercises. It's good to do different kinds to be the best athlete.

Sometimes, even when you're focusing on big competitions, you can still do other exercises to help with your main ones.

Mixing Different Types of Exercise

When you're training, you need to be fast, strong, have stamina, be flexible, and more. Different exercises help with different things.

We know the powerlifting methods make you strong, we know that Olympic lifts make you explosive and somewhat flexible and we know that a standard conventional weight program can make you strong to a certain extent behind powerlifting.

Not changing subjects, but overtraining and overuse syndromes are real and it is not always about causing injuries only, but the hideous diminishing return.

You know the thing that hits you after so many weeks of training when you were getting stronger and all of a sudden, one day the warm up weights feel like the workout and you seemingly instantly become weaker.

That’s what periodization is for, to avoid that.

Changing Things Up

Another principle of training is change the angle, change the exercise. That means that the prime movers can change as well as the assisting muscles giving the body a different stimulus to respond to.

However, that doesn’t dismiss the very real event of systemic fatigue or as some like to say, you crushed the nervous system and it is not responding as needed.

What this means is that you can integrate or merge programs with a high degree of success and that’s what I have done for decades now. 

A Simple Workout Plan

Here's a basic plan for working out three times a week, with an extra day as a bonus. This plan focuses on lifting weights but also includes running and jumping:

Day 1:

Bench - Lat.Pull - Legs1, plus auxiliaries at coaches discretion, be wise.

Day 2:

Olympics consisting of 9-12 sets depending on point in the cycle.

Day 3:

Bench - Lat. Pull - Legs -  Incline - Back Row - Legs v2, plus auxiliaries at coaches discretion, continue to be wise.

Day 3 eventually evolves into a full blown hybrid where the hang clean and/or  push press are in rotation with the bench and squat.

Why Mixing Workouts Works

Here’s the fine print. I don’t know how much more gains we would have had in the primary lifts in the priority lift system, but we had plenty of strong, fast, explosive players during our championship years.

As with many schools, a large portion of the football offseason went right into track and field where we excelled. 

Merging comes as a result of doing multiple training components in a single workout day which gives the appearance of being a conflicting overlap, which is not so.

Why does this matter?

We have to understand the role of strength in the world of sports. I said world because, unless you are in a absolute strength competition where the only measure of success is the person with the greatest absolute strength is the champion, then strength is a role player in contributing to that championship


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