Strength Training is medicine
I believe there is a misconception or belief in the general public that Aerobic or cardio vascular exercise is the primary fitness training, you only have to go passed any gymnasium to see all the Cardio equipment full will people using them. Now I’m here to tell you it’s NOT the primary training, don’t get me wrong I’m not knocking cardio vascular exercise what I’m saying is compared to strength training it is inferior and I have research and Literature to validate it which I’m going to share with you.
A Great strength coach/trainer can optimize and enhance your performance but a careless trainer can expose an individual to injury overtraining and pain.
The strength training changes in the muscular skeletal system have profound changes in other systems as well. The adaptations are trophic responses they increase the amount of tissue they compress the morbidity of ageing and improve quality of life. They preserve a full range of motion and increase the resistance to disease and injury. They permit and promote an active lifestyle that can be maintained into the later decades of life.
Every time we strength train we’re making a deposit into our superfund (Banking tissue for retirement) so what we see in resistance training is an increase in strength an increase in muscle fiber an increase in muscle cross sectional area which is a directly related to force production all these things are terribly important to organisms that have to move in daily life. We see fundamental changes at the cellular level we see an increase myosin heavy chain in the enzymatic programing of the cell an increase in stored glycogen increase in stored phosphate (creatine) ATP, changes in ligament and other connective tissue an increase in tendon density an increase in cross sectional ligaments and fascia get stronger and thicker, these changes are architectural they are not enzymatic. We are changing the cells in the way it uses fuel and the way it metabolizes.
Now these changes take a lager investment in time and work and there far less transitory than the changes we see in cardio conditioning with cardio training you can make adaptations quickly and they DE trend very quickly.
Research shows us estrogenic adaptations to resistance training are specific to the structures that are exposed to the training stress meaning you get calluses on your palm because that’s where the stress is so if you want to get the full benefit you need to do structural exercise so that you get adaptations in the axial skeleton vertebra pelvis where it is going to have a payoff later in life so things like squat variations deadlift variations etc. apposed to machine base exercise, when your younger your able to lay down more bone mass, more bone density which is like saving for retirement the earlier you start the better that been said with elder populations we are helping with osteopenia we are laying down bone matrix and is going to improve bone health.
(Endocrine system) When we squat heavy or deadlift heavy there is a release of trophic factors GH IGF into the systemic circulation, resistance exercises are unique in their ability to assist a profound endocrine response much more than aerobic exercise. With resistance training there is changes in insulin H.G.H, IGF 1 and local elaboration in the tissue /bone and you are able to adapt to the adaptation which means the more you squat and squirt HGH the more you can squirt HGH.
(Ageing) Your neurons / cells die by removing growth factors and with age they decide to die, a way to think about it is the de fault mode of med zone cells we all have is not to live but to die and without growth factors they will, conversely by administering growth factors you will rescue cells, so when you’re getting older you’re in a state of physiologic senescent growth factor withdraw you just don’t make as much HGH and IGF as you use to, Age is characterized by atrophy. So when we squat and squirt a bunch of growth hormone into our system we are counter sibling that. A way to self-administer with a profound effect. We are creating compression of morbidity (compressing the decline of ageing) expanding the amount of time at somebody’s life that they are more functional.
(Novice phase) Most of the strength comes from neurological adaptation an increased ability in motor unit recruitment a change in the way motor unit’s fire in synchronies’ depending on the demands of the activity we see an increase in early recruitment of high power motor units and there easier to recruit when they’ve been called into service once (an inhabitation of co-contraction) and a promotion of the stretch reflex very important in the elderly in response to a trip or fall and for the middle aged who don’t want to feel old and also important for performance. At the highest level of the organism we see psycho social adaptations.
What we do when we train we train the entire organism from the cellular level to the structural level all the way up to the psycho social and spiritual level we have a profound effect on every level of the human organization.
In summary Strength training is medicine! Medicine at its most powerful is about the promotion of health and the expansion of human potential that’s what real medicine is!!
In my opinion with very few exceptions everybody who can lift weights should lift weights.
DR Jonathon Sullivan MD, PhD, FACEP, SSC Attending Physician at Detroit Receiving Hospital Emergency Department, and Associate Director of the Cerebral Resuscitation Laboratory at Wayne State University. His research is focused on molecular mechanisms of brain injury and repair after cardiac arrest.