10 Facts and Their Explanations About Strength Training
Strength training is An important and even essential part of any fitness programme. Athletes need strength in order to develop speed and power and to move better than their opposition. The regular Joe wanting to lose weight will benefit from strength development with an increase in metabolism and an improved shape. Your grand parents need to maintain strength throughout their twilight years if they are to maintain their independence and overall health.
The following is a lengthy list of 10 facts about strength training and their explanations. This article took on a mind of it’s own and sort of ended up like a complete explanation and fact sheet for training for strength in and of itself. Almost anything you need to know is on this page.
Strength training is a great form of cardio. ok, so you’ve been led to believe that cardio training will benefit your health and increase your performance in multiple areas. Well that is correct, however the way you go about it or have been told to go about it may have been misleading. Over the years jogging and other steady state cardio made an appearance and were promoted as the go-to activities for “fitness” in the broadest sense. From the 1970s to the mid 1990s strength training was not given nearly the attention it deserved and was reserved for biodybuilders and those that wanted to build great slabs of muscle.
As a form of fitness training, strength training has many uses, one of them being the side benefit of cardiovascular fitness. Most people are so focused on the muscle building effect of strength training that they miss the other benefits, one of which mimicks the effects of high intensity interval training. A heavy set of a compound movement such as squats sends your heart rate soaring and your lungs gasping for oxygen. Don’t think that just because this is caused by that heavy barbell you’re lifting that it isn’t giving you a cardio benefit.
In simple terms, anything that provides sufficient stimulus to the cardiovascular system and results in adaptations is cardio training. Using the squat as an example, lets say you do a set of 12 reps lasting about 60 seconds in total. The muscles used during that squat are a significant portion of the body’s overall muscle mass. If load is sufficient those muscles involved require a significant amount of fuel in order to keep contracting and applying force. This fuel is supplied through all three energy pathways, being ATP/creatine phosphate anaerobic, the anaerobic lactate system and the aerobic energy system. By the time you get to 20 seconds into the set your body goes into oxygen debt and your cardiovascular system begins to work hard in order to catch up with the energy demands. Obviously this leads to positive adaptations of the cardiovascular system that transfer over top other activities.
Major compound strength exercises are your best insurance against reduced hormone function. In fact, strength training can bring hormone levels to a point that supports superior performance and slows down and even reverses many of the effects of aging. Hormones are the signaling system for your body. Or rather they are the ones that pass on a message of specific types to get the body to make some kind of change. They tell your brain when to eat, what to eat, when to sleep, how much hair to grow, where to access energy, how well you grow and develop, how tall you are, how well you heart functions and the list goes on. What do you think triggers puberty and all the changes to adulthood? It’s hormones.
Combined with the right nutrition strength training is a superior method for ensuring that hormones function at an optimal level. Studies have shown that people as old as 80 or even older have testosterone and human growth hormone levels that resemble that of someone less than half their age after engaging in strength training programmes for a number of years.
Now here’s the big one. I am willing to bet that a large percentage of the readers of this site are interested in performance at varying levels. You may want to compete in a triathlon, lose weight and become as fit as you were in high school, run the 100m in under 11 seconds or sculpt a mass of muscle onto your frame. Hormones are responsible for most, if not all of this. Without their function it would be impossible to achieve any of these results. Lets use muscle growth as our first example…
When you perform a strength exercise using a large amount of muscle mass your brain goes into overdrive to cope with it. Among other things, it signals your body to release massive amounts of testosterone, which is of extreme benefit to both males and females for increases in performance, particularly strength-related performance and muscle growth. Several studies have indicated that this increase even rivals that of performance-enhancing drugs, however for this to happen you need to train wisely. Bicep curls are not going to cut it. Think deadlifts, squats, bench press, pull-ups etc. and skip the machine for the most part and isolation movements.
Our second example is the ever-coveted fat loss. Many people have been led down the path of long-distance cardio training for superior fat loss results. This is partially true, however it is not efficient in terms of time and effort. Strength training not only burns calories, it helps to regulate blood sugar levels by increasing the efficiency of insulin and reducing insulin sensitivity. This results in an overall better functioning metabolism and optimal use of energy. This has the added effect of regulating appetite and stimulating your taste for healthier foods. Long-distance training, although valuable for specific purposes, often leads to cravings for fast energy such as carbohydrates, most often sugars.
Increased longevity and extended quality of life are a major benefit of strength training. Many of the reasons for this are outlined in other items on this list, such as the previous entry regarding hormone function.
There are many symptoms of aging and even more natural and accidental causes of death in elderly people. Perhaps even worse is that a significant portion of people over the age of 75 are dependent on others for mobility and activities of daily living (ADLs). This is for a number of reasons. What I will do is cover a few factors that cause a decline in quality of life and how strength training can benefit.
A. Lack of mobility: This is almost always caused by a large decline in muscular strength and power, which is a natural effect of aging. A large number of the aged population accepts this as unavoidable and just lets fate take hold and accepts dependence as something that just happens, despite overwhelming evidence for the contrary in those that have defied so-called fate.
Strength training is the master remedy for this primary symptom of aging. When you provide resistance to a muscle and cause it to contract with progressively greater force than it is currently accustomed to your body responds in a number of ways to combat frailty. The primary adaptation is strength, obviously. Think of it this way, the stronger someone is the more capable they are of performing physical tasks. These tasks may range from sprinting 100m in under 10 seconds or lifting a 300kg stone off the ground, all the way down to simply being able to hold your balance in the shower or walk to the mailbox unassisted. As you age it is true that strength naturally declines, muscle mass is lost and ADLs become increasingly difficult, however strength training will slow and sometimes even reverse these effects. This results in independence and a decline in the incidence of falls.
B.Decreased bone density/osteoporosis: A major problem for the aged is fragile bones due to poor absorption of key minerals and decreased activity levels, specifically weight-bearing activity. This results in breaks and injuries that further perpetuate inactivity and decreases in strength. Further to that, white blood cells are manufactured in bone marrow, which are the most important human body cells for immunity, including repair from injuries such as bone breaks themselves.
Strength training forces muscles to apply force to move the load, which places pressure on the bones, which adapt by absorbing minerals more effectively and becoming more dense. The benefits of this are glaringly obvious.
C. Poor horomone regulation: As covered in the previous list item, strength training combined with proper nutrition is one of, if not the most effective way to regulate hormone function. As you age beyond 40 your body becomes less efficient at producing and releasing key hormones responsible for many important body functions. In fact, hormones are one of the primary things responsible for the condition of your body as you age. Insulin function, high testosterone and adequate human growth hormone levels are characteristic of youth and longevity.
If strength training is undertaken your body begins to respond by regulating the release of many hormones. Insulin levels become more stable, helping with blood sugar regulation and result in a positive chain reaction of physiological responses that slow the effects of aging. Testosterone and other steroid hormones allow for maintenance of muscle mass and the building of more. These hormones are also responsible for other important functions, for instance the prevention of gender-specific cancers.
Human growth hormone is possibly the most important one. Any living organism, such as humans can be characterized partly by the division of cells. Since our conception we exist as a single cell then a collection of cells organized into various structures and functions that make up each of our systems that work synchronously to communicate with each other to maintain homeostasis within the body. Human growth hormone is largely responsible for the growth of new cells when old ones day. When we are young the cells that inevitably die are replaced by cells that are brand new. This happens seemlessly and timely throughout your life until your body begins to function less effectively and new cell growth can’t keep up with cell death. Human growth hormone is responsible for increasing the body’s ability to grow new cells to replace the old ones. This is nearly a halt or even reversal of the aging process and can be helped along by a consistent and long-term strength training programme.
D. Decline of cardiovascular function: As you age you accumulate wear and tear throughout the body. This can come in many forms such as physical damage, systemic inflammation, weakening of arteries etc. Strength training, more than cardiovascular training, is responsible for adaptations to the heart and blood vessels that make this entire system more resistant to disease. Blood pressure is kept within a more normal range and a whole host of other effects take place that result in an increased lifespan and an increase in quality of life.
There are a whole list of other anti-aging benefits that I could include here, however they are beyond the scope of this article.
Strength training reduces body fat levels effectively. When you train for strength at a challenging level the energy required is significant. A large number of calories are expended during a workout that involves large compound movements such as squats and deadlifts.
Further to the energy expended during a strength workout, there are benefits that reach far greater. Increased muscle mass, even if it is only a small amount, results in an increased basal metabolic rate (BMR). What this means is that each gram of muscle mass takes an increased amount of energy simply to exist. The result being a higher level of energy consumed even at rest, which is quite cumulative over the course of a day or a week.
Strength training increases performance at everything. Read: EVERYTHING! This is a simplified statement. What I mean is that strength training that specifically targets the movement patterns and energy systems used in the task being trained for will significantly improve performance of that task if combined with other relevant training. For this entry I will provide a few examples and brief explanation of how strength training will increase performance for that task.
A. Sprinting: Here I am referring to sprinting in all its forms such as running 100-200m, track cycling, 50m swimming etc. Strength training increases the force at which a muscle is capable of contracting, which transfers to power if the muscle is trained to contract with force and speed at the same time. Sprinting requires a maximum level of output for a short space of time. Strength increases the output a person is capable of over the same period of time that is trained for. For example, someone that can squat 200kg is going to take off out of the blocks in a 100m sprint faster than a person that squats only 150kg.
B. Endurance: Strength training will increase endurance performance in a slightly less direct way than for sprinting. Strength increases biomechanical efficiency. Take running for example, you get more from each stride for less energy when you are strong along with your endurance. For obvious reasons this will increase overall performance. The one caveat I have is to not increase muscle mass to a large degree. Doing so adds extra mass to carry over an extended distance and spreads mitochondria and capillary density thin, which makes the body have to work harder to supply oxygen to these working muscles. The good news is, as you will discover later in this article, muscle can increase in strength without a corresponding increase in size.
C. Daily Physical Tasks: Everything is easier when you’re strong. Stronger legs make it easier to walk up stairs. Strength makes you better able to sprint for that bus that you are about to miss. Strength enables you to carry a greater load of luggage through the airport. Strength gives you that extra boost of power necessary to jump off a boat to save that child that just fell in the water. And of course, being strong enables you to better handle bags of groceries, mop your floor or move house. The list goes on, but you get the idea.
Strength does not always equal size. One of the biggest misunderstandings about strength training is that it will inexorably and inevitably lead to bulky slabs of muscle and increase body weight. This is only partially true. Strength training is the primary way to increase muscle size, and indeed the correct intensity and volume will yield significant increases in mass if combined with adequate nutrition.
So how do you increase strength without increasing size? Muscle strength is largely inhibited in terms of how much of its potential is generally available for use. This is a combination of factors, largely coming from the nervous system. When a muscle contracts it only partially contracts, leaving behind a percentage of dormant muscle fibres. The more force applied to a muscle the higher the percentage of motor units recruited, which means a greater force can be applied. The muscle adapts by allowing a greater number of these motor units to remain available for future recruitment.
A very simplified guide to which training produces which results is as follows….
High weight, low reps, low volume. This protocol produces predominantly gains in strength and muscle tone with very limited increases in muscle size. This is good for those requiring a high strength to weight ratio, as most sports reward this kind of strength, as does life itself for the most part.
Moderate reps, moderate weight, moderate-high volume. This is best for hypertrophy, AKA muscle gain. By training this way you are causing sufficient stimulus for muscle catabolism, or breakdown, which signals the body to grow more muscle in response, which is called anabolism, or muscle building. For this to occur nutrition must also be adequate.
High reps, low weight, high volume. This protocol will somewhat yield hypertrophy, however the primary use for this sort of training is, for obvious reasons, muscular endurance. The effectiveness of this protocol is somewhat sketchy.
Strength training improves posture and muscle balance. I am willing to bet that at least 95% of people in their life suffer from some form of postural complaint or muscle imbalance at some stage. Most often this is caused by unnatural patterns of movement and sitting and standing in way that the body is not designed to do. Here are a few key example:
So what’s the solution? A well designed strength training programme that aims to even out imbalances, strengthen a weak core and build a stable posture for sports and daily activities.
Strength training is the most effective and fastest way to change the shape of your body. Those that know me and are familiar with this site will know that my primary focus is performance and function over appearance alone. Although looking good is a pleasant by-product of fitness training, but it’s not an end in itself, not for Personal Evolution anyway.
So many people, particularly women, pound out hours of aerobic exercise in the form of jogging, group fitness classes and cardio equipment at the gym, all in the name of decreasing body fat and looking good on the beach or in a wedding dress. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, however it is inefficient. Take a look at an endurance athlete, they are generally thin and wiry with a very small amount of muscle mass. They train the way they do to serve a specific purpose, however they are hardly models for appearance. Many people are misguided into believing that this is the way to train for a better looking body, however year after year they are once again disappointed with limited results. Best case scenario is a smaller version of the same body. But who wants to be skinny-fat?
Strength training comes in many forms and can change the shape of a person’s body faster than aerobic training alone. That’s not to say that aerobic fitness should not be a part of your fitness programme. What I am saying is that for your physique to look significantly different you need to include strength training as a prominent feature. I know what a lot of you that are addicted to cardio are thinking now, especially the women that don’t want to get “bulky”; you’re thinking that you just want to “tone up” and lose some body fat. You might be thinking strength training belongs to a separate world and does not apply to you. In addition to all the health and performance benefits, strength training can fulfil a range of aesthetic purposes, not all of them being a large and bulky muscular frame…..although that’s still a part of it if that floats your boat. I will here outline various strength training protocols and how they make a difference to your physique:
Low reps, high weight, low volume: As you well know, this strength training protocol is designed to develop strength without a corresponding increase in muscle mass. A lot of people are mistakenly led to believe that low rep training with a lot of weight is for the hardcore lifter only.
To a degree this is true, the hardcore lifter does train this way if their main goal is strength. However for those wanting increased muscle tone without getting bulky then heavy training is actually your best option. When you increase your strength you increase muscle tone, they happen together and it’s impossible not to. A muscle increases in strength by increasing the recruitment of motor units. Muscle holds its shape through minute activation of these motor units. The more motor units activated the more tone a muscle holds. As mentioned, this is a direct result of heavy strength training. Strength and muscle tone are increased together without a corresponding increase in mass. So this is THE best option for those wanting to look good without being all “bulky”.
Moderate reps (8-12), moderate weight, moderate-high volume: As we have previously covered, this protocol aims at increasing muscle size, AKA hypertrophy. Many people require an increase in muscle mass in order to change the shape of their body. Fat has a mind of its own and is stored wherever it is genetically coded to go. Muscle mass not only looks better than fat, you get to choose where it goes and how it is shaped to a certain degree. Further to that, as we have also covered, increased muscle mass increases you metabolic rate, leading to fat loss. The muscle mass required for fat loss does not have to be a large increase either, even a small amount of muscle, as in 1kg, will lead to significantly more calories consumed while at rest over a 24 hour period.
High reps, low weight, high volume: In terms of changes to body shape and body composition, this form of strength training serves several purposes, however in my opinion is not best practice. Some people respond well to high reps, while others get limited benefit. He high volume somewhat promotes muscular hypertrophy and overall will help develop muscle definition. On its own I believe that high rep strength training holds limited value, however can be used in combination with one or both of the other two protocols.
Combined strength training protocols: For best results in terms of appearance and changes to body shape I personally recommend combining all three protocols in proportions relevant to your goals. This can be done within the same training week or periodised in phases. Simply put more focus into the protocol that best suits what you are trying to achieve. For those wanting to increase muscle mass significantly I will add that increasing strength is vital. You should always include a phase of low rep, heavy training in order to increase the potential recruitment of available muscle.
Strength training comes in many forms. That means that it does not simply involve lifting weights such as a barbell or the machine in the gym. Strength training is a large umbrella term referring to many different things from gymnastics to power lifting to Olympic style weightlifting and more.
When you think of strength training the image that may come to mind is a buff guy, veins popping from forearms, performing bicep curls in the mirror at your local fitness first. To me, strength training is any form of training that trains a muscle/group of muscles to contract with greater force. That’s a broad definition, however it goes even broader. Not only is strength training designed to develop the ability to produce force, it is also used to develop the ability to apply repeat force (endurance) or force at a greater rate (power). So lets first look at different types of strength with some examples and then we will cover a variety of training methods.
Maximum Strength: This is simple, it refers to the ability to apply one-off force. That is, to apply the most force possible, regardless of speed of movement. Power lifting is the best example of this. A power lifter has three competition lifts, the bench press, squat and deadlift. The winner is the one that lifts the most for a single rep of each, simple. It is arguable that power lifting world record holders are indeed the strongest people on Earth, as this, unlike strongman competitions, is the only sport relying purely on brute strength at the highest level. I agree with this argument. Keep in mind though that maximum strength is not reserved for the power lifter, it is a skill that is transferable to many other activities, tasks and sports.
Volume:Time Ratio: This is the type of strength demonstrated by the competitors of the world’s strongest man competition. Simply put, what this means is the time it takes to lift a cumulative weight or force. So two people squatting for five reps may have the same level of maximum strength, however person A is capable of squatting 200kg for the five reps, while person B only manages 180kg, so their volume:time ratio is different. Over the time it takes person A to lift a cumulative weight of 1000kg, person B has only managed 900kg. This is developed by training both specifically, as in multiple reps, and by developing maximum strength. As volume increases then so does the need for muscle size, hence the reason for the monolithic size of the world’s strongest man.
Speed of Force Generation: This is commonly referred to as muscular power, which is its technical term. However I consider certain applications of power as displays of strength. A 100m sprinter requires the development of strength and the development of power, however the speed and power demonstrated in the actual sprint itself is not the sort of power I am referring to as a demonstration of strength. What I am referring to is moving a larger force at a faster rate. So two people may be able to squat 200kg, but person A is able to move the weight in 1.2 seconds, whereas person B moves the same weight but it takes three seconds to lift it. Obviously person A has greater speed of force generation. Generally this transfers well to multiple areas, such as maximum strength and to the type of power required in throwing jumping and sprinting. However the best demonstration of this is the Olympic style weight lifter.
Strength Endurance: Strength endurance refers to the ability to move a force repeatedly for an extended period. This is measured in terms of the force generated, how many times it can repeatedly be applied and the time for which it is sustained before fatigue. There are many ways of working this out and measuring it, however it is a relative term and classification. Strength endurance is developed by traditional strength training methods such as lifting weights and bodyweight strength exercises as well as more indirect methods such as cycling hard on a high gear or repeating a sport specific movement over and over at a higher level of resistance.
Relative Strength: This is simply a demonstration of strength in relation to body weight or muscular size. It is the same as maximum strength, however is measured and classified differently. Relative strength is more force applied in relation to bodyweight. Many athletes, in fact most athletes, rely on relative strength. That is, they need a significant amount of strength without a correspondingly large increase in body weight. This apples to the gymnast, the sprinter, the high jumper etc.
Absolute Strength: This is another type of maximum strength and is virtually the same thing. Where relative strength measures strength in relation to body weight or muscle size, absolute strength is just a measurement of strength altogether with no consideration of size. With relative strength a person weighing 50kg that can deadlift 100kg has a higher relative strength than the 100kg person that can deadlift 180kg. However that 100kg person has a higher absolute strength. Absolute strength is best for those that require strength and control of an external force as opposed to controlling one’s own body. For example the gymnast requires the ability to move their own body through space, hence the need to be very strong in comparison to their body weight. On the other hand an American football player requires a significant level of overall strength and power to deal with external hits from opponents. A strongman is lifting external items, where it doesn’t matter what their own weight is, it just matters what they can lift and what they can’t.
Example of Strength Training Methods
This part has been touched on throughout this article from several different angles, so the aim here is not to repeat what has been covered. However lets look at a variety of ways one can train for strength development in all its forms.
Traditional Weight Training: This is possibly the most accessible and easiest to quantify methods of strength training. This is your run of the mill deadlift, squat, bench press, overhead press, bent over row etc. This is a good base for anyone to work from.
Gymnastics: This refers to anything using one’s own bodyweight as resistance. Push-ups, pull-ups, single leg squats, burpees, handstand push-ups, you name it, this is gymnastics. This also applies to a broader range of skills such as rings exercises and acrobatics. Many hardcore strength athletes baulk at the idea of body weight resistance as a real form of strength development, however they fail to see the levels of progression available. Eugene Sandow and many other old-style strongmen demonstrated great feats of gymnastics style strength at a hefty body weight exceeding 220lbs. If you’re an avid strength athlete then try something different for yourself and see firsthand how useful it can be.
I challenge you to try the two-point push-up. Begin as you would for a single arm push-up, except raise gthe opposite leg off the ground also, so that all that is supporting you is one arm and one leg. If you’re using your left arm then it’s your right leg that is on the ground, you get the idea. Then simply attempt a push-up. I guarantee most people will fail at this the first time.
Strongman Style Training: We’ve all seen the world’s strongest man competition. It features gargantuan men lifting all kinds of heavy objects in a variety of ways. Most of the events in strongman, strangely enough, are not a test of maximum strength at all. Many of them test repeat strength, grip strength-endurance and even cardiovascular fitness in an anaerobic way. Having said that, strongman style training is a great way to build various aspects of strength and strength-endurance in a functional manner. By functional I mean strength that is transferable to real-world tasks.
Strongman training is not restricted to the events featured in the world’s strongest man competition. By strongman training I am referring to lifting heavy, awkward items in an endless variety of ways. Examples include carrying large rocks a certain distance, lifting something heavy of an awkward shape off the ground and placing it on something over head, dragging a heavy boat chain up a hill, towing a car or truck with a harness on, carrying a heavy suitcase in one hand for distance, heavy punching bag lift and slam, moving an old fridge from one place to another by hand, overhand close-grip deadlift carry, carrying repeated heavy items up a staircase, throwing heavy rocks, scaling a wall with a weighted backpack on , simulating heavy furniture removal……the list could go on and is only limited by your imagination.
Olympic Weightlifting: In addition to Olympic weightlifting I am referring to any kind of weight training method that relies on maximum speed of movement and gathering momentum. This is useful for the coordination of a large chain of muscle groups working synergistically to move an object. The athletic benefits here are obvious. It is worth learning at least the clean as well as dumbell and kettle bell versions of the snatch and kettle bell swings.
Overtraining eliminates the benefits of strength training to a large degree. If you learn nothing else from this list, at least take this one on board. A common mistake I see with people trying to build muscle or increase strength is overtraining. This is most apparent with hypertrophy programmes when the person hit’s a plateau and tries to regain momentum again by training harder, more frequently and for longer. The result is muscles and a central nervous system that are so taxed they have no resources to repair, grow stronger and grow bigger. So the individual gets caught in a spiral and if it goes too far, will find themselves with serious health concerns.
When muscles are challenged through hard training they begin a process of breakdown, also known as catabolism. In response the body begins repairing the sore and damaged muscles and making them either bigger, stronger or both. This is how muscles get results from training. The soreness you experience is a result of actual damage, and with damage there is always inflammation. Think of strength training like getting a tan. When you go out in the sun with the intention of tanning (a dangerous objective by the way) your body can only cope with a limited amount of exposure and still produce the desired tan. If you stay in the sun too long you will begin to burn. After significant sunburn your body cannot cope with the level of damage, which results in the death of the first layers of skin, which peels off after blistering. This reveals a layer of raw and inflamed skin that takes some time to heal, and it does so without a tan.
Keeping that in mind, muscle damage as a result of strength training is no different. The body can cope with a reasonable amount of muscle damage and will respond with a favorable result. When muscles are challenged excessively they experience their own version of sunburn and the body lends its efforts to simply healing, but without the desired increase in size, strength or tone. In fact, after the healing process is finished it will quite often result in a reversal of previously gained results.
Overtraining has varying levels of severity with symptoms ranging from acute excessive soreness all the way to stress on the central nervous system, adrenal glands and liver. The moral of the story is that more is not always better when it comes to strength training. As I have mentioned many times in the past, quality is always better than quantity.
Strength training is an important and even essential part of any fitness programme for everyone from elite athlete to the average Joe. Having said that, don’t get too hung up on it thinking it is the magic solution to everything. Keep in mind that there are many other forms of training available that serve various purposes. Most athletes understand, at least to a certain degree, the types of training required to produce required results and performance. The general exercising public may not be so savvy, simply because there are so many ideas and methods floating around now days that it confuses people. One method contradicts another and people are found chopping and changing continuously between fads and methods and essentially getting nowhere, apart from the select few that know what they’re doing.
I promote a different approach and hope to gradually change the way people think about fitness at all levels. What I do is beyond a particular method with a single selling point such as crossfit with their whole broadness and sport of fitness approach. It is not P90X and it is not a specific training protocol such as training to failure, volume training, HIIT or any other singular method. At the risk of sounding broad, I promote and teach a complete approach to strength and conditioning. This involves using simply what works. This is drawn from a variety of sources of research, experience, trial and error and modeling the methods of the best coaches, trainers and athletes in the world.
I hope you have learned something from this strength training list of facts and explanations. Like many of the material I write, this is a lengthy read. I aim to provide the most information possible in order to give you the best understanding I can. As with most things, more answers create more questions and lead to learning and a gradual building of an education on the topic. With knowledge comes potential power.
I digress. The message here is simple, strength training is a useful tool. Learn what works and what doesn’t and apply it.