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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ken Silverstein


Updated: Apr 3, 2023

What do you think of when you think about strength? Look to the dictionary and get a mundane reflection, “the quality or state of being physically strong.” Not terribly helpful or insightful and bordering on circular reasoning (having strength is about being strong, hmmmm). Let’s go deeper. Strength is the capacity of an object or substance (or a person!) to withstand great force or pressure. Do we need to lift a lot of heavy weights to withstand pressure? How do we develop that kind of strength? Exercise, including weightlifting, certainly builds resilience of the body; it also builds resilience of the mind, which you need to resist pressures in life. It’s not clear to me that bench pressing your body weight is the goal you must reach to develop this kind of strength. Show up, do what you can, strive to improve even just a little bit, and come back again tomorrow. Strength is also a positive quality that makes you more effective, or that helps you succeed and make progress. What are your strengths? How do you leverage them? How do you develop them, and improve upon them? Does going to the gym help in any way? At the gym you need discipline, you need order, you need flexibility, you need situational awareness. Yes, it helps. Strength is also the amount of power or influence that someone has. What kind of exercise increases this kind of strength? So-called “brute strength” won’t serve you well in this regard. This is a strength borne from finesse, from reading the room, from sense-and-response, from distinguishing between which cards to hold and which to play. The theme persists, the discipline of exercise is a helpful tutor here; finding the heaviest dumbbell in the set won’t necessarily get you where you want to be. Leaving the dictionary behind, the thesaurus provides another level of insight into the concept of strength. The English language is just so amazing, with so many ways to say the same thing, but in very different ways. Strength, or clout, toughness, vitality, backbone, force, security, sturdiness, durability. So what do you think of when you think about strength? What do you do that builds your strength? Exercise can help in many ways, not all as obvious as what results from a set of bicep curls. Find a path to the gym that supports your efforts and contributes to your strength. Take a clue from the name of our favorite fitness center. It’s all about Balance.

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