Being strong is about far more than heavy bench pressing. And although it’s nice to be able to deadlift 4 plates for multiple repetitions, it’s much nicer go to bed at night knowing that you’re able to protect your family. (Read This: The Code of Manhood)
That’s why it’s odd to me when guys ask me for training advice and say shit like “I want to build muscle, but I really don’t care about strength.” For one, it makes absolutely no sense since getting stronger (progressive overload) is the main mechanism by which we build muscle mass. Secondly, how dare you set a purely cosmetic goal and call yourself a man…man!
Aiming for hypertrophy with no interest in gaining strength is like saying you want to drive a $200,000 Ferrari with the engine of a Honda Fit. All show, no go.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather drive the $15,000 Honda Fit with the Ferrari engine (assuming that was possible).
Realistically, though, that could never happen. Not because the engine wouldn’t fit in the opposing vehicle, but because you’ll never see a jacked dude who can only bench press 135 lbs – the same way you’ll never see a guy squatting 405 with chicken legs.
The point is this: with strength comes size. The stronger you get, the bigger you’ll grow.
Now that that’s clear, let’s talk about the true reasons a man must train for strength. (Grab This: Free Strength Test)
1. You’ll Command Respect
“When men evaluate each other as men, they still look for the same virtues that they’d need to keep the perimeter. Men respond to and admire the qualities that would make men useful and dependable in an emergency. Men have always had a role apart, and they still judge one another according to the demands of that role as a guardian in a gang struggling for survival against encroaching doom. Everything that is specifically about being a man—not merely a person—has to do with that role.” –Jack Donovan, The Way of Men
Truth is, we judge one another based on a number of factors – its human nature. For instance: we will typically rate a man’s manliness by how likely he is to kick someone’s ass.
Though this day and age it may seem primitive or just plain stupid, both men and women find men who appear physically strong more respectable than their not-so-strong counterparts.
Physical strength exudes authority, and as seen in plenty of studies, attractiveness to the opposite sex.
But it’s not just about being a sexy beast…It’s about the impression you make on your future boss when you walk into the interview, the fact that you’ll be less likely to have to fight off a gun bearing delinquent – cowardly thieves are looking for an easy target and a guy who looks like he can lift a car isn’t one of them.
2. No One Likes Joint Pain
Are you of the mindset that training heavy is bad for your joints?
Let me clear something up for you: training heavy does not damage your joints. Working with a load you can’t handle and performing a lift with shitty form is what damages the joints.
To the contrary, increasing your strength doesn’t just result in building more muscle, it also aids in making our connective tissue stronger.
Similar to our muscles, connective tissue adapts to the training stimulus by getting stronger.
This study conducted with competitive weight lifters – guys who are, by most people’s standards, beating the shit out of their joints – found that, for the most part, the subject’s joints were as healthy, or in healthier, than other people their age.
3. Life’s Better with Adamantium Bones
After puberty, men begin to lose about 1 percent of their bone and muscle strength every year.
This may happen at a faster rate for those who:
• consume alcohol heavily
• are thin
• or don’t get enough calcium in their diet
According to Troy Tuttle, MS, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, “One of the best ways to stop, prevent, and even reverse bone and muscle loss is to add strength training to your workouts”
Bone strength – like connective tissue – responds to stress. When we introduce a new stimulus, the bones adapt and grow in order to handle the stress again in the future.
So unless you want to be more susceptible to “snappin’ your shit up” as you get older, start lifting heavy weights*.
4. You Are You’re Family’s Protector
Are you confident that, if your house caught on fire, you’d be able to carry your wife and kids out of the burning house, fast enough for everyone to remain safe?
Are you certain that you could drop an attacker on his ass if he musters up the courage to pull a knife on you and your family? I am not saying that you should be a hero and put your family at risk, but if things got physical, could you hold your own?
What about the simple things – like carrying bags of cement to install the new basketball hoop you bought for your kids?
I take pride when my children brag to their friends about how stronger their daddy is.
But I take even more pride in knowing that my wife and kids can go to bed at night, knowing that if shit hits the fan, dad is going to take care of them.
5. Your Best Version isn’t a Weak Sissy
The best version of yourself is not skinny and fragile and he’s certainly not obese and disease prone.
It’s why many great men in history put such an emphasis on not only mind and soul, but body as well.
Think back to when Teddy Roosevelt’s father said to him ““Theodore, you have the mind, but you have not the body, and without the help of the body, the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must make your body.”
You see, pushing yourself physically shows you what you’re made of mentally.
The best place to develop toughness is the gym. By pushing through the pain that occurs when you’re moving the weight, rep after rep, and the lactic acid starts to build, you become tougher. And as you grow strong physically, you grow tougher mentally, too.
The best version of yourself doesn’t quit…he’s a tough son of a bitch.
Aesthetics don’t make you tough – the work it takes to develop an authoritative physique does. This is why your goal should never be to look better, but rather, to perform better. If you’re getting stronger, you’re getting bigger. But more importantly, as you gain strength, you gain respect, confidence, you become resilient, gritty, and mentally tough – all characteristics of great men.
Maybe your inherited characteristics won’t allow you to become a world-class powerlifter, but genetics can’t stop you from becoming better tomorrow than you were today.
About The Author
Alain Gonzalez is a former skinny guy turned jacked fitness pro whose transformation story has been featured in articles on websites all over the internet. He has dedicated his life to helping naturally skinny guys like himself to overcome their genetics and take their physiques to the next level.
Certified Personal Trainer