Getting stronger is hard work. It doesn’t come easily or quickly (although with proper training you’d be surprised just how fast you will progress). It takes consistent, focused effort to develop strength. The main lifts must be practiced and trained hard. As strength develops the weights are increased so the focus is always on pushing your limits further. Hard training develops character, and to finish every session knowing you gave what you had and pushed yourself is itself a worthwhile goal.

The pervasive mentality today is one that values easy shortcuts, quick fixes, and those fucking “life hacks”. Strength training requires a different mentality. As with any effective training program, it can be grueling. There will be times when the weight feels heavier than it should, when you’re tired, sore or just distracted by whatever else is going on in your life. Some training sessions will be more of a struggle than others. To push through this and get the work done requires and also builds a sense of self-reliance. There is a confidence that is built by overcoming the weight and making yourself stronger.

Another important aspect of strength training is what’s known as Positive Aggression. To lift heavy you need to be in a state of psychological readiness. The weight can’t be lifted slowly or passively, it has to be attacked with aggression and authority. If your mind isn’t engaged and ready, the weight won’t move. Other types of training don’t require such focus and mental commitment. You can show up and go through the required motions and make some progress even without really pushing yourself. That’s why in most gyms there are TVs in all the cardio areas. Training for strength is different. Lifting is as much about mental strength as it is physical. Self belief and a ‘fuck you’ attitude are what’s needed when the weight gets heavy. That state of mind, that positive aggression, is a useful skill to develop. It helps forge an attitude of seeing a challenge or an obstacle and smashing through it. Lifting more than you thought you could, training harder than you thought you could; it gives a feeling not just of achievement but more importantly of self respect.

The goal of getting strong isn’t only about moving more weight or looking more powerful. It’s to make yourself stronger than you were before, mentally as well as physically. Nothing worth having ever came easily.

Owain Lloyd
Personal Trainer in Liverpool at Liverpool Personal Training Studios