Physical strength is the ability of the muscles to exert force on a physical object. It is hard to think of a downside to having greater physical strength. Greater strength means having more power to do more work more efficiently.
In this context, when we say work, we mean it scientifically rather than the nine-to-five context. Efficiently working muscles may be called upon to work by hitting a golf ball further and straighter, by walking to the water’s edge to enjoy the sunset, or to wrap your arms around your loved one and hold her closer.
Bigger muscles are generally thought to be stronger than smaller ones, but this is not a completely accurate assessment. The muscles are collections of fibers that contract when given a command from the central nervous system. Strength training builds muscle strength in two ways.
The obvious way is to make the individual muscle fibers stronger. In strength training the muscles are stressed by resistance. This results in the muscle fibers becoming slightly torn. Rather than degrading the muscle’s performance, when the tears heal during the recovery period, the muscles become stronger.
The less obvious, but more beneficial, aspect of strength training occurs as the muscles learn to work together to accomplish the task or movement. Going back to our example of hitting the golf ball, it is easy to understand how important the large muscles of the arms, back and legs are for imparting force to club. However, if the supporting muscles which control the subtle aspects of the movement are properly trained, the club face hits the ball squarely and the ball flies straighter and further.
The muscles need the energy from nutrition in order to do their work. Not only is the energy needed when the work is being performed, it is important during the recovery phase when the muscles are repairing and building themselves.
Vitamins are an important element of nutrition, especially when strength training. By themselves, vitamins provide no energy, but they are important in metabolizing food and turning it into energy.
Vitamin A has a major role in cell production, as well as helping to control the autoimmune system. Cell production is important to the recovery/rebuilding phase of strength training. The autoimmune response helps to regulate how the body’s inflammatory response reacts to strength training.
The B Vitamins have a vital role in breaking down carbohydrates and proteins so they can be used for energy, and increased energy means that you will be able to do more sets during strength training. B6 and B12 are important to the formation of hemoglobin. They are predominately found in animal products, which means that vegan and vegetarian athletes may be in danger of anemia.
Long called the King of vitamins, we have been told about the importance of vitamin C since we first found an orange in our lunch pails. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant, which again aids in recovery from working out. It is also a component of collagen, one of the connective tissue that helps to hold muscles together.