Your PR Isn’t That Important: Putting Strength Development Into Perspective

Ever wondered if you are strong… enough?
It doesn’t take a great deal of intelligence to realize that in order to get where you want to go (superhuman strength and aesthetics of a Greek god, we assume), you first have to know where you stand right now.

In grade school, we have standardized tests to tell us whether we’ve fixed our knowledge gaps and weaknesses or we’re still somewhere below the mark, so we can work harder for the next time around. But as grown-ups, evaluating our progress – be it in interpersonal relationships or fitness goals – can be a lot more difficult to do and might require a well-rounded, holistic approach. You might think that gauging your fitness level is a pretty simple task: as long as you keep breaking your own PR’s, you’re moving forward, right?

Well, not necessarily.

Physical fitness is comprised of eleven components and strength is only one of them. Here’s the entire list:

  • Agility
  • Balance
  • Body composition
  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Endurance
  • Strength

When the strength community emphasizes the importance of improving strength for improving fitness, health and well-being and encourages both average fitness-oriented folks and serious lifters to focus on developing their muscular strength, they are totally right. Strength really is an extraordinarily important part of athletic performance and bodybuilding success.

However, there’s more to fitness than strength, and evaluating your strength level with the help of some popular methods, such as the PR, can often lead you into a trap, especially if you’re already in great shape. Yes, more often than not, people who’ve already surpassed the point where improving strength was a necessity for advancing other aspects of their level of fitness fail to realize that their strength training has become nothing more than a hobby.

In other words, if you are obsessed with improving your PR, it’s very likely that you’ve forgotten about or tend to neglect the other components of fitness. Increasing your strength will undoubtedly translate to major improvements of those other ones, but you have to learn that your entire success doesn’t depend on whether or not you can lift ridiculous amounts of weight. If anything, that kind of approach will leave you more susceptible to injury and eventually harm both your athletic performance and everyday functionality and general health.

What about things like mobility, endurance and joint health? Without these, being super strong can become a danger instead of an advantage. What’s the point of always trying to push through your boundaries if the end result is being weaker, injured or less capable?

In conclusion, we’d like to remind you that although strength is one of the most important aspects of physical fitness, it’s not the only thing you should focus while at the gym. Once you’ve gotten objectively strong, training for other goals or components of fitness should become equally important because at the end of the day, being strong by itself doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in great shape. Make sure to always keep this in your mind in order to improve your physique and performance in many more ways than you ever hoped!

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