Our Training Philosophy
Strength is the most important general physical adaptation. All other physical capacities like power, balance, coordination and even endurance depend on a person’s ability to produce force against an external resistance. Every single task you encounter on a daily basis, just living your life, depends to a varying degree on your ability or lack thereof to produce force. Strength is also something that we take for granted, and it is not until our strength is gone that we begin to appreciate it.
Our philosophy is to not simply do what works, but do what is optimal and works best. There are plenty of training programs where random exercises are thrown together, all with the goal of getting someone hot and sweaty. This does little to spur progress after the first few weeks because there is no planned progression – no increase in stimulus to keep things moving forward.
“Exercise” is physical activity done for the sake of how it makes you feel today. It can either be a random workout that an instructor wrote on a chalk-board, or it could be the exact same routine every time you step into a gym. The goal is to make you sweaty, “confuse” your muscles, and make you feel like you’ve worked hard.
“Training” is a systematic approach to exercise. It is done with a plan in mind. Goals are set and progression is planned ahead of time to get you to those goals quicker than if you were simply exercising. Some days might even be easier than others (gasp!), but they serve a purpose and are all part of the master plan.
One of the biggest problems we see in healthcare/fitness is that too many people simply exercise. If you go to a doctor with a health issue, any good M.D. will look at where you are currently vs. where you need to be. They will then formulate a plan, monitor your progress as time goes on, and make adjustments to the prescription as needed. The same should be done for physical training. Formulate a plan to get to where you want to be using the most efficient means possible. Then follow that plan and make small adjustments as needed. Anything else is sub-optimal.
So Why Barbells?
Simply put, a barbell is the most efficient tool we have for stressing your body as a system. It offers a way to load normal human movement with virtually any weight, making it possible to scale movements to anyone – from the deconditioned elderly to the young athlete to anyone in between.
Compound exercises like a squat, deadlift, or press apply stress through the whole body, from the base of support at the feet to where the bar is held in hands or on the shoulders. Every single part in the kinetic chain gets worked. This results in a much greater systemic response to exercise than if you had split your body up and worked each muscle separately.
“There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.” – Mark Rippetoe
One of the main reasons machine-based training is so popular in many gyms is that it’s almost impossible to screw up. Little supervision is needed, and that means staff don’t need as much training. While this may be good for the business’ bottom line, it comes at an expense to productive training.
At Westminster Strength and Conditoning, we train. We teach people to strength train with a barbell and help with their nutrition. Then we watch as people quite literally change their lives for the better.