In the past few years I have developed a new outlook regarding the hierarchy of importance amongst movement capability, strength, and cardiorespiratory fitness, as they impact human performance and long term health.
My perspective on these three things have changed over the years. I have always had an interest in strength training. It was an area, as a teenager, I could see a direct correlation between hard work and progress. It helped me not only get stronger but gain confidence and become better in the sports I participated in. Back then there was little scientific literature on strength training. I was fortunate to have some very good high school coaches who pointed me in the right direction but most of what I learned immediately after high school came from magazines, others in the gym, and Arnold’s Encyclopedia of a Bodybuilder. Later when I began training others, the only certifications in the industry were based on cardiovascular exercise or “aerobics”. Strength training, at that time, was not considered vital for long term health and was even considered to be detrimental to sports performance in such sports as basketball, baseball, and golf. Very few women did any type of strength training. I still remember taking a health science class and being excited to read a textbook that cited that as we get older, strength becomes more important than cardiovascular fitness. To me, this validated the importance of strength training.
We need a balance of strength and conditioning for long term health and success in most sports. This is a fact that is widely accepted now. What I have begun to realize is that what is ultimately more important is our ability to move. If we have good movement quality, meaning we are able to position correctly to perform basic human motions, then we will be able to produce more force and power and be more efficient in our movements all while producing less wear and tear on our body. Vice versa, if we lack the knowledge, body awareness, mobility, stability, or discipline to put our bodies in the correct positions we will be at higher risk for injury, not to mention we will be inefficient.