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Strength Principles part 1


This is a continuation of a previous article, StrongFirst: Principle Based Strength.

It will explain the first 4 points of the StrongFirst ‘S‘ : Strength Principles


1) Safety First  /  2) Strength has a greater Purpose  /  3) Tension is Strength (Hard Style) /  4) Relaxation is Strength


Strength Principles

Use this visual as a way to organize your thoughts on HOW you work out.

These principles have been stolen off other StrongFirst articles and gathered through personal experience. But there is no need to go look them up because the first 4 principles will be explained here and the rest in the second Part of this article series.

These principles guide my training as well as all of my clients.

If you follow these principles you will ALWAYS progress. This is because you will always have in the back of your head the reason you are training, making motivation a non-issue.

Without further ado, here are the first 4 points of the StrongFirst ‘S‘ : Strength Principles.


1) Safety First

  • This includes personal space, choosing the appropriate weight, location and equipment.
  • It also means not training yourself to a point were the risk of injury becomes greater than the benefit received from the exercise.
  • Pain = NO gain (usually) – I am always reminded at this point of some Paul Chek says : “Train, don’t Drain”


2) Strength has a greater purpose

“Sparta, Rome, the knights of Europe, the samurai… worshiped strength.

— Because it is strength that makes all other values possible.” (Enter the Dragon)

  • Strength is a SKILL; that means it can be TAUGHT, and that you are either GOOD at it or BAD at it – you are either strong, or weak. Being GOOD at something has a ton of intrinsic and extrinsic value, but aspiring to be better, is even better!
  • StrongFirst is not just about swings. We don’t do swings just so we can do swings really well, we do them for other reasons – i.e. We train strength because it carries over into everything else we do : be it physical or mental.


3) Tension is Strength

  • This means HARD STYLE : you must learn how to utilize your bodies tension in order to improve your performance. This is achieved through certain tension techniques.
    • including: 1) make a white knuckle fist 2) drive heels into floor 3) crush a walnut between your Glutes 4) squeeze the Abdominals 5) utilize power breathing
    • the next step is knowing when to use them, that involves some strategy on your part.
  • Without proper abdominal bracing (tension) your risk of injury increases. With proper abdominal bracing you can literally do anything you want (except fly).


4) Relaxation is strength

  • The other side of the coin of strength is relaxation and recovery. This means proper rest between sets and appropriate recovery between workouts.
  • If you CANNOT relax, if you CANNOT exhale with an audible sigh of relief, you need to figure it out. Without Relaxation you will always have elevated cortisol and low testosterone levels (which is harmful over long periods).
  • Relaxation is also a Mobility Principle: along with breathing and patience. If you lack either of these it is now wonder why your strength and mobility goals seem so unattainable no matter how hard you try. Its because you are trying too hard!

In the words of the Omni-Dimensional Creator:

“You gotta chill, man.”


These principles should help construct your notions of how you work out (i.e. hardstyle, long rest) and also guide you to a more holistic way of training/taking care of your self (relaxation/recovery).

I hope these help your training,

and make sure you stay tuned for Part 2!

All the best my friends!