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The classic image of physical-training is, perhaps, a strapping youth pumping iron to build massive, sharply delineated muscles. In reality, truly fit, athletically able people rarely look like body builders. Football linebackers and heavyweight boxers may develop impressive muscle mass, but tennis players and distance runners are often lean and wiry.

All are strong. And fit relative to the demands of their sports.

So what of the iron pumper?

Recent studies show that the vast majority of U.S. population, including many muscle-beach types and recreational athletes, lacks muscular fitness.

The iron pumper may develop fantastic biceps, sharply delineated abs and what appear to be crushing forearms, but none of that may help in swinging a driver or baseball bat. Indeed, the individual may be muscle bound – functionally weak as a newborn.

Muscular fitness – the  combination of strength and endurance – is important in all you do. It is at the core of physical skill and sports performance, affecting how hard you throw a ball or how fast you swing a golf club. It even affects how easy it is to heft a grocery bag  or carry a child.

Resistance training programs that progressively overload muscles increase strength. While the body builder’s iron pumping is a form of resistance training, it is narrowly focused on creating bulk in isolated muscles.

We apply resistance training – including pumping iron – to help people meet challenges important to them. Perhaps that’s boosting bat speed for a short stop. Or helping a mom lift groceries while balancing her 2-year old. For both it means augmenting resistance training with exercises involving your entire physical system to enhance coordination, balance, speed and agility, in addition to building strength.

That’s functional training.

ACCUA strengthening exercises improve stamina, energy and your ability to burn calories. Equally, they increase resistance to injury. People with strong muscles are less likely to suffer everyday muscle aches and pains and increasing muscle mass reduces strain on your heart.

We also apply strength-building programs for people who want to  lose weight as studies show muscle burns calories at a high level. It’s active tissue, with each pound burning about 60 calories per day to maintain itself. If you add ten pounds of muscle, therefore, you will burn more than 60 pounds of fat per year, year after year via something of a built-in weight-control program. And, as the following table demonstrates, the more muscle you develop, the more effective that can be in keeping you lean and trim.

Pounds of Muscle
Pounds of fat burned per month
Pounds of fat burned
per year