Strength and power are often confused and have been used at times interchangeably in the world of exercise. It has been helpful for me to understand the differences and their role in “training” by pairing each with their balancing partner.

The partner of strength is flexibility. Strength is like a bridge. Flexibility is like a rubber band. Without flexibility, the body acts more as a static structure and the limitations on movement often result in injuries. Too much flexibility and the body can move beyond its natural capacity with injury again the result. The middle ground with this pair shows up in life as improved posture with more efficient, graceful motion. It just plain feels a lot better to move with freedom and confidence. This is what strength and flexibility have to offer when they are in harmony. In this pair, the fitness is relative to the dynamic balance between the two.

The partner for power is endurance. Basically speaking, power is being able to do something once, endurance is being able to do it again, and the mark of fitness here would be having the choice. A car that only has a gas pedal and no brake clearly has an issue with driveability. So it is with a body that has one of the pair substantially more available than the other. Too much endurance training and repetitive motion injuries occur. Too much power training and shock load injuries occur. What power and endurance offer when in harmony is performance.

The question is not “Do I love a Ferrari?” Of course I do. Performance is a seductive distraction. The question that supports long-term enjoyment of the car is am I willing and able to find the balance that works? That means to drive it like I want to keep my license.


Diana Bailey Guest Writer Pilates


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