There’s a lot false information and ideas out there regarding Strength training.
Many people incorrectly believe that the best way to gain Strength is to go as hard as they can every time they hit the gym. They squeeze out every last rep possible until their muscles are completely exhausted, resulting in muscle fatigue and soreness. This has benefits if you want to gain Size/Hypertrophy but is NOT ideal for Strength.
First you must be clear on your training goals. Is your goal to gain Strength or Size/Hypertrophy?
If you answered both, then you want to distinguish the difference between suitable training methods for each, separate the programs and periodize them.
I believe for most people Strength training is more beneficial overall than Hypertrophy. If you have a specific need or desire to increase your Size, such as a football lineman or a fighter going up a weight class, then of course use a period of Hypertrophy to reach your Size goals. Even when strictly training for Size you should alternate your Hypertrophy programs with Strength programs every month or two. Your increased Strength will improve your Hypertrophy training and you’ll reach your Size goals faster.
The following rules are strictly for gaining Strength. I’ll cover the Rules for Hypertrophy in a future post. You may still gain some Size while Strength training as your body adapts to lift heavier weights, but the results we’re after here are “GO muscles,” not “SHOW muscles.”
THE RULES OF STRENGTH.
1. Practice Strength every day. Strength comes from lifting heavy weights and the amount time your muscles spend under tension, so practice as often as possible.
2. Never lift to failure. You want to stimulate, not exhaust your muscles. Exhausted muscles need time off to recover from overtraining. You should be fresh enough to practice Strength every day.
3. Avoid injury. Do 1 warm up set of 8-15 reps(never to failure) before each exercise.
4. Lift approximately 40-60% as many reps as you could do (if you could do 5 reps then do only 2-3reps). This keeps you fresh so you can lift more reps overall without fatigue.
5. Stay in the 1-5 rep range. Anything more is Hypertrophy.
6. Practice Strength all day long by taking 15 -30 minute rests in between sets OR for most people with limited time, you can rest at least 3-5 minutes in between sets.
7. Unless using the above mentioned “practice all day protocol”(highly recommend when possible), you probably want to complete a practice session in 20-45 minutes, therefore you can aim for 15-25 total working reps for Pull, Push & Squat and only 10 total working reps for Deadlift. For Swings do 50-200 total Swings. *Total working reps means the total reps during a workout, not each set.
8. Do compound lifts in each of the 5 following categories.
9. Do Weighted Carries: Farmers Walk, Suitcase Walk
10.Do Squats: Zercher Squat, Goblet Squat
11. Hinge: Deadlift, Kettlebell Swings
12. Pull: Rows, Pullups
13. Push: Bench Press, Overhead Press, Dips, Turkish Get Ups
14. Change your current lifts every few weeks and change programs every month or two. Here’s 2 suggested programs. First choose 1 compound lift from each of the above 5 categories then choose either Program A or B. Program A: Do all 5 lifts everyday. 2 sets of 5 reps for each lift. Program B: Do only 1 of the lifts each day on 5 day schedule then repeat. 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps.
15. Vary your intensity and reps daily. Keep your system guessing and ready for anything.
16. If your feeling weak or a bit sore then have a lighter day. If your overtrained take a day off.
Follow these rules and get stronger faster, staying fresh, no longer having to take days off due to fatigue and soreness. Training should improve your athletic performance, not leave you temporarily disabled and unprepared.
Whether it’s a pickup ball game or surprise self defense situation, we can’t be sure what life will bring us next, and sometimes we can’t reschedule, so always stay prepared!
I’ll discuss how to convert Strength into Power in an upcoming blog post.
Thank you for reading and supporting my first ever blog post! Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Stay tuned for more articles where I’ll be covering the two fields I’ve always had a passion for, and get ready for Healthy, Wealthy Times!
Signing off for now, your friend Justin Igoe.