3 Rules Of Strength: Maximize Your Gains
I coached high school football for a year after I graduated college. Working with teenage linebackers taught me to condense and convey information quickly because they could only handle so much at one time. Now, several years into my professional career, I find the same training rules apply to adults.
I give my clients one piece of information at a time, and only two or three coaching cues during a training session. The limited information keeps my trainees from overanalyzing, which subsequently improves their performance. The same is true for exercise selection. Rather than crowding a program
with excess miscellaneous, wonder exercises, I keep it simple and use 2-3 solid movements per session.
Cut what's meaningless and keep what's productive. That's my program mantra. I used to overcomplicate and overanalyze every program I wrote, which was dumb. Instead of spending limited time on a thousand lifts, it's better to build strength with the basics. That's what I'm here to help you do.
Practice, efficiency, and intensity are elements that build a strong human. Whether you've been a competing powerlifter since the 1980s or a desk jockey looking for manly time with the iron, using 2-3 concentrated movements per session will hit all three elements. Oh, and it gets you strong. Strong like if Godzilla and Sasquatch had a baby named Thunder.
1 / Practice
Most people don't view gym time as practice, but that's exactly what it is. People who achieve excellence aren't born excellent. They achieve excellence because they do what they're excellent at often. A terrific housepainter most likely got that way through painting a lot of houses. If you want to be a great squatter, do lots of squats.
2 / Efficiency
Efficiency comes from time spent training quality movements. Concentrate your focus on a few solid exercises and you'll spend less time in the gym. To be strong you must put yourself in the best position possible to efficiently generate force. Finding the best position for your body requires countless reps.
3 / Intensity
Reps must be performed at varying intensities for the same exercise at different times within a training session for maximum results. You don't have to move on to a random exercise. You can continue to focus on a lift that requires practice.
Take these three elements and apply them consistently to get big and strong. Forget "muscle confusion." The body adapts with consistency, not randomness. Use the same lifts consistently and progress by building size and strength. Unless you're in the midst of a seven-year plateau, training at maximum intensity, you don't need a variety swing.
It depends on what lifts you want to be good at and what lifts work well for your body. Luckily, there are movements faithfully devoted to the promotion of human strength. They should be familiar to you: squats, presses, deadlifts, and Olympic lifts.
When you determine what you want to master and what lifts don't leave your frame in shambles, all that's left is to combine the elements: practice, efficiency, intensity, and your chosen lifts. The result? A supernova of progressive strength and size gains!
(Note: If you've never had your movement assessed by a qualified strength coach, make it happen. It's the most efficient way to discover what exercises work for you.)
Let's get started with an example week.
Under the intensity column, you'll see @6 or @8. This nomenclature is based on rate of perceived exertion, not percentages. @6 means the bar moves fast without maximal force. You will still apply maximal force, but you'll choose weight that doesn't require it for speed. @8 means you could complete 2-3 more reps with the given weight until failure, but won't.
This is a snapshot of a program. It's a Polaroid, not a movie showing full progression into and out of the program. Progression depends on your current needs and goals. It's your job to determine those.
The program volume isn't remarkable. In fact, it's low because it doesn't take lots of volume to get strong; it takes focused and intense volume.
Don't be bamboozled by the variety myth or caught up in the attachment to unnecessary exercises. If your goal is colossal strength, keep your training volume focused on a few solid movements. When you narrow your focus, attack with unbridled savagery!
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I was a little surprised to see this too.
And the only 'pulling' type lift is the bent over row. And it's on the 'optional 5th' day. Seems a little odd. But if you do them intensely and consistently, I suppose you'll get stronger! 8 sets is quite a few.
do not see any set with 6 reps or more, what about all those fogotten muscle fibers?
To "practice" a movement, i would instead recommend a pyramid set, were the first and last sets are light and easy, to hone in on that perfect form for the heavy reps
Reftis, good question. Pyramids and sets with 6 or more are not efficient for strength training. If you want to focus on learning the power moves you start small and add to the bar as your strength develops, staying within usually 5 reps max and concentrating on form. Even as you add weight to the bar it commonly takes practice to handle your form with heavier weight. For instance as your dead-lift increases to the point of being heavier than your body weight it will change how you pull the bar, or should I say how you CAN pull the bar.
This workout progression however is going to be really hard to recover from. You will usually see at least a full day recovery between strength workouts like this. I also agree that full depth squats(low back squats) would be a better option than front squats if your goal is overall strength as they incorporate the glutes and hamstrings much more. There are some better designed strength programs, Starting Strength, Strong-lifts, and Grey-skull are excellent power and strength production.
I agree on the full day of rest inbetween, maybe even 2 days if the workout was hard enough. I know my strength workout plus my swimming really works my shoulders, and at least 1 day of rest is mandatory.
I use most of the same lifts and focus on bench press, squat, deadlift, overhead press, and Olympic lifts. The basics are the "basics" because they work. Getting strong in those barbell lifts is getting strong. No gimmicks are needed.
My new favs article thats exactly what i am doing to increase strength just before i go back to liftiing for muscle building. Is very important because this helps you lift more weights than you could last time with high reps which means you will pack more muscle than ever!
Great Article I am pretty new to the whole Power Lifting and Body Building Side of fitness. The Military had made me into a put weight on my back and walk forever and I have always been a good runner. But I have falling in love with weight training and this is a great article for Newbs like me.
I have learned through years of hitting the gym hard, that going back to basics is what makes things work. Getting down 2-3 exercises really well gives really good results. I also believe that perfect practice makes perfect play.
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