The following is an excerpt from the September 2007 issue of Muscle & Fitness:
Strength is a critical thing for a man to have. It comes in handy to impress a member of the fairer sex if she can't lift a particularly heavy box or open a tightly sealed jar. And it certainly doesn't hurt when the blonde at the end of the bar gives you the once-over and casually asks, "So, how much do you lift?"
While these are good reasons to be strong, one of the most critical for bodybuilders is to grow bigger muscles. There's no denying that if you can lift a given weight for more reps than you previously could or perform a certain number of reps with more poundage on the bar than before, the greater overload on your muscles is going to prompt them to grow to meet the larger demand.
Yet few among us actually take the initiative to get stronger. Many guys want more strength, but they try to go about it by using the same rep range virtually every workout. That won't cut it, but our eight-week onslaught for increasing strength will. We call it our "Get 25% Stronger" program.
A Powerful Plan
Don't worry, you don't have to train like a powerlifter (neglecting arms and delts and focusing on only core lifts) to get 25% stronger. Quite the contrary.
The program is designed to increase your overall strength by 25% on each of nine exercises, one for each major bodypart:
- The bench press (chest)
- Bent-over barbell row (back)
- Overhead barbell press (shoulders)
- Squat (legs)
- Barbell shrug (traps)
- Barbell curl (biceps)
- Close-grip bench press (triceps)
- Leg-press calf raise (calves)
- Barbell wrist curl (forearms)
With your newfound strength at the end of the program, you can go back to higher-rep training - the typical 8-12 reps - for size and overload each muscle group with even heavier weight for further growth.
The "Get 25% Stronger" program incorporates strategies such as heavy training days that start in the 8-9-rep range and decrease every two weeks as the weight gets progressively heavier, all the way down to 2-3 reps by the eighth week.
We've also included explosive-rep (or speed-rep) training, in which you'll perform positive reps as quickly and explosively as possible. This will help you improve explosive power, a key element of increasing strength.
But before you begin to use these strategies, you'll need to find your one-rep max (1RM) strength on each of the aforementioned exercises to determine exactly how strong you are at both the beginning and end of the eight weeks. Your 1RM will also be used to determine how much weight to use on the nine core lifts.
|1 REP MAX CALCULATOR|
At the end of eight weeks you should be roughly 25% stronger on each core exercise, at which point you should take that new strength to a bodybuilding-style training program. We recommend coming back to "Get 25% Stronger" or another strength-focused program every six months or so to keep your power levels on the rise, because the stronger you are, well, the more you'll impress that blonde at the end of the bar. M&F
For the fully-detailed eight-week strength program, including the Get 25% Stronger diet plan, pick up the September issue of M&F, on sale August 6. The issue also includes a closer look at the No. 1 mass-building exercise, three moves for big arms, targeted delt training and 25 ways to boost your strength with one piece of equipment!
For more M&F, visit their website: www.muscleandfitness.com.