Just about everyone has the desire to look good naked, but too often we focus on form over function. Muscles should have form and perform! If you want to look like Hercules and wrestle like him, this article is for you.
Here are 10 pillars for building Herculean strength, straight from Olympus.
1. Use free weights and compound movements
To be strong and huge, your workouts must rely on a Greek god's exercises: squat, bench press, deadlift, military press, rows, power cleans, and other variations of these movements. They recruit the largest amount of muscle mass.
Free weights require you to stabilize the load and allow weights to be moved exactly as the body is designed to move them. Since the trainee is controlling every aspect of the movement, every aspect of it is being trained.
2. Learn perfect technique
The seasoned expert is always working on technique, whereas your average Joe isn't too concerned about improving. Increasing strength is a neuromuscular venture, a skill.
By improving and practicing technique, the nervous system becomes more efficient at telling muscles to work. Additionally, improving technique helps prevent injury.
3. Use a low repetition range
For fast increases in strength, we must force the nervous system to cause increased force production, which is best done in the 1 to 5 rep range. Higher than that, and your nervous system will start focusing on other areas.
Additionally, an athlete must avoid cumulative fatigue to reach peak strength levels.
- 285 x 2 (95% one rep max) = 600 lbs volume 210 x 10 (70 % one rep max) = 2100 lbs volume
4. Warm up properly
Yes, some of the strongest people in the world will take the bar for their first set, you don't have to lift heavy every set to build strength. In order to build a godlike body, you must understand the purpose of warm-up sets.
Say your best bench is 315 pounds. Most trainees would probably go with something like 135 x 10, 225 x 10, 275 x 3, and 315 x 1, right?
In this example, the trainee does 4425 pounds of work over 23 "warm up" repetitions. It would be of much better benefit to take your warm-ups with 45 x 10, 135 x 3, 225 x 2, 275 x 1, and 315 x 1.
You get a full 16 practice repetitions and only 1580 lbs of work. That's plenty of proper warm up to get blood moving to the affected areas and perfect your technique.
5. Increase the resistance every time you train
If you don't attempt to add weight to the bar at every training session, then your body has nothing to adapt to.
This doesn't mean adding an extra 45-pound plate each set; in fact, smaller jumps in weight translate into consistent progress. Compromising movement technique and integrity for more weight won't produce results.
Follow the principles outlined in this article and you should be able to add some weight each time you train. Record your training sessions to keep track of progress.
6. Train your weak points
Other than the primary lifts you'll be doing, the only other focus you should have for now is on assistance movements. They work by strengthening a part of the movement or an area that carries over to your primary lifts.
For example, if your deadlift is weakest at the top, a rack pull could be used to specifically train the lockout portion of your deadlift.
7. Limit your exercise selection
More work is not necessarily better. Beyond your primary lifts and assistance exercises, the only work that should be done is speed/skill work or general physical preparedness (GPP).
As Dan John would say, "the goal is to make sure the goal remains the goal." We can flex our big guns and shapely pecs after we have built a good base.
8. Train like a strongman
We can build functional, Herculean strength by finishing our training with movements that will tax the entire system.
Impress the ladies in the aerobics area by carrying sandbags, doing farmer's carries, or flipping tractor tires.
You won't see huge and strong guys that don't. If you aren't getting bigger and you aren't getting stronger, then you need to eat more food.
Still not growing? Eat more food. Repeat until yoked. Get the point?
10. Supplement Wisely
You should be taking things to augment nutritional gaps such as multivitamins, fish oil, and protein. Remember to include nutrients that are congruent with getting stronger.
Creatine is one of the most studied supplements out there, and should be included in any program for someone who wants to increase strength and muscle size.
Additionally, consider beta-alanine, which is the limiting factor for carnosine production. Add these supplements to your program, and Zeus would be proud.
Cause and effect carries no bias and is predictable. Do "X"... and "Y" will happen. These 10 principles from the heavens are time tested and produce results.
If a muscle is subjected to the correct stimulus with sufficient intensity, it will grow stronger and larger. Just make sure to give your divine body plenty of rest and food. Train simply, train less, and train intense for consistent results.