Stronger In 6: Send Your Lifts Through The Roof In 1 Month!

Send your training poundages through the roof and add size in just a month and a half with this heavy-duty strength program.

Building muscle mass can be a complicated endeavor involving numerous intensity techniques and a variety of training cycles, but the concept of building muscular strength is much simpler: Lift more weight. Easier said than done - unless, of course, you know what you're doing. That's where we come in.

This program is a step-wise progression from lighter weight and higher reps to very heavy weight and very low reps over a six-week period (linear periodization). The emphasis is on maximizing your one-rep max in the three big lifts: bench press, squat and deadlift.

As a bonus, you'll get stronger on just about every other exercise you do too, from shoulder presses to barbell curls to calf raises. And that will lead to greater overall size.



We realize that most FLEX readers are more interested in building 20-inch arms than boosting their bench presses by 40 pounds. But here's why you need to focus on strength training:

  • Lifting in the 8- to 12-rep range builds muscle, but after about eight weeks or so, your muscles will likely start to stagnate as they grow accustomed to the same stimulus. To sustain growth, you need to continually challenge them with different styles of training, such as a strength program.
  • Not only will you see significant growth during these six weeks, but the gains will really pile on down the road. The weight you'd normally do for, say, biceps curls or dumbbell presses will have increased considerably. Greater overload will translate into more muscle in both the long- and short-term.


After finding your one-rep max for the bench press, squat and deadlift (see sidebar "To the Max" for 1RM testing instructions), you'll follow this linear periodization plan:


Eight reps using 80% of your 1RM (80% RM)


Five reps using 85% 1RM.


Two reps using 95% 1RM

*See workouts for rep maxes for all other exercises


Getting stronger isn't just about lifting heavier weight - you also need to develop muscular power. Power is the ability to use strength quickly and the more power you have, the better you can explode out of the bottom of a squat or bench press. That acceleration can make all the difference in adding 20 (or more) pounds to a major lift.

Therefore, you'll also spend one workout each week lifting fairly light weight for fewer reps. But the key on these power sets is performing the reps as fast and explosively as possible to build pure, raw strength.


Since you'll be training with near-max weights, it's imperative to have a reliable spotter (or two), especially for squats and pressing exercises for chest, shoulders and triceps.

Aside from the obvious safety factor, having someone on deck to help in case you get "stuck" provides psychological peace of mind, which will allow you to use maximum weights and make the best progress.


Even though this is a six-week plan, it will actually take you eight weeks to complete when you factor in 1RM testing the week before starting and the week after completing this program. Also, you won't be estimating your 1RM with a 5-rep or 10-rep max. After all, in the final two weeks of the program, you'll be down to two reps per set anyway.

So suck it up and find your true 1RM on all three lifts, as it's the best way to accurately calculate your 80%, 85% and 95% rep maxes during the program. Here's how:

  • Take the weight you can normally lift for 10 reps to failure, multiply it by 1.33 and round up. For example, if you can bench 225 pounds for 10 reps, start your 1RM attempt with 300 pounds.
  • Allow plenty of rest between 1RM attempts. Whether or not your first lift was successful, rest 3-4 minutes between attempts.
  • If you were successful on the first try but know you can do more, add another 10-20 pounds for your next attempt. Keep adding 10-20 pounds until you reach a weight at which you fail. Use the last weight you were successful at as your 1RM.
  • If you weren't successful on your first attempt, don't be discouraged. Simply decrease the weight by 5-10 pounds and try again. Once you reach a weigh that you can do for one rep, use that as your 1RM.
  • For the most accurate results, don't do a 1RM test for the bench press, squat and deadlift all in the same workout. Spread them out over a week so that each lift gets its own 1RM testing session.

  • MONDAY: Workout 1
  • TUESDAY: Workout 2
  • THURSDAY: Workout 3
  • FRIDAY: Rest
  • SATURDAY: Workout 4
  • SUNDAY: Rest


Workout 1: Squat Strength Focus: Quads, Hams and Calves
Workout 2: Bench Press Strength Focus: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps

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