To make progress in your body building efforts and lift heavier weights, you need to increase muscle strength. In this article we will outline the principles of strength training, and encourage you to follow our strength training program.
What is strength training?
This type of workout helps your body to speed up its progress. You learn to get more from your motor units (the connections between your neurons and your muscles) which will increase your strength and improve your coordination.
Bear in mind that there are different types of strength, as follows:
maximum strength is the neuromuscular system's ability to lift the heaviest weight (repetition maximum or RM).
endurance strength is used for muscle definition and temporary muscle congestion
explosive strength is used in sports such as sprinting or jumping
speed/power strength is used in sports such as rugby and weight-lifting (strength x speed)
In this article we will show you how to increase your maximum strength.
Which exercises will help you increase your strength?
To learn to lift heavier weights, you need to perform the foundation exercises:
Bench press (chest) and military press (shoulders)
Bent-over barbell row
You can also do exercises which use your body as a weight:
In strength training exercises, how much weight you lift is critical. To train most effectively, you need to determine your 1RM for each foundation exercise with a barbell. This 1RM or maximum muscle building weight, is the maximum weight that you can lift, pull or push in a single movement. Make sure you work out with a training partner when trying to determine this limit. Before starting your strength training program, you should determine this maximum weight in order to work towards reaching a percentage of that number as you progress through your sessions. The target percentage and the corresponding exercise weights will depend on your overall goal. For example, when building muscle, it's recommended to work out at 75% to 80% of your 1RM. To increase muscle strength, you will work out at 85% to 100% of your 1RM.
Number of repetitions
In this type of strength training, the number of sets is performed per foundation exercise (rather than per muscle group, as when building muscle). This means performing a total of 21 to 25 reps per exercise. The recovery time between sets should be 2 to 5 minutes (recommended time for replenishing your reserves). A strength training session consists of 5 sets of 5 repetitions at 85%.For example, if your repetition maximum is 100 kg, place 85 kg on the bar and do 5 reps with this load. Rest for 2-3 minutes and then repeat the same exercise, for a total of 5 sets, to increase your maximum strength.
To build muscle strength, the frequency of your training sessions is vital, and more important than the duration of each session. It's much more important to do 3 training sessions of 1 hour each than a single session lasting 3 hours.
Strength training body-building program
Before you start your strength training, test your 1RM on the first day of training, to determine your maximum strength.You will perform this same test one month later (at the end of the program), to assess your progress.
Warm-up: focus on the joints which will be placed under stress, such as the wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Do a quick warm-up of the muscles which you will be working out. For example, do a set of 15 reps without weights (just the bar) prior to performing the sets with weights. For each foundation exercise you perform during a session, gradually increase the weight until you reach 5x5 sets at 85%.
Strength training program
Duration: 1 month.
- Squat 5x5
- Bench press 5x5
- Bent-over barbell row 5x5
- Dead lift 5x5
- Military press 5x5
- Pull-ups 5x5
- Dips 5x8
- Chin-ups 5x8
- Bench lumbar extension 5x15
- Front and side core muscles 5x45s
- Rotator cuff pulley exercise (to strengthen your shoulders) 3x20
Do each basic exercise at least twice a week, with 2 days rest between each exercise.
So now you know the benefits of strength training in boosting your body building progress. Follow this program for one month and see the results for yourself!