Let’s face it, sometimes when we walk in the gym we want to just throw as much weight around as possible, and don't concentrate on lifting to get stronger. Without any rhyme or reason we seek a number in our head and try to conquer it. Whether it’s a 400lb bench or 500lb squat, there’s something about raw power that brings out the inner self-loathing ego. Most people never really tap into their potential when it comes to getting stronger because they don’t train the correct way for strength.
Coming from a football background I can honestly say that I couldn’t wait for “max-out” day. It was an all out assault on every major lift you could imagine. Thinking back I never trained to get stronger I just “willed” the weights up by playing a guessing game on how much I thought I could lift. Several years later of dedicated training has taught me the principles on increasing lifts and becoming stronger. If you are just starting off you might ask yourself, what’s the correct amount of weight to use, and how many reps and sets should I be doing to help increase my lifts? Here’s what I recommend.
When training for power I like to keep my reps between 5 - 8 and my sets between 3 - 4 with at least 2 minutes of rest in between. This allows for better recovery from set to set. I target 80-90% of my 1RM (1 rep/max). An alternate training method that I use is breaking my sets down to match my reps. An example would be 3 x 3 or 5 x 5, which is a technique used for power lifting.
An overlooked factor in getting stronger is rest. The term “less is more” is very cliché however, your body needs to recharge itself to reap the benefits of all the hard work you just did in the gym. When training for strength, try to keep your workout day at 3-4. Try incorporating this 3 day split using 80 - 90% of your 1RM into your workouts and trust me, you will notice a difference in the “Gainz” you make in the gym.
Day 1 Upper Push:
- Bench Press 5 x 5 or 3 x 5 - 8
- Incline DB Press 4 x 8
- Weighted Dips w/70% of bodyweight 5 x 5 - you want to increase the % when needed
Day 2 Legs:
- Squats 4 x 8
- Walking BB Lunges 4 x 8 or if you have a clear path approx. 50 - 60ft each set
- Lying Leg Curls 5 x 5
Day 3 Upper Pull:
- Deadlifts 4 x 8
- Weighted Pull-Ups using 50% of bodyweight 3 x 8 - you want to increase the % when needed
- Seated Cable Row 5 x 5