November 24, 2013

lifting strength

Carrying off from yesterday’s post, let me share with you my approach towards building strength and muscle.

First, all the lifting workouts are short at around 30 minutes. The work period ranges from 15-30 seconds. Rest time is about 1-2 minutes, and should be used to hydrate and stretch. Also, you should have a good warm up before lifting to avoid injury (you don’t want to start a lift feeling cold and tight).

My goal is to hit between 4-8 repetitions per set. Each set should be to failure or very near it, so the weight should be high enough to make it challenging. I would do 2-3 sets per exercise, and look to do 5-6 exercises per session.

In each session, I will work one major muscle group. Chest/Triceps/Shoulders, Upper Back/Biceps, Legs/Abs/Lower Back. Each of the exercises in the session will focus on major muscle group and work on isolating one motion. For example, when doing Chest/Triceps/Shoulders, I will do the following exercises:

  1. Bench Press – 3 sets
  2. Dumbbell Flyes – 2 sets
  3. French Press – 2 sets
  4. Front Raise – 2 sets
  5. Lateral Raise – 2 sets

There is some cross over in muscles utilized in these exercises, such as Bench Press and Dumbbell Flyes, but I include both because the range of motion is very different. I wouldn’t add incline or decline bench because it is too similar to a regular bench press.

I will work one muscle group once every 7-10 days. In the beginning of a lifting program, 7 days is enough recovery time to lift again. As you get further in, I give myself more time to recover. Unlike cardio, real strength takes time to build, and that time is in between workouts. I know guys that lift everyday and they never get any improvements. Why? No rest time for the muscles to rebuild. The rest is very important. Lifting for strength is about being smart and planning for success.

Which brings me to my next point – you should know exactly what you want to achieve. You should have a goal weight to bench, squat, curl, etc. written down. Then, carry a journal with you to track every lifting session, which records the date and time, exercises you did, number of sets, reps, and weight. This is the only way you can measure improvement. If you don’t do this, it is going to be hard to know if you are getting better or worse.

Every lift should be better than the last. If it is not, something went wrong. Did you not give yourself enough rest? Did you not have enough energy? You have to make the proper adjustments so that the next lift is better. But only if you are tracking your progress can you be sure.

Following a simple program like this can help you make gains very quickly. Keep in mind, this has no emphasis on cardio whatsoever. This is purely about building raw power. Later down the road, we will mold the raw muscles developed into a sport specific motion and develop muscle stamina.

  • Aaron Gustavson says:

    Thanks, I just need to eat a lot more but im too busy and broke to eat healthy.

  • That certainly took me by surprise.

    I was certainly not expecting a 1970’s bodybuilding routine that would not be out of place in Muscle and Fitness.

    Serious question: Have you considered and disregarded modern thinking about use of major multi joint exercises emphasising movement over muscle and come to the conclusion that a bodybuilding style routine is the way forward?

    I appreciate that there are many different ideas about strength/muscle training but the peculiar emphasis on isolation exercises like flyes, French press and side laterals is so out of line with mainstream thinking on athletic preparation that you are either way ahead of the curve or totally behind it.

    I am genuinely interested in the rationale behind your routine.

    • Like I said before, everyone has a different approach and I can only recommend what I know has worked for me personally. This is an off-season lift style for me. When I am in a training camp, I won’t lift like this. I would do more dynamic exercises that incorporate more motion and emulate combat scenarios such as dumbbell swings or Turkish get ups. I personally enjoy this routine because of the simplicity and effectiveness.

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