- Do you understand what it truly means to be training for strength?
- Are you looking to make significant gains in your strength like never before?
- Are you prepared to fully commit to learning what simple methods will build you mind blowing PR’s with your strength training?
There are many things that people don’t understand about what it means to truly train for strength! In order to understand strength you first need to know the definition of strength.
In fact, many people may read the following principles and find these to be rather shocking. Regardless when it comes to you building and developing true strength this is what most people fail to know in their pursuit of it.
Training For Strength: Synaptic Facilitation And The Act of Practicing Strength
The most optimal way to increase the rate of force of a muscular contraction is through a process known as synaptic facilitation.
For all of the iron geeks out there this basically means that the repetitive and reasonably intense stimulation of a motor neuron increases the efficiency of its synaptic connections and may even form new synapses. The result of this will train your muscle to produce a more forceful contraction. This is highly effective in training for strength.
So what will this process do?
Well if you’re practicing a given movement with a reasonable level of intensity on a frequent basis then you’re training your neuromuscular system to become more efficient at the given movement by stimulating the muscle to deliver a stronger and more forceful contraction.
What a novel idea right?
Think about it. In order to get stronger at something then simply go out and practice that something over and over on a frequent basis.
The act of practicing a particular skill to get better at that particular skill falls in line with what is known as the SAID principle which stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.
This is basically a fancy way of saying that in order to get better a particular skill, or task then you simply must practice that skill, or task.
So to get stronger at a movement practice and practice often. Increase the working volume of the movement.
Training For Strength: Take Long Rest Times Between Sets
Another thing people don’t understand in regards to building strength is that they should significantly increase rest times between working sets.
In the current fitness environment of CrossFit, HIIT, and MetCons the focus of many workouts and box gym culture tends to be more about ramping up the cardio by using strength movements. This is great for your conditioning, but not so much for strength.
So if you’re trying to implement more working volume of a particular movement to gain strength then you need to look at increasing your rest time.
So how long should you rest?
Well this is going to be hard to swallow, but if you really want to build pure strength then you need to increase your rest interval up to 5 to 15 minutes!
I know what you’re thinking…damn that’s a long time!
Yes, it is.
However if you’re seriously trying to get stronger then this long rest interval is absolutely essential.
So why rest so long?
Well when looking at your ATP-PC energy system it takes that long for the ATP-PC to overcompensate in the muscle and for your nervous system to get dialed in to performing the movement given the demand placed on your body.
Now when talking about building strength I’m talking about increasing a rest interval between sets that involve an intense working set up to 6 reps. Anything above 6 reps and you’re basically getting more into bodybuilding mode.
Understand that bodybuilding mode is fine and I’m not saying you shouldn’t train that way, BUT what I am saying is that if you’re truly looking to build serious strength you need to figure out a way at times to leverage an intense working volume while allowing yourself long rest periods between intense working sets.
Training For Strength: Increase Absolute Work Volume
Understand that when I say to increase your absolute volume this does not mean that you need to be doing a lot of reps with those small pink Barbie weights.
No, I’m talking about gradually and incrementally increasing poundage to optimize strength gains. However volume should never come at the expense of intensity.
To calculate a working volume let’s say you pull your weekly deadlift for 400 lbs. for 4 sets of 5 reps. then this would give you a total lifting poundage of 8000 lbs. To arrive at this number multiply the sets, reps, and poundage. So in this example you can say (400)4×5=8000 lbs.
Granted you can really generate strength by working to get this volume (poundage, or tonnage) up if you’re looking to make some serious strength gains. There have been some super heavy powerlifters to top out at 50 to 70 sets per lift for a given training week. This is serious volume when it comes to getting in the work.
Of course such volume will come at the expense of your time and being able to leverage such a commitment may be difficult, but it is sure to generate some massive strength gains and make it all worth it if you’re able to make it happen.
Training For Strength: The Takeaway
Keep in mind that when training for strength I realize that convenience and time are important factors in terms of being practical. However just understand that if you’re serious about improving your strength then you need to devote a portion of your training to following the guidelines that are outlined here in this article with GTG, extended rest times, and increasing your overall work volume.
What are of strength are you currently working to improve within your own training?
Do you currently apply the GTG method?
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