Progression with overload is the key to building more and more muscle, you cannot deny that! This simply means over a period of time getting stronger on certain lifts which in turn places the muscles under great stress forcing a reaction which is typically adaptation i.e. growth! Many people struggle to get this bit right, they either try and lift too much causing them to use terrible form thus yielding poor results OR they never seem to get stronger.
Here is a 3 point plan to track your strength gains and perhaps more importantly get stronger specifically for growth!
1 – The Sweet Spot!
Typically the 8-12 rep range is regarded as the ‘’holy grail’’ for muscle growth and whilst we could argue about different forms of hypertrophy the truth is, this rep range isn’t far off! With that said, I would encourage you to review how strong you are within 8 reps on one compound exercise for each muscle group. Bench press for chest, bent over rows for back, overhead dumbbell press for shoulders, squats for quads and so on. This gives you a reference point. From here the name of the game is to add at least 20kg to this lift within the next 8-10 weeks. Talk about forcing adaptation!!
2 – How You Do It
Now you know what you need to be doing you need to know how to do it! Gradual overload is a great place to start. Adding very minor increments in weight to the bar and having a training partner there to help you ensure it happens. Make sure you are suitably fuelled for each workout though otherwise you will get mixed results and feedback.
Secondly, focus on form. Use explosive power in the concentric phase and control in the eccentric phase. We won’t worry about isometrics so much here, that can be looked at during the ‘’hypertrophy’’ work post-strength training.
Always start your session with your ‘’strength’’ lifts where your energy is higher.
3 – Avoiding Plateaus
Keeping the momentum is essential! For sure, you won’t get stronger every week forever, that is impossible even for the most seasoned strength athlete. Instead, work in a cycle whereby you can create ‘’rebounds’’ using accumulation and intensification. After your ‘’strength’’ week look to avoid failure, use a lot of volume and then go back into your ‘’strength week’’ the next week. Watch your progress fly!
Get stronger, you will grow!