The value of strength is something I over looked for some time and now place great value on it. We always learn that is what life is about. However never did I think that my training principles would change that drastically over the next 12 months just a couple of years ago. You could say a little science, a little logic and plenty of application has opened my eyes up to the endless possibilities. Training doesn’t have to conform with the norm, it should represent what works above all else.
1) If you get stronger you will by default gain SOME muscle. It's a natural adaptation. Simple.
2) Strength training will stimulate myofibrillar hypertrophy - I personally love the dense, hard look that gives a physique and I lack that at present.
3) Heavy lifts with compound exercises will stimulate overall growth due to the stress they can inflict on the CNS. They also create advantageous hormonal reactions (anabolic response if you will.) I also believe that heavy lifting with new PBs will help excite HTMUs (high threshold motor units) which allow for improved muscle fibre recruitment and in turn stimulation. This is why I like strength lifting in conjunction with ''hypertrophy'' work.
4) I was often told from bodybuilders lifting heavy would cause me injuries. Ironically it is traditional bodybuilding training which left me with several issues to deal with largely due to no emphasis on mobility and balance (in strength). Keeping antagonistic muscles in balance (strength wise) is a good idea. Almost everyone I know who trains like a bodybuilder complains of shoulder issues yet most of the strength athletes I know don't. Coincidence? Don’t think so!!
Your sold on the idea, but how do you get strong? Look, there are a lot of different training methods out there which will help you get strong but for beginners or even intermediate trainers this would be my advice. Using the following exercises (provided you are injury free in each area of course!!) aim to increase the amount of weight you can lift for 3 reps every 5 weeks. The increments will probably be small and will get smaller as you progress but that is fine.
Decline bench press
I will leave you with this ''If you get stronger the body has to build more muscle therefore you will get bigger.'' Mike O'Hearn - 500+ cover shoots, natural power lifter, actor and legend.