Strength Training Strategies That Actually Work
The strength training strategies listed below have all been independently verified to be the best possible option to maximize gains in the shortest possible time. However it needs to be stressed that training with high intensity is the minimum requirement to achieve these gains.
Unless you have been living under a rock the last ten years you will know very well that sports science has conclusively proven there are two components to training. The two main components of strength training are the intensity of the exercise done and the recovery time given after the workout.
Whether you train heavy with low reps or light with plenty reps is actually not important. What is important is that sports science now tells us that muscles over-compensate (grow bigger) for up to a week after a workout done with high intensity for only 45 minutes. Building muscle is about intensity and not volume.
Exercises done in each training session
New research tells us that we only have about 30 minutes of good solid energy production to maintain high intensity before our blood sugars start to drop. It is for this reason that your exercise selection you do is so important. If you want to get maximum results in the minimum time, then train compound movements with high intensity.
Training the basic compound movements has now proven itself in countless studies to have a knock-on effect to the whole body. If your objective is to increase the strength you have and the muscle you hold then stay away from isolation movements and stick to compound movements only.
Number of sets for each movement
When you have been training just one set of a compound movement to complete failure, or close enough to failure, it makes sense that you would be unable to generate the energy or the force required to do it again. If however you are able to generate enough force to do another set with the same weight then it clearly means you did not put everything into the first set.
Sport science now tell us that they can prove that from doing just one set to total failure (i.e cannot perform another rep with good form) that no farther muscle fiber activation/stimulation is required on that specific compound movement that you went to complete failure with.
This radicle new look at strength training tells us that volume training is completely unnecessary. Training compound movements after a good warm-up for only one set decreases the chance of over-training and allows you to save a lot more energy (blood sugar) to generate the required force on other compound movements.
Number of reps per set
The size of the muscle is directly related to the functional strength of a muscle which is why cycling the intensity with which you train will have a measured and predictable improvement on both strength and muscle size. The solution is to cycle your intensity when you train.
Changing the amount of reps and weight that you lift over a 10 week cycle has proven to be the most effective way to gain size and strength while avoiding training plateaus. This is done training with high reps (slow twitch muscle) for endurance and then switching to lower reps with heavy weight (fast twitch muscle) for explosive strength.