Strength is a quality that can be developed through training but there are a lot of caveats. To optimally develop strength there are certain principles that need to be adhered to for the fastest and safest results. Here are the 3 Keys to Strength Development that if followed, will lead you to higher levels of strength than you have ever dreamed of.
1. Strength is a skill
This is the most important key to strength development. Learning to contract all of our muscle fibers together and lift heavy loads is a skill that must be learned. The best way to learn this skill is perfect practice. This means each and every workout the following rules are followed:
– You do not train to failure. This leads to sloppy reps and motor unit fatigue.
– Adequate rest between sets. Practice as often as possible, while as fresh as possible
– To lift heavy weights, you must lift heavy weights. Sounds obvious but to get strong, you must spend a lot of time lifting weights at 85% of !RM or more.
2. Tension is paramount
Tension is the name of the game for strength development. The heavier the load you lift, the more tension is required which is why learning to produce tension is essential. Here are some quick tips that you can use to maximise the amount of muscular tension you produce when you train to get optimal results
– Squeeze the bar as hard as possible – Increasing grip effort has an effect called irradiation, which means muscles that are working hard will recruit neighbouring muscles to assist. If you are pressing and grip really hard, you will get an increased contraction of your arm, shoulder and rotator cuff musculature.
– Tense your glutes and abs each set – this not only protects the spine but helps contribute to irradiation through the whole body. It even helps on exercises like biceps curls!
– Abdominal breathing – Breathing deep into your abdominal cavity will help you stabilise your spine.
3. Train your nervous system – not your muscles.
It is your nervous system that is responsible for your strength not your muscular system. We need to make sure that your training focuses on this. Here are some tips to remember to optimally train your nervous system.
– Your nervous system takes around 5-6 times longer than your muscular system. Take rest periods of 3-5 minutes for full recovery.
– Reduce the volume of your training every 3-4 weeks. Cutting the volume in half works well.
– Again, never train to failure.
To develop strength you need time, patience and persistence. Follow these steps to develop your strength to the next level.
By: Paul Meldrum
The Three Keys to Strength Development
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