In this article I will explain the bare minimum keys of lifting that athletes and gym goers need to understand in order to consistently increase their strength lift the bar , week after week, month after month, year after year. While these concepts are basic, I challenge everyone who reads this article to go through this checklist and see how many of these concepts you are employing on a daily basis. I have been in many gyms and I train clients 50 hours a week and I can tell you through personal experience that 99% of the people that I see working out, even those of you who are genetically gifted and naturally athletic, do not employ these simple guidelines and are therefore retarding your fitness level and keeping you self from becoming stronger. And yes, I am talking to all you big guys with the fake macho attitudes and the 500 pound “half bench press.” Please read this article and employ these tactics before you hurt yourselves.
1. Reps, Range of motion and Bar speed.
Everyone loves to move heavy weight. Everyone loves to “max out.” It gets their juices flowing and makes them feel like they are working hard. This is a common misconception. Maxing out is good because it pushes your body to the limit. However, it is extremely taxing on your central nervous system and if done too often will ultimately throw your body into a regression, or rather a catabolic state where your muscles and nerves cannot recover in a timely fashion. Your central nervous system sends the messages to your muscles to contract, so you can imagine if the CNS is extremely taxed you will not be able to send those messages efficiently to your muscles. This will result in reduced strength and fatigue. That being said, maxing out is important, but you must max out at the appropriate times. For a major lift like squat you should max out no more than every three weeks. And that is if you are on a very intense training regimen. I personally only max out 2 times per month but only on one major lift. For instance, this month is deadlift so I will max out on deadlift on the 1st week of training and the last week of training for the month. This allows me to see progression but at the same time keep my central nervous system functioning optimally. Keep in mind my program is quite a bit more intense than most of humanity. Two times a month for maxing for any lift may be too much for you.
Instead of trying to push up as much weight as possible or as many times as possible, try something a little different. Try lowering the reps of your set, decreasing the weight, and increasing the speed at which you move the weight or the bar. If it takes you 7 seconds to get your final bench press from your chest to the lock position, you are not performing the bench correctly and you are training to be slow and weak. The mathematical formula for power is work/time. This means you are producing more power and training your body to be more efficient by moving 225 pounds of weight through full range of motion in one second, than you are if you are trying to press 350 pounds and it takes you 5 seconds. So athletes, please increase your power. If you do this your maximal strength will increase naturally.