10 Feb Why Oh Why Aren’t You Strong
Why oh why aren’t you strong?
Ok I’ve had it. I’ve had this same conversation way too many times:
Random young lifter with head stuck up own ass: Hey man, why you having your athletes do 1-3 reps in the squat, deadlift, powerclean, etc. instead of having them get strong lifting 6?
Me: Why would I want them to do 6 reps?
Random young lifter with head stuck up own ass: (looking like he’s about to have a stroke figuring this out) Ummm because 6 reps make you strong and big.
Me: Well, the highest percentage of your 1 rep max that you can perform for 6 reps is around 83% but if you are an intermediate to advanced lifter you need to lift weights in the 85-90% of 1RM to get stronger. So, although I do have athletes do higher reps during certain times, if I am trying to get them stronger I use low reps at higher percentages in their core lifts.
Random young lifter with head stuck up own ass: (actually having a stroke) Oh….ok
Granted, a lot of guys have never been told this. This might include you which is why I’ve decided to share this rant with you. I know, you’re blessed to have me in your life. Be warned what I’m about to explain might be a hard pill for some of you to swallow.
One of the biggest mistakes I see young athletes along with veteran lifters in the average gym make is not planning out periods of time to focus on specific areas of training. One of the most I see neglected is a proper maximal strength phase, especially for those who are just training for physique.
Sets of 10-15 reps will only get you so far no matter what your goal. You need to work on developing maximal strength to learn to recruit more motor units (nerves and the muscle fibers they act on) so that your muscles will become more efficient.
The goal of this is to recruit more of what’s called high threshold motor units that contain the high threshold muscle fibers. These are the muscle fibers that are involved when you are trying to move explosively or trying to lift the fat chick that collapsed on you at that party last Saturday.
Stop whining and just get stronger
There are three basic and proven ways to develop maximal strength that we get from the research and practice of men such as Vladimir Zatsiorsky – author of Science and Practice of Strength Training – among other brilliant coaches and scientists.
1) Do 1-3 reps (yes only 1-3) for multiple sets at 90 percent of your 1 repetition max (1 RM) in the chosen lift
2) Use a submaximal weight that is between 65-75 percent of your max in a chosen lift and do that until failure. This means performing the exercise until you can no longer complete a rep without the risk of injury.
3) Use the compensatory acceleration method. This teaches that when doing a multi-joint lift, you should bring the bar under control and then accelerate the bar quickly up. There are two techniques to this method.
· The first is strength speed method. You pick a weight for 1-6 reps that you could perform anywhere between 3-6 more reps.
· The second is the speed strength, which uses a weight for 2-3 reps that you can perform 6 times through 60-70 percent (although can be as high as 82.5 percent) of 1 rep max.
Although methods 2 and 3 are used to develop strength and explosiveness, you will not be able to exhibit higher levels of strength if you do not use method 1. What am I saying? Increase the weight and lower the reps sometimes. Plain and simple.
How you set up your strength phase is up to you and you should do further research to learn how to create a solid strength cycle of training. The cycles can last anywhere from 3-6 weeks depending on your goal.
I’m just giving you the basics of what’s involved and am just the messenger of this information so don’t get mad at me if you’re like the guy I described in the beginning of this rant .
Or do, I don’t really care.
I’d rather get people mad but get them thinking than see the same nimrods in the gym doing the same exact thing day after day year after year and expecting a different result. Look up what that is the definition to if you don’t know and get back to me.
I do want to hear you opinions or questions on this though. Leave them in the comments.