The key to improving your physique is to simply master getting stronger through key movements. If you can get stronger, your physique will improve.
The stronger your incline bench press gets, the better your chest will look. The stronger you get on weighted pull ups, the bigger your back and arms will become.
This is simply the law of progressive overload. To increase strength, your muscles must grow bigger and stronger.
Therefore, our training should be focused on increasing strength.
The problem, of course, is that most training programs actually impede your strength development. In this article, we’re going to look at seven strategies to increase strength at the fastest rate possible.
Rule No.1: Workout Three Days Per Week
Here’s the deal: Your central nervous system is the powerhouse that fires your muscles into action. When your central nervous system is taxed or overtrained, you’re not as strong. Interestingly enough, after a heavy lifting session, it takes about 48 hours for your nervous system to recharge.
It doesn’t matter if you are training completely different muscle groups the day after, your nervous system still needs 48 hours to recharge. To really maximize strength gains, it’s not enough to just focus on muscular recovery, you must also focus on nervous system recovery.
Therefore to maximize strength gains, you want to lift only three times per week on non consecutive days. Interestingly enough, when you start training like this, you’ll notice you come into the gym stronger than ever before. You feel fresh and powerful.
Rule No.2: Keep Your Workouts Short (10-15 total sets per workout)
Our bodies are not very good at doing a lot of things at the same time. Most people spend hours in the gym and pump out a ton of half-assed sets. They’ll perform eight or more different exercises per session with multiple sets.
The high volume is a challenge in its own right. As a result, it becomes very hard to finish the entire workout while also increasing the weight.
In fact, after a very long workout, your body can’t even think about increasing muscle size until it’s replenished all the depleted muscle glycogen.
To really master strength and muscle gains, it’s better to keep the training session short and the intensity high, so you can push for heavier and heavier weights.
My favorite method is to pick about 3-5 exercises and perform 2-3 intense sets per workout. This allows me to put all my energy and effort into hitting a personal record without worrying about finishing a brutally long workout.
Rule No.3: Take Longer Rest Periods
Most people want to feel like they are having a great and productive workout; so naturally they keep their rest periods very short (30-60 seconds). The problem with this is that shorter rest periods don’t allow you to properly recover, and you become extremely fatigued during the workout.
This means that you have to lift less weight. If you’re lifting less weight than you’re capable of, you’re not going to build much strength or muscle. To support strength increases, you need to challenge yourself.
I recommend resting about 3-4 minutes for most heavy compound lifts and 2-3 minutes for isolation lifts. This allows you to work at your maximum level and, therefore, trigger the most strength gains.
In fact, longer rest periods have been shown to result in better strength and muscle gains than shorter rest periods.
Rule No.4: Reverse Pyramid Your Sets
The most effective way to train an exercise is with reverse pyramid training. If you go all out on a heavy weight, you won’t be able to perform that set again for the same number of repetitions.
This is because during an intense workout, you are actually become weaker. You’re breaking down your muscles and taxing your central nervous system.
When people lift the same weight for all three sets of an exercise, what’s really happening is that they are pacing themselves. They are going easy on their first couple of sets, so they can finish their last set. This is not the most effective way to train.
To solve this, I recommend performing three different sets for each exercise: a heavy set, a medium set and a lighter set.
This reverse pyramid technique also allows you to hit a wide variety of rep ranges for maximum muscle gain. You perform the heaviest set first while you’re fresh and then progressively lighter sets.
What’s more, by performing your heaviest set first, you improve the effectiveness of the subsequent lighter sets. This is because a heavy set will induce a state of increased muscle-fiber recruitment afterwards.
I recommend performing your first heavy set for 4-6 reps, your second set for 6-8 and your final set for 8-10 reps. Drop the weight by about 10-15 percent between sets.
Rule No.5: Have a Proper Progression Scheme
To get strong you need to have a plan of attack. You have to have a system for increasing strength. It’s not enough to just show up and pray to the strength gods that you can lift more weight.
What I’ve found to work extremely well is to use a double-progression model. This is where you focus on increasing reps first and then increasing the weight second.
For example: with barbell movements, you want to focus on adding one rep to your set. Once you add the rep, the next week you want to increase the weight by 5 pounds (and do one rep less).
So you alternate adding a rep and adding 5 pounds ( one rep less).
week 1: 200 pounds for 5
Week 2: 200 pounds for 6
Week 3: 205 pounds for 5
Week 4: 205 pounds for 6
This works well for barbell movements. For dumbbell movements, you have to make a much bigger increase in weight. I recommend using a bigger range (6-8 or 5-8). You would increase two reps before increasing the weight.
Week 1: 80 pounds for 6 reps
Week 2: 80 pounds for 7 reps
Week 3: 80 pounds for 8 reps
Week 4: 85 pounds for 6 reps
Week 5: 85 pounds for 7 reps
Week 6: 85 pounds for 8 reps
This is a efficient progression style to use and will work long term.
Rule No.6: Utilize Exercise Rotation
When we perform the exact same exercises for several months, it’s only natural that we burn out. Our bodies become very used to a specific movement that we stop improving. Sometimes we may even get stuck and regress.
I see this all the time. To overcome this challenge, we want to challenge our body and our muscles with a completely different exercise that hits the exact same muscle and movement pathway.
This will trigger continual improvements in strength and muscle development. For example, it’s very common for people to plateau on their flat bench press.
They try to break that plateau by doing more and more bench pressing. Next thing they know, their bench press went down in strength.
The real answer is to take a month or two off of flat barbell benching. Instead, focus on weighted dips and dumbbell presses. What will happen is that you’ll begin to see rapid and consistent increases in strength.
When you go back to the barbell bench press, you’ll notice the movement feels fresh and fun again. You may not be stronger right away, but you’ll begin to make strength gains on movements that previously stalled.
I recommend having two different exercises to utilize for all of your main compound lifts. This way, you always have a solution if you hit a plateau.
Rule No.7: Utilize a Scientific Pre-Workout Supplement
If you really want to get stronger, you need to have consistent energy. You need to be able to perform at your best every single session. This is why I created the Kino Octane Pre Workout.
Kino Octane allows you to perform at your best and recover faster, so you can keep coming back to the gym stronger than ever before.
Kino Octane has caffeine and L-theanine to give you smooth, calm and focused energy while also putting you in the zone. It has 6000 mg of L-citrulline to improve exercise performance, work capacity, muscle pumps and recovery.
Kino Octane also has ginseng to reduce fatigue, and biotin and thiamin to improve energy production from within. Finally, it has sodium and potassium to replenish your electrolytes during training to support your nervous system and speed up recovery.
I’ve been using Kino Octane for several months, and I’ve been making more progress in the gym than ever before. Thousands of people have used this pre workout to get stronger and achieve the physique they’ve always wanted.