Sunday, December 9, 2012

Build strength, don't demonstrate it

People have lost this concept in strength training, I believe. Too many people are maxing out, not allowing for the recovery and supercompensation curve to happen, and short circuit results.

Some very real tested and proven theories are that...

1. Maximal strength can be build using lower percentages

2. Leave the gym feeling better than when you wal
ked in. This requires you to calibrate your work output and manage your training intensity. Both calculated, AND real.

3. Don't test maxes in the gym. You know damn well when you've gotten stronger through either rep PR's, or bar speed. If you smoke 500, where it was a total grinder 6 weeks before, you got stronger. Getting as strong as humanly possible, for you, doesn't mean you need to grind and strain against max lifts weekly. This is a sure fire way to NOT make sustainable progress and increase your foundation and baseline strength.

4. Find out how low you can go, rather than how high you can go, in programming your lifts is the answer. People have had this backwards for quite some time. Everyone wants to program high because of their ego, then they grind themselves into the shitter and can't figure out why they aren't tired all the time. They can't figure out why they aren't getting stronger, and why "I hit this in training, and totally bombed at the meet." Why? Because the body is only going to grant you so many "great days" of peak strength. You can't be at maximal/meet/peak strength 24-7/365. I don't care what some other training paradigm tells you. If that were the case, then no one would ever bomb at meets, or miss lifts, and we'd have guys squatting 4 million pounds. Reality check!

The people who have grasped these concepts in regards to my training programs have all gone on to hit PR's easily, set records, and be amazed at how well training cycles went. But it can still be fine tuned. That's what I am working on.

Stay tuned.


  1. Paul,

    I totally agree with this and have found it to be true, but I do have a question. This all seems to make sense when applied to Power lifting, but what about something as technical as Olympic lifting? Ive started incorporating hang cleans into my routine (I think they're fun and I'd like to get better at them). I've found that I make a lot of progress in the lower rep ranges which doesn't seem to be the case with any of my power lifts. I've made all my progress there from submaximal programming and have seen barely, if any, progress from maxing out. I'm just confused on why these types of lifts work different, at least in my case.

    Ryan B

    1. Well powerlifting to oly lifting is like comparing apples and orangutans. The oly lifts are technical lifts that don't built a lot of mass because they don't have an eccentric portion of the rep.

      So basically it's all about practice, practice, practice. With the other lifts, it's all about mass/strength...strength/mass. They are less technical, so you build them a different way.

  2. with my main lifts i just smash as many reps as i can each week until i get to my rep goal then put the weight up, no programming or percentages, works well.