Train For Strength

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly2 Comments

If your goal is to build strength then you should train differently than someone who wants to put on muscle mass. Many people believe that training for muscle mass (bodybuilding) is the same as training for strength. But they could not be further from the truth.

Strength is developed by lifting heavier weights for fewer reps with a longer rest periods in between sets. This differs from bodybuilding and strength endurance programs which tend to utilize lighter weights with less rest in between sets. Lifting heavy weights rather than light weights enhances the nervous system and stimulates more nerve fibers.

To get results with a strength training program, you should use quick movements, low reps, more frequent training and fewer sets. The Russians did a lot of research on strength and they suggest three distinct ways to train: the dynamic effort method, the repetition method and the maximum effort method. Bodybuilding programs focus on only one of those methods, repetitions, and thus neglect the other two.

The dynamic effort method involves lifting a sub-maximal weight as fast as you can. The load used should be between 50-75% of your max, and should be lifted as fast as possible. By lifting as fast as possible with a sub-maximal weight, you learn how to increase power for lifting heavier weights.

The repetition method requires you to lift a light load (60% of your max) through multiple repetitions. The goal is to exhaust and recruit the maximum amount of muscle fibers. The primary purpose of this method is to increase your work endurance. If you are unable to exercise for an extended period of time, then this training will enable you to make your maximum effort work more successful.

The maximum effort method involves lifting a maximal weight (90% of your max) for low repetitions. The maximum effort method is the only way to increase your strength. However, the dynamic effort and repetition methods train different strength qualities which help make your maximum effort workouts effective.


  1. This explains why my friend who did figure competitions always claimed to be very weak, even though she LOOKED strong ??!

  2. Yes, exactly. Bodybuilding is all about appearance. But if you put a bodybuilder next to a strength athlete, most people would guess the bodybuilder to be the stronger of the two.

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