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Strength training 101

Strength training, powerlifting, or generally training for high weight and low reps is something I feel is ignored and often times shunned by the fitness world. Bodybuilding types find themselves using lowing weight for high reps and in my opinion selling themselves short. I have experimented with both types of training and I have found that training for strength has given me my best results. Here is how and why I think that this type of training can help you.

strength training

Fig 1. Strength Training with Freeweights

Enormous Amount of Muscle Fiber Recruitment:
To save for a science lesson the body has its own internal mechanism that deciphers the amount of muscle fibers and thus strength you need to use for a given action. When the amount of force needed to be applied to an object only a certain amount of muscle fibers are activated and used. This is why when you pick up a piece of paper or an empty condiment bottle you do not throw it through the ceiling. On its own the body determines how much strength you need to use. That is why training for strength is optimal for myself and others in the gym. Tackling heavy sets based on your one rep max is a great way to ensure the maximum amount of muscles fibers and no strength potential is being left behind.

Bodybuilders are missing out:
Bodybuilding training certainly has its benefits and you can see it in your bodybuilding friends and in magazines. However, I see a lot of built in excuses in common bodybuilding training. Exercising for muscle “feel” and a designated amount of reps has its draw backs. Who is to say that by selecting a lighter weight for “feel” can not just be a reflection of your sleep, hydration, and nutrition from the current day? That is why I believe basing your training around designated percentages of your one rep maxes allows a trainer to follow a more organized program and thus track their success more easily.

You will know when you are better:
Training for hypertrophy allows for muscle growth in its own right but often times this is difficult to track over the short term. You can use mirrors and pictures but that can be deceiving. Training for strength will allow you to test your muscles against a certain amount of weight often so that you can measure your progress with any given lift at any given weight.

There is a place is your training for both principles and no one approach should be considered as the wrong one but if you are a beginner, a strength athlete, or just stuck in a plateau this approach allows for a more regimented and tactical approach to training success.

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