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This is how you get stronger!

February 16, 2016 0 Comments

Ok, so how do you get stronger?

This is one of my favorite things, I love working to get stronger. I’ve kind of backed off over the years, but when I was younger, I just wanted to get as strong as I possibly could. It was fun, but over the long-term my goals have changed. I’m not as worried about being as strong as I used to be, I’m more concerned with longevity; but I can tell you right now ways to get stronger.

One thing first we’ve got to talk about (and this is very interesting and most don’t understand this) is that a lot of strength isn’t from building bigger muscles; it’s actually that you’re waking up your nerves and turning on your nervous system. So when you first start training, if you were to only work one side, your other side is still going to get stronger too. That’s because you’re waking up nerves. They run bilaterally, so working one side is going to make the other side stronger, at least to a point. Once you get really fit, then you’ve got to work in both. So again, a lot of strength isn’t that you’re growing big muscles, you’re waking up nerves.

The more exercise you do, the more efficient you become at certain moves, so you [learn to] recruit certain muscles to perform the movement. This again adds more strength. A big part of it is nerves and technique, not so much building bigger muscles. Which is a reason, ladies, you should try and push big weights. Pushing big weights is going to burn more calories, going to make you more tone, more fit, you’re going to look more athletic, you’re not going to get big and muscular and huge.

So let’s say you do want to get stronger.

This applies to anything. To get strong, you’ve got to lift big weights. Well, how big of weights should I use? It’s very simple. You try the weights, if you can’t do it, so what? It’s just a little too big. But you’ve got to keep trying.

So let’s say I’m doing curls. I curl 20 pound weights 10 times. It’s like, “Oh, that’s not feeling too bad.” I might go up to 25 pound weights, and I curl, and I only get 6 of them. That’s ok, you’re getting stronger. Get those 6, then maybe drop back down, grab the 20’s and go back to them. You’ve just got to keep pushing.

If you’ve someone who has been training with us for a while…

…and you’re proficient at a floor pushup, if you can do a pullup without a band, if you’re getting good at goblet squats and are really holding some weight, then here is a technique that’s really going to help every single muscle you’ve got get stronger:

Let’s use a back squat for example. Once a week, you’re going to put weights on a bar, and you’re going to back squat for 5 reps. Then you’re going to take a break, and then do it again. So you’re going to try and do 5 sets of 5 reps, of whatever weight you choose. (Let’s just say that weight is 200 pounds) So do 5 reps, take a break, do 5 reps, take a break, and shoot for 5 sets of 5 reps.

If you get all 5 sets of 5 reps without any help from a spotter than it is time to add more weight!

The next week you add 10 pounds and try it again. But say this week maybe you do 5 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps, 4 reps, 3 reps. So (stay with me here…) the next week you do that exact same weight, and you keep doing that same weight, one time a week, until you get 5 sets of 5 reps all by yourself without help, and then you jump another 10 pounds. (Always jump 10 pounds).

That will work with a bench press, a deadlift, and squats. And you’re pretty much hitting every muscle there. Pullups might need to be done a bit differently. Do your 5 sets of 5 pull-ups with the least amount of help possible from the resistance bands. If you can do 5 sets of 5 with your body weight, hang a little weight with the leather belts we have, and try 5 sets of 5. If you can’t get it, keep going, each week try it, and once you get 5 sets of 5, add a little more weight, add a little more weight, and you’ll just keep getting stronger.

On different day each week you use 20% less weight and do 5 sets of 4 reps.  (So if you did 200 pounds, 80% of 200 is 160 pounds. Do 5 sets of 4 with 160 pounds.) It’s going to be a lot easier, and it’s good technique work. You can do that every single week, you just don’t want to do it on back-to-back days, you need a little break in between.

So I’m hoping this makes sense. Looking to the future here…

…I’ve been lifting weights for so long, I’m content with where my strength is, and I don’t really push any more. I’m just happy. And that’s a big thing too, that’s what you want to do with working out. You want to get to a point where you’re content, and just maintain it. And for me, I’m content; I’m perfectly happy with my strength, I don’t really push to get any further. But if you do want to push, follow the above info, and let me know if you have any questions.

So to reiterate:

  • Do 5 sets of 5 repetitions.
  • once you can get all 5 sets of 5 repetitions without anyone helping you whatsoever, add 10 pounds the next week. (Always add 10 pounds, no more, no less, add 10.) and try it again. You probably won’t get that 4th set, you might get 3 or 4 reps, that 5th set you might get 3 reps. Thats fine!
  • Then later in the week, do the 5 sets of 4 with 80% of that amount.
  • Then next week try it again, until you can get all of the 5 sets of 5 with your max effort and no help.
  • Repeat

According to Pavel, the Russian Strength Guru/Master, if you do that each week, and just keep working, you can put on 100 pounds to your bench press or squat in a year, and that’s for a trained person. If you haven’t been lifting for a while, you can put on even more than that. I hope that makes sense. But the big thing is really simple: is to get stronger, use bigger weights.

If you’re more of a beginner, it’s the same principle.

Pull-ups: Let’s say you’re using a really thick band for your pull-ups, and on that 5th set you need someone to help you a little bit. A couple of days later, use that same band. If that week you get all 5 rounds of 5 reps all by yourself, the next week you do it again with a little bit thinner band. Same thing, next week, a little bit thinner band.
Pushups: If you can’t do a pushup on the ground, do a pushup on the higher box. Then the next week try a little lower box, and let’s say you only get a few reps, that’s fine! Just keep practicing, practicing, practicing. The other thing with strength too is, you don’t want to do pushing your max multiple days in a row. Push it, rest day, rest day, push it again, rest day, rest day. Then give yourself some time to recover.

Don’t ever do strength work alone! You must have a spotter!

Maybe I’ll make a demo video, it’s just hard for me to get in front of everybody to show it live, but if you have any questions, always ask!

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Filed in: Exercise

About the Author:

EupraxiaMy goal when writing is to take confusing or complicated information and make it easy to understand and apply. I have spent the last decade obsessively researching and teaching how to improve performance and longevity. Dr Czys

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