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Developing serious strength

Strength is not all about moving huge amounts of weight.  It is also about how you are able to move that weight.  This is the basic concept behind more modern strength strategies, such as that developed by the famous Westside Barbell Gym.

Equal parts power and strength

Strength is defined as the maximal force that a muscle or muscle group can generate at a specified velocity.  Power, on the other hand, is defined as the time rate of doing work.  

In other words, strength is the ability to move a certain amount of weight, and power is how fast you can move that weight.  

Olympic weightlifters are prime examples of athletes that have both strength and power.  A powerlifter, for instance, may be able to squat 600lbs raw (without knee wraps or a suit), and that is incredible, but an elite olympic weightlifter can move that weight explosively above their head.  This is why olympic-style weightlifters are said to be some of the best athletes in the world.  They are able to move large amounts of weight, and also move that weight quickly and explosively.

Add lbs to your max

If you are having trouble getting your bench press or squat to meet your goals, try doing some explosive training.  

Two days out of the week, focus on your maximal static lifts, such as working up to your 1-rep max on the bench press.  Two days later, you would focus on dynamic chest exercises, such as speed bench, medicine ball throws, or plyometric push-ups.  The basic template looks like this:

  • Sunday - speed bench, triceps, shoulders, upper back
  • Monday - maximum effort squat, hamstrings, lower back, abs
  • Wednesday - maximum effort bench press, triceps, shoulders, upper back
  • Friday - speed squats, hamstrings, lower back, abs

Adopting a strategy like this does not necessarily work for all people, but it may help you break through your plateaus.

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