You walk into the gym and you see a guy lifting a ridiculous amount of weight that you can’t imagine lifting. What’s even more impressive, is that he appears to weigh only 150lbs! So is he a genetic freak? Genetics does play a part in gaining strength, however to develop amazing strength your muscle size is not the key ingredient. Your nervous system is. That is how fast your body can fire it’s motor neurons to move that heavy weight and how efficiently those neurons can do it.
So if you want to be strong you have to lift very heavy weight. Not 12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps or even 5 reps. You must stay in the rep range of 2-4 with an occasional maximal effort of one rep every couple weeks. My rule of thumb, if you can do five reps at any given weight and your training for strength, you need to add some pounds bringing your reps back down to two.
It’s important to gradually work your way up to the weight that you will eventually lift in the 2-4 rep range and don’t jump into it.
For example: I can lift 120b dumbbell’s on the bench press for 4 reps. This is what I will do:
1) 30DB x 15
– rest 1:00
2) 55DB x 6
– rest 1:00
3) 80DB x 3
– rest 1:30
4) 100DB x 2
5) 120 x 4
6) 120 x 3 = After my third rep I hold the dumbbells in the locked out position for 30 seconds.
FYI- I work my chest 3x a week Monday-Wednesday-Friday. Monday I do the above routine. Wednesday I will do push ups in the same fashion and friday I will do dips in the same fashion or if I’m tired on any of my chest days, I will do light cable fly’s or skip chest all together that day.
Remember, listen to your body it will tell you if it’s tired and sore. If at any time you feel something doesn’t seem right or you feel a muscle was “tweaked” after doing a set. I would stop there and call it a day. Never try to work through aches or pains. They are signals from your body saying it had enough or needs more rest.
Always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine or seek guidance from a qualified trainer to prevent injury, over training or wasting your time not knowing what or how to do it.