Strength is the key to everything.
I’m putting on my fitness-nerd hat a little bit here today because, well, I haven’t in awhile.
The more you dive into strength training and really dissect it, the more you realize that it is vital. It makes fast athletes faster, it can help you lose weight or gain mass (yep, it can do both), it will strengthen your bones, manage certain bodily pains, help you jump higher and give you the ability to catch a leprechaun.
Men and women alike should be strength training, and they should be doing it the exact same way (did your brain just explode). However, I see so many people, even the ‘advanced’ athletes stall…and they can’t seem to figure out what’s going on.
It is the most often overlooked, forgotten or unknown element to an effective strength program.
The Evolution of a Average Man’s Strength Training Program
Step 1: The decision to get strong
This is how strength training works for most…
You are weak, and you decide you need to get stronger; whether you have never lifted, are an endurance athlete who finally understands the benefits of strength training or a woman who realizes the same things as the endurance athlete. Or lastly, a CrossFit athlete who realizes CrossFit is not near as effective without the addition of separate strength training.
Step 2: The quest to get strong
Now, you are off! You ask your best friend, Google, “How do I get strong?”.
Google will be sure to populate over a billion results in .32 seconds, but you most likely will not venture past the first page.
Worse, option #2, is to pick up a ‘muscle mag’ while standing in line at the grocery store.
Don’t worry, we have all been there.
Now you are looking at programs and plans that take, on average, 1.5 hours to complete, are focused primarily on a bodybuilding-style routine/split and was created by someone, who, while extremely strong, has taken an absurd amount of steroids.
But still…they know the secret.
Step 3: The Strength Training journey
Despite, the negative tones I imply above, you most likely see results…You get stronger! As I have said before, I can make a weak person strong by having them lift milk jugs everyday.
But eventually, one of many things happen. You stall out and the results slow, you run into a mental wall from following a program far too advanced for your level of experience or you get injured from improper mechanics and lack of form-focus.
I’ve also seen, as the result slow, the squat becomes shallower each week making you seems stronger, but with no real increase in strength…Don’t be that guy! Or, you think it is time to make the program super intricate and complicated because you are ‘advanced’ now…
Does any part of the picture I painted above ring a bell? Either you have seen it done or you have done it yourself?
No matter where you are, let me save you a lot of time and effort and help you get really strong, very quickly.
Keep it simple….Start from the beginning.
So how can we keep strength training simple? To start at the root of any problem, you must define it. Define what you want.
Alright, we have the definition of strong. Another word that seems to pop up a lot, as you can see, when we are talking about strength, is power.
Let’s define power.
We are looking at the ‘verb’ number 2 in this definition.
The definition of strength?
Having the ability move objects, with great speed or force, to move heavy weight or to perform other physically demanding tasks.
In the course of 30 seconds of research we now know that to be strong you have to be able to move objects quickly. This not me making a case for Olympic weightlifting! I think Oly lifting has it’s place, and is great, but it is not the pinnacle of strength.
No, I am talking about moving weight quickly – any weight.
Who is stronger, Person-A who can deadlift 400 lbs, but the lift takes 14 seconds to accomplish, or is it Person-B who can deadlift 400 lbs in two seconds?
You might say, they are equal in strength…
If that is the case I am going to have to get the dictionary out and hit you over the head. The rate of force development in lifting 400 lbs in two seconds as compared to 14 seconds is significantly greater.
If someone can move that much weight that fast I would say their 1 rep max is much greater than person A, wouldn’t you agree?
Moving weight slowly will STILL make you stronger, but eventually you will stall.
If your strength program, or definition of strength, is missing the speed element, it is irrelevant and will eventually be useless.
Adding Speed to Your Strength Program
Hopefully I am not confusing you here. Speed is not THE element. It is the missing element…of many elements. I’ll say again..speed is not THE ONLY element needed in a strength program! It is the most commonly MISSING element in a strength program.
Well, let’s take a look at the three main elements of strength training:
- Maximal Effort Method – lifting a maximum load.
- Submaximal Effort Method – lifting a load smaller than maximal effort a repeated number of times.
- Dynamic Effort Method – lifting a submaximal load at maximal velocity.
Dynamic effort is the main one we are looking at here.
I want to keep this simple without going into the difference in strength-speed and speed-strength, whether you should throw, hit, use banded tension or chains…Nah, too complex for most.
The simple answer:
Pick a weight 40-60% of your 1RM and lift that crap as fast as possible with little rest.
Is it that simple?
Yes. Well, no. For a lot of you, this isn’t even on your radar. Your gains will be amazing once you finally add speed to your routine.
We still have to chat about CNS overload, variance and some other issues involved with your strength training routine.
But not today. Today, your mission is speed.
Get stronger by being faster. Be faster and be stronger.
Hit me up if you have any questions!!
PS – Are you guys seeing the awesomeness going on in the forums with these weekly challenges?? Pretty sick! Check it out here.