We’ve all heard it before. The friend, co-worker, etc. who has started a new strength training regimen and is getting great results. That his/her routine could do the same for you…. go ahead…give it a try they say. After a few weeks, you are not seeing these “great results” even after doing exactly what they are. What gives? I am here to tell you when it comes to strength training one size (program) does not fit all to achieve specific results. Besides factors out of our control like genetics, there are different ways to strength training that produce a particular outcome. Usually, people strength train to achieve one of four outcomes…. muscular size, muscular strength, muscular power, or muscular endurance. Let discuss each briefly and explain how to train based on the results you are looking for:
TRAINING FOR MUSCULAR SIZE:
9 out of 10 men who lift weights want a big chest and arms…the beauty muscles as I like to call them. The mistake often made here is lifting too heavy of weights, resting too long, and not doing enough reps/sets. To achieve muscular size, use the following guidelines for each exercise you perform: 3-6 sets, 6-12 repetitions, resting 30-90 seconds between sets while using a weight that is 67-85% of the maximum amount of weight you could lift for 1 repetition. Focus on exercises that use big muscle groups…. bench press, shoulder press, squats, and deadlift. After 6-10 weeks, you will start to see increases in muscular size.
TRAINING FOR MUSCULAR STRENGTH:
Want superman strength and be able to move heavy objects while impressing onlookers? There is a specific way to train for that outcome. While training for muscular size focuses on high reps/set, moderate weight, and low rest; training for muscular strength is quite the opposite…lower reps, more rest, and heavier weights. When training for muscular strength uses the following guidelines: 2-6 sets, 6 or fewer reps, resting 2-5 minutes between sets while using 85% or more of the weight you could lift for one rep. Of particular note use these guidelines ONLY for the big muscle groups/exercises…presses, squats, etc. (chest, shoulders, legs). Using these guidelines on exercises such as curls increases the chance of injury and is hard to maintain good form.
TRAINING FOR MUSCULAR POWER:
Explosive movements such as jumping higher and running faster all require some degree of muscular power. Training for muscular power is generally used in sport specific settings such as football where there is stop and go movements, where quick movements must be made (a blitz), and muscular power is needed to push an opponent. When it comes to training for muscular power form is critical. Because of the explosive nature of the movement and the weight being used injury is a real risk. Exercises typically used for muscular power training include the push press, power clean, and snatch. When training for muscular power use the following guidelines: 3-5 sets, 3-5 reps, resting 2-5 minutes between sets while using 75-85% of the weight you could lift for one rep. Due to the complexities of performing power exercises, it is always my recommendation to hire a qualified trainer to demonstrate the proper form, weight used, etc.…before incorporating them into your routine.
TRAINING FOR MUSCULAR ENDURANCE:
Last but not least is training for muscular definition/endurance. This type of training always seems like the low man on the totem pole but definitely has a place in the strength training world. A lot of endurance athletes follow this type of program. The goal of this kind of training is to (as the name implies) increase muscular endurance and decrease the risk of injury by having well-conditioned muscles. Think of the marathon runner who typically takes 30-40,000 steps during the 26.2-mile race. Do you think muscles that are strength trained are going to hold up better than those that are not…who do you think will recover faster? The strength trained individual. When training for muscular endurance/definition use the following guidelines: 2-3 sets, 12 or more reps, resting 30 seconds or less between sets while using 67% or less of the weight you could lift for one rep.
There are hundreds of other variables that can affect the outcome of a specific program but these general guidelines are a good starting point.
The following table summarizes all the information from above based on the strength training goal:
Load (% 1RM)
67 – 85%
6 or less
30 – 90 seconds
80 – 90%
75 – 85%
12 or more
30 seconds or less
SUPPLEMENTS THAT HELP INCREASE MUSCLE SIZE, STRENGTH, POWER, AND ENDURANCE
While there is no doubt that by itself a rigorous exercise program can magnify muscular size, strength, power, and endurance; after time even the best regimens will plateau to some degree, recovery between sessions becomes more difficult, and the gains come few and far between. When that time comes body builders, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts alike often turn to ergogenic aids, such as supplements, to help bust through staleness and get the extra push needed to keep working towards their goals. Of vital importance is choosing one with ingredients proven by research and dosed at efficacious levels to produce a performance enhancing effect beyond training alone.
There is one such supplement that meets this criterion. Furthermore, it can increase strength by 5-15%, help double lean mass in 12 weeks or less with proper training, improve power output by 20%, significantly improve time to exhaustion, and help promote optimal recovery from muscle damaging exercise. This supplement is PowerMaxXT, a fully transparent formula made by the most innovative name in sports nutrition, Performax Labs. Using the latest advances in supplement research, PowerMaxXT combines four unique matrixes containing ingredients known to work synergistically to enhance strength and endurance, amplify raw power output, deliver massive pumps, improve focus, and promote an anabolic environment necessary for muscle growth and recovery. PowerMaxXT gets you in the right mindset and provides the necessary components to improve the results of any training session.