75/75 Part 2 Strength

A strength routine that is perfect for 75% of us for 75% of the time.

Correct strength training causes completely different physiological adaptations than hypertrophy training. The goal here is to encourage a greater proportion of muscle recruitment as opposed to growing the size of our muscles.

I like to use the analogy of a V8 car engine where only one cylinder is firing. If we bore out that cylinder and increase its size slightly we only marginally increase the power (or work capacity) of the engine. However if we recruit an additional cylinder we increase that output considerably.

So strength training is designed to encourage a greater percentage of your total muscle fibre to work at the same time allowing greater force production.

In order to achieve this we essentially pull and push very heavy things, for only a few repetitions (no more than five) but with plenty of rest in between each set. Think of a sliding scale where a weight so heavy that you can only lift it once has the greatest strength stimulus but also the highest injury risk. If the weight is so light that you can repeat the movement 30 times then the risk of injury is very low but the strength adaptations will be minimal (unless you are a complete beginner where any stimulus will be of benefit for a limited time).

So as you get stronger you will be able to move that original load for more reps. Therefore you need to increase said load sufficiently that you can only lift it up to five times (this is the principle of progressive overload).

So what do I recommend as a basic strength session once a week?

Compound, multi joint movements such as deadlifts, squats, bench press and bent over rows are the staple. Use a couple of sets of light loads to warm up then go heavy for 3-4 sets of 5 reps with about two minutes rest between each set.

Concentrate on quality of movement and get help at the beginning if you can.