- Focus on building strength over all else
- Change SOMETHING about every training session
- Recover, recover recover!
Most athletes want the best of everything… The capacity to run a 5 minute mile, the strength to squat 500 pounds… all while looking like Arnold in his prime. We want to be fit, strong and aesthetic. Can you have the strength, size AND speed that you want? Absolutely. In the pursuit of physical mastery, follow these three steps:
Build Strength First
Building strength takes time. Someone doesn’t simply progress from a 1 plate bench press to repping 315 in a few weeks. It takes dedication and attention to detail. It takes knowing at exactly which point you’re weak in those lifts. It takes planned accessory work to help positions and weaknesses. It doesn’t happen in a few sessions, It happens over years.
Maximal strength (think one-rep max) is the catalyst through which you can express the rest of your fitness. All things being equal, the stronger athlete is ALWAYS better.
Although strength takes time to develop, it is also the most persistent of all physical adaptations. Once you’re strong, you can maintain that strength and focus on getting bigger and faster.
At Elite PowerBuilding, we focus on building strength and size simultaneously. However, strength training is the bread and butter of our programming. Everything else is essentially considered accessory work.
Build strength first. We prioritize heavy lifts at the start of almost all of our workouts for this reason.
NEVER repeat the same workout
To illicit change, our bodies need to be introduced to new stimulus. Too many people repeat the same workout over and over and never get fitter. Your body simply adapts to the stress you put it through – so if it’s already adapted to squat 300 pounds, make it adapt to 305!
We can change the number of reps we’re doing by increasing the rep number each workout, we can decrease the amount of rest time or time performing the movements, or we can increase the load we’re using. Whatever we are switching up we need to keep doing it to make our workouts more intense the stronger and faster we get.
Change AT LEAST one of these things in each exercise you do, each time you do it:
- Number of reps
- Pace of reps
- Rest period between sets
- Weight used
- Total volume (reps and sets)
Take your recovery as seriously as your training.
There is no such thing as overtraining – only under-recovering. Every athlete that has accomplished something great will tell you that your time off of training is just as important if not more important than the training itself. We have to take care of our bodies.
Monitor your hydration. Properly hydrating will help to keep muscle spasms and cramps at bay. Hydrating allows you to perform at peak levels. Water helps to transport nutrients to your muscles. It helps to lubricate your joints and give you more energy.
Aim for around 1 gallon of water per day.
Monitor your fatigue. If you are tired from a lack of sleep or a previous workout, you may under-perform in the gym and thus waste your time.
Monitor your muscle tightness. Loose muscles will provide us with full range of motion and act as a barrier against injury should we slack on our form during a lift. If our muscles are tight, we are unable to hit proper positions for lifts. Monitor your body and know where your specific issues are. Choose 3 muscles that give you the most trouble and target those every other day. There is no need to stretch your entire body – just focus on the areas you have issues with.
In the pursuit of being fit, strong and aesthetic we often lose ability to focus because we want it all. Because we want it all, we often miss the mark and end up with nothing. We need laser-like focus. Focus on one thing at a time and master it. Start with strength.