Bodybuilding Workouts for Strength

Bodybuilding Workouts for Strength

Strength training is a system of boosting muscular strength by progressively increasing the body’s capacity to resist against a force using free weights, machines and/or bodyweight exercises.

It can be split further in general strength training, plyometrics, core and functional training. Strength training is really about building strength and not muscle mass!

This is achieved by training your central nervous system how to efficiently recruit muscle fibres when lifting.

Therefore the main goal of strength training is to strengthen your muscles, reinforce the joints, harden the bones and develop strong connective tissues. For the scope of this article we will focus on general strength training through using main and assisted lifts.

Main lifts

A good strength program should be designed by performing a main lift which is then followed by some assistance lifts.

The main lifts should be performed within a range of 85-90% of IRM and the number of reps of the main lifts drops to between 10 to 20 reps. However if you are pumping over 90% of your 1RM then your total number of reps should cut significantly to around 10 or below.

To improve your total training volume you should use a range of 2-4 reps per set whilst executing the exercise at 85-90% of your 1RM.

If you are lifting above the 90% 1RM marker than reduce your reps to 1-2 per set. Your rest intervals in between each main lifting set should be 3-5 minutes because the load of the weight is neurologically more demanding than using lower weights.

A good number of main lifting exercises per session should be around 3 to 5!

Assistance Training

Assistance exercises can benefit you in a number of ways:

  1. They help to focus on a particular area involved in the main lifts e.g. focusing on hamstrings for squatting and deadlifting
  2. They can focus on a particular part of the event where you are weak e.g. performing rack pulls to help with the lock out when deadlifting
  3. Assist the muscles used in the main lifts in a slightly different way e.g. performing an overhead press to help with bench press
  4. They help to break through strength plateaus by working on areas of weakness by improving form and technique of the main lifts
  5. They help to prevent injuries caused by the muscles overcompensating due to poor techniques in the main lifts

Assistance training for absolute strength outcomes is totally different than what is used for hypertrophy training.

Unfortunately many new strength lifters tend to fall at the first hurdle because they have overloaded their central nervous system. The main issue is that beginners tend to treat strength training as if they were performing hypertrophy training with lots of sets, reps and training volume.

This strategy will end in disaster and trying to maintain the same volume and intensity as hypertrophy training is a road to injury and failure!

You should be performing strength assistance training with a higher rep range of around 15-25 with a load of between 70-80 1RM.

In terms of the number of exercise being performed this drops to the 2-4. Without this reduction it would be become very difficult for you to recover. If you did continue to overburden your body with more stress than it can accommodate this is when overtraining kicks in.

Overtraining is a physiological and psychological state that can be avoided if you follow the simple strength training guidelines that have been discussed.

The exercises within assistance strength training should be selected so that you can rectify any weak points in your main lifts.

For example if you have reached a point where your back strength is stopping you from making progress when performing the deadlifts. Then realistically you should be working on back strength – as this would dramatically increase your strength gains in that area.

Work Out 1 – Squat

  • Barbell Squat – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Leg Press – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Stiff Leg Dumbell Deadlift – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Decline Crunch – 2 Sets of 15 to 25 reps with a 3 minute rest interval
  • Seated Calf Raises – 2 Sets of 15 to 25 reps with a 3 minute rest interval

Work Out 2 – Bench Press

  • Barbell Chest Press Medium Grip – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Barbell Incline Chest Press – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Dumbbell Chest Press – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Face Pulls – 2 Sets of 15 to 25 reps with a 3 minute rest interval
  • Chest Supported Rows – 2 Sets of 15 to 25 reps with a 3 minute rest interval

Work Out 3 – Deadlift

  • Barbell Deadlift – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Front Barbell Squat – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Bent Over Barbell Rows – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Hip Thrusters – 2 Sets of 15 to 25 reps with a 3 minute rest interval
  • Standing Calf Raises – 2 Sets of 15 to 25 reps with a 3 minute rest interval

Work Out 4 – Military

  • Standing Military Press – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Incline Chest Press – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Standing Rows – 1 to 2 Sets of 2 to 4 reps with a 3-5 minute rest interval
  • Pull Ups – 2 Sets of 15 to 25 reps with a 3 minute rest interval
  • Side lateral Raises – 2 Sets of 15 to 25 reps with a 3 minute rest interval

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