This is a subject close to my heart as I have spent the last three years trying to get stronger. The first two years of crossfit were easy compared to now. I could get a PR every time I did a lift! I remember my first Deadlift PR was 155! That was a big deal three years ago. Thankfully, I’ve put 100 pounds on that lift, but, I’ve had to work my butt off to get it. If you google “How to Get Stronger”, there will be 1000’s of hits and the list of information is vast!
In addition, I’ve also spent a good deal of time reading about a variety of methods on how to get stronger, leaner and bigger…….bottom line what you chose to do in the weight room depends on your goals. If you’re interested in putting on 5 pounds of muscle, then, you need WAY MORE VOLUME. If you’re interested in strictly upping you’re one rep max, then, less volume and more reps in the 80-90% range. Also, it doesn’t work forever! You need to plan back off weeks or deload weeks such as 3 weeks of heavy and 1 week of lighter.
So, do you have a plan for getting stronger? Do you do the same reps and weights at the gym every single week? Every time you walk in the gym, is there a plan in place?
Here’s what I know to be true:
Working off percentages of your one rep max works the majority of the time. 4 sets of 5-7 reps in the 70-80% works very well for me. So, for example, if your press is 105, then 4 sets of 5 @ 73 for week one, 4 sets of 5 @ 78, etc.
Going heavy is also effective. Using a rep scheme of 5×2, 7×1, 10×1 starting at 80% and moving into 90% by week 3 works has worked for me as well.
Intensity + Volume is an a** kicker but also very effective. Try the following rep scheme of 3 reps on the minute for 3 minutes at 60%, 3 reps on the minute for 3 minutes at 70%, then, 1 rep every 30 seconds for 3 minutes at 80% is super hard because it creates a) intensity b) work!
Finally, there is strength training in the form of conditioning which is even harder really. These are what a lot of crossfit workouts are based on. Repeating higher reps of a medium weight as fast as possible can be the most horrible form of strength training at all! For example, my favorite workout in CrossFit is Elizabeth. 21-15-9 of Squat Cleans + Ring Dips at 95 pounds for women. This is serious work at a high intensity and theoretically, can be finished in under 10 minutes.
In summary, if you are looking to get stronger, the best plan of attack is to combine one or two of these methods into your weekly training. Going heavy earlier in the week and doing more of a faster/lighter reps towards the end of the week is a great way to get lean and strong effectively.
Feel free to add to leave a comment on how YOU plan to get stronger in 2013!