It’s that time again. Time to change my workout strategy. And it’s time to get strong.
I’m going to be switching from the typical bodybuilding style training to strength training. Much of my workouts will revolve around the 3×3 and 5×5 workout methods. I’ll be focusing on compound exercises and heavy weights.
Go Heavy or Go Home
That was an awesome t-shirt. If I’m not mistaken, it’s from Universal Nutrition (the Animal line) ‘Go Heavy or Go Home.’
So why am I going heavy all of a sudden and training for strength? It’s really just an itch I want to scratch, first and foremost (if I’m completely honest). I’ve never been super strong. I want to dedicate a few weeks, or even months to getting stronger and see how far I can go.
I’ve also been reading and listening to podcasts that talk about the many benefits of strength training. This mainly pertains to keeping your hormone levels in check. Lifting heavy weights can boost both testosterone and natural growth growth hormone levels. That’s obviously a good thing.
Lifting heavy weights also builds dense muscle. I remember reading an article where Dorian Yates (Mr. Olympia 6 consecutive years, 1992-1997) was talking about attaining that dense look. He associated that with going heavy. Countless bodybuilders built their foundation with compound exercises and heavy weights, aka powerlifting.
Gaining Muscle vs Strength Gains
Wait a minute, aren’t these one in the same? Sort of. But not really. One will proceed the other, and that other will generally be an effect of the former (ah, I just confused myself).
You can gain muscle by lifting lighter weights and pumping out reps (I say ‘light’ lightly; this isn’t a pass not to workout hard – the weight you use should be challenging). The idea behind building muscle is muscle expansion, and that happens by pumping more blood into the muscle. Remember hearing Arnold talk about ‘the pump’ and why it’s good in the documentary Pumping Iron?
This is a bodybuilding style training. Sure, you’ll ultimately get stronger. But how much weight you can lift isn’t the goal. The goal for gaining muscle is pure aesthetics.
Working out to get stronger requires a different approach. It’s all about lifting heavy weights with lower rep ranges. You want to make your muscles adapt to the weight in order to progress.
In fact, some strength trainers feel that bigger muscles get in the way, especially if they’re wanting to be strong for a specific sport or event (often called functional training).
I actually plan to mix the two. However, I will be more focused on strength training. My workouts will consist of multi-joint compound exercises, as those are more effective at building overall strength. This means I’ll be doing bench press, deadlifts, squats, barbel rows, and standing shoulder press a few times a week. But I will also throw in an exercise for hypertrophy at the end of my workouts (3 sets of 10-12 reps).
This morning’s workout is a great example of what I’ll be doing.
Push Pull Workout 5×5
- Bench Press
- 5 sets x 5 reps
- Barbell Rows
- 5 sets x 5 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Press
- 3 sets x 10 reps
- 3 sets x 8 reps
I started with two compound exercises using the 5×5 method. This is an old school strength training concept that’s been used for decades and still very popular today. It’s a proven method for getting stronger.
Stay tuned for updates, and make sure like my Facebook page. I post my workouts almost daily.
Train with Passion,