Many of us think of getting big, lean and strong when we think of working out. It makes sense, right? Although strength and muscularity are deeply connected, if you want to truly progress it’s often stated that you have to focus on one over the other.
To some extent, that’s true. For example, if you’re goal is power and strength (like, if you’re a powerlifter or strongman athlete) you’re not concerned about aesthetics. Or at least you shouldn’t be. A powerlifting workout and diet is much different than that of a bodybuilder.
I remember watching a strongman competition a while back. There was one guy that looked like a bodybuilder. He was ripped and you could see his striations. He was a big dude but did not place so well among the other guys. Don’t get me wrong, bodybuilder-looking guy was super string, but he was not as strong as the other strongman competitors.
If you’re into bodybuilding, your goal is to sculpt and define your physique. Of course getting bigger (larger muscles) is part of that process. But strength training takes a back seat here. If you were to focus on getting stronger, you may fall behind on building a bodybuilder’s physique. Gaining strength requires a hefty amount of calories so you have to be okay with a little fat gain. That doesn’t work for bodybuilders, especially if you’re training for a bodybuilding competition.
The question comes up ‘Can you do both; can you get lean and strong?‘ The answer is yes for most people. But there’s a caveat. If you’re at an extreme level of competition in powerlifting or bodybuilding, this method probably isn’t best for you (you need to focus solely on one or the other).
Though some of us may compete, most of us aren’t at that top tier level of competing in bodybuilding or powerlifting (or strongman). So how exactly can you get lean and strong? Simple; train for both goals.
I’m actually going to give you my full current workout routine here. I’ve done mostly bodybuilding-style workouts throughout my life, and have only gone for strength a few times. I’ve never considered myself to be super strong, at least not to powerlifting standards. But lately I’ve had this bug to focus more on strength. Call it my mid-life crisis.
But I don’t want to lose the benefits of muscularity that comes with training for hypertrophy. So I’ve combined the two to get lean and strong (though I’m not exactly lean; I’ve been eating like a horse lately! Had pizza and beer last night. Back off, it was the weekend!!).
Here’s my current lean and strong workout routine. This is always subject to change. I’ve been trying a few different routines over the past several weeks and I think I may stick with the below for a while.
Monday – Lean and Strong Workout
Tuesday – Lean and Strong Workout
Wednesday – Lean and Strong Workout
Thursday – Lean and Strong Workout
Friday – Lean and Strong Workout
Lean and Strong Workout Notes:
That’s my current workout routine for getting lean and strong in a nutshell. This may seem high volume, but again, I listen to my body. For example, this morning I only did three sets of squats. And I only did one reps on that third set. But when I got to deadlifts, I felt strong, so I did a little extra. Your body will tell you when to do more and when to hold back, so learn to listen to it.
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