Since putting up a recent post on my Instagram about how to get strong, I got asked the question ‘Surely if you’re getting strong you’re putting on muscle?’. And my answer was simple – you can get stronger and put on muscle, however you are doing yourself an injustice. Its like supporting two football teams, you’re giving a halfhearted approach to both teams, and you can’t give one your full attention. This is where your goals should take over.
Set A Goal
Before you start exercising and or lifting, you should have a goal in mind. Either to put on lean muscle, get strong, get more powerful, to loose body fat or simply training to feel good. This not only drives motivation, but it allows you pave the path to get there. The path being your programme. So, if your goal is to put on muscle, then why are we training in a rep range of 1-5? We’re not trying to improve our 1 rep max (1RM), so there is no point in training this way. You are only in the gym for 45 mins to an hour a day and therefore your time is so valuable. Make every rep and set count and be as efficient as you can.
What The Research Says
If we are training to put on lean muscle, research shows we need to be training in a rep range of 8 – 12 and 65% – 85% 1RM (i.e. if our 1 RM is 100, we need to be training with a weight of 65kg minimum – 85kg maximum) and with a rest time of 60-90 seconds depending on the exercise and rep range utilised, in order to promote the most efficient hypertrophic response (muscle growth).
In contrast, if we are training to get improve strength, research shows we need to be training in a rep range of 1-5 and >85% 1RM with a rest time of 2-3 minutes again depending on the exercise and rep range utilised. This is how we create the best response in regards to increasing absolute strength.
Therefore, with all this said: Firstly, define your goals and objectives. Then, create a programme in which you are optimising your training to achieve your set goals. Don’t waste time, be efficient with every rep but most of all, enjoy training! This is the only way it can be sustainable. If you don’t like squatting, don’t do it, there are other ways around it to get the same response!
Check out my tailored 6-Week Training Programme, 6-Week Strength and Conditioning Programme and 4-Week Online Coaching Programme to optimise your training in the gym. Or have a look at some of my other range of products available too!