Strength Training Program
Strength training can often be confused with bodybuilding. Power lifting focuses more on strength than size, and bodybuilding focuses more on size and overall physique development. Bodybuilders do of course get stronger, but the focus of there training is to get bigger and more defined. Strength training is done by power lifters to increase there maximum one rep performance. Power lifters are generally not as muscular looking, but are VERY strong. So how can a person focus on strength primarily? How can you increase your strength gains to the maximum? Well, you have to understand the amount of reps you need to perform, and how much time is required between sets. There is a way to maximize your personal strength by doing a specific number of reps and waiting a certain period of time in between sets.
Amount of reps
The amount of reps you need to perform should be around 3-6. Why? Because your body becomes much stronger under heavier loads than it does on medium or endurance loads. You need to stick with weight that you can only do successfully for about a maximum of 6 times and not much more. 5x5 is often a method performed by people who want to gain maximum strength. This is usually done with bench pressing, deadlifting, and squatting. 5x5 meaning 5 sets of 5 reps of course. Focusing on heavy weights done with compound exercises in this rep range allows your body to reach maximum strength. Your 1 rm (repetition max) will be much higher when done in this fashion.
Rest Between Sets
When your dealing with heavy loads, you need to get the proper amount of rest. Three to four minutes is highly suggested when doing 5x5 or something similar. If you do not allow your body to rest enough then your strength will not return and your other sets may not be as good. A good rule of thumb is at least 3 minutes. 90 seconds is not enough to fully recover for most people who train for strength. 90 seconds is more intense which focuses more on getting bigger, not overall strength.
When dealing with heavy loads, it may be important to have a spotter when benching or squatting. This is because the weight your doing will feel heavy on each rep. Just like training to get bulk up, you still need to eat enough food. Consuming between 400-600 more calories than your maintenance level. Proper sleep is also required. 7-9 hours is a good number to shoot.
Warming up is very vital, especially when your dealing with weight you can only handle a few times. You should have at least 3 warm up sets before you being your actual workload. Lets say your max bench press is approximately 200 lbs. Then warming up with 50-60 % is what you should be doing. This means doing about100-120 lbs for a few reps. You need to get the blood flowing in your body. Warming up is important, but don't do to many reps or this may compromise your working sets. Perform between 6-8 reps on each warm up. Resting about 1 minute in each warm up set. Stretching should also be done as well.