The emphasis for December is to build maximal strength. Hopefully after last month you are noticing that you have a little more muscle bulk than you had before. This increase in muscle doesn’t necessarily make you stronger however, because muscles still rely on the nervous system to make them contract. Lifting heavier weights stimulates the brain to talk to your muscles and causes more muscle fibers to contract at once. For athletes, this is the holy grail of strength training; the more muscle fibers you can use at once, the stronger you will be and the faster you can move. Lots of muscle means nothing to an athlete unless they can use it quickly and forcefully, and this is why they follow muscle-building programs with maximal strength training programs.
For non-athletes, training for strength can be enjoyable because there are usually longer rest periods and the exercises are usually fairly simple and satisfying by nature. Women like strength training because it makes them very strong but it doesn’t make them bulky or puffy looking.
So how do we train for strength? Whereas last month our focus was on taking each set to the maximum amount of repetitions, this month you should focus on trying to lift as heavy a weight as possible without losing your proper form. This means that advanced trainees will perform sets of very low reps (4-5) and very high weights, and during week 2 and 3 they will shoot to complete 5 sets of these exercises. Less experienced athletes will perform sets of 6-8 reps and will shoot to complete 4 sets of everything on our high volume weeks. In order to facilitate maximal exertion, we will allow more rest between sets this month, and you will notice the use of balance exercises following intense lower body movements in order to allow your heart rate to come back down before moving on.
I have also introduced a suggested strength workout that you can perform on your own each week if you aren’t making it in for a second strength session with us. It is outlined below.
As always, please show up on time or early for week 2 and 3’s sessions because they are busy weeks, and you will be pushed very hard during those sessions.
Good luck and see you soon!