Strength Training 101: Work Smarter and Harder

Cliff Notes:

1) Avoid plateaus by changing weight and rep schemes every 3-6 weeks.

2) 3 sets of 10 reps is an industry standard. Adjust weights and reps to continue progression. 

3) Manipulate the distance and intensity of your locomotion movements.

4) Add variation to exercises, like different hanging or deadlift positions, to challenge your body.

When was the last time you took gym class? 10, 20, 30 years ago? So, when was the last time you got a some background information on how to make your training more effective? The main stream media (thanks, Trump) spews out a bunch of “beneficial” exercises without telling you what to look for, and then, how to progress. 

Our mission as professionals is to continually educate fitness enthusiasts to help them reach their goals. If you’ve been hitting plateaus doing 3 sets of 10, here are a few simple ways to add some variability to spur more progress.

1… Manipulate Weight and Reps

There is NOTHING WRONG with 3 sets of 10. In the beginning it’s a great number to shoot for. Once you’re proficient in a movement, the weight and reps should change. Drop down to 8, 6 or 5 reps and increase the weight. Maxing out, meaning performing to exhaustion, isn’t sustainable for most people. Form first!

2… Change Distance and Time

STIM Goblet Carry 5x4_Fotor.jpg

For carry and locomotion movements (crawling, running, hanging) apply similar principles as number 1. People fall into ruts where they carry the same weight for the same distance all the time. Suggestion: Carry the same weight longer, or increase the weight and carry the same distance, or decrease the distance and increase the weight. Same thing goes for running and crawling. If you always run or crawl the same distance at the same pace, the plateau is imminent. Play with distances and intensity to challenge the body.

3… Modify the Exercise or Implement

Sometimes, a little tweak to the exercise itself is what you need. Explore different hanging variations, deadlifting from different heights, adding pauses to your squat or press, or using a sandbag or trap bar instead of a kettlebell or barbell. There are 6 movement patterns we promote; push, pull, hinge, squat, carry and everything else. Constantly finding little variations with a help of a coach is another easy way to ensure progression. 

This is strength training 101. These 3 tips give you ways to play and add variety, safely. However, one thing to keep in mind. Try to stick to one adjustment a few weeks at a time. The concept of “muscle confusion” is effective, but if you’re CONSTANTLY varying your weights, you never reach true adaptation. Stick to one modification for 3-6 weeks. Then switch it up.

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