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Sets and reps for strength

Posted by: Shawn

Sports science has conclusively proven that to train specifically to improve strength you need to train heavy for a short period. There are a few disadvantages of only training for strength, it is not the most effective way to increase muscle size.

Power-lifters whose only concern is to increase strength, train using their 1RM (one rep maximum) as they work out how many reps they do in each set depending on their 1RM. A power-lifter would train using 5 or 6 reps in a set all the way down to 1 rep for each set.

Reg Park who was the motivation for Arnold to start competing used the 5 X 5 routine to increase strength. This can be a high intensity, high impact workout where you train with a weight that is close to 80% of your 1RM and squeeze out 5 reps with a short rest between sets.

This is a high intensity type of training which certainly needs you to take extra care to give yourself the rest and recuperation needed to repair from the workout. Generally training with a rep range of 1 to 8 reps per set will increase the strength you have.

One should avoid training to the point of complete failure for a number of reasons but the most important is that it can cause injury. Lifting a weight that is too heavy causes you to lose form which often causes injuries. The ideal way to train for strength is to aim for one rep short of failure.

When you train using a heavy weight with low reps of 1 through 8 it will only take you around 15 seconds to finish the set. However when training with a rep range of 8 o 15 it will take you between 30 to 45 seconds to complete the set. This type of training will recruit more muscle fibers and enhance muscle growth rather than strength.

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