In my last post, I talked about how being strong and capable was a priority for me. Training for strength is fun and I enjoy it. Everyone should do it. If you are not sure how to strength train, you should find someone who could teach you.
Strength training does not have to be about pushing for your one rep max every day. If you are constantly pushing hard, and to failure, you WILL break pretty soon. Your form will get bad in a heavy lift, your body will change its shape to get the lift done, and then that compensation leads to injury. Your nervous system will also get fried and recovery won’t be very good.
Here are a couple thoughts and ideas on how to train for strength that will keep you progressing and out of injury.
1.) Leave some Reps in the Bank
If you are doing a set of an exercise, and the speed of your rep slows down considerably, stop your set there. Yea, you might have been able to get 2-3 more reps, but at what cost? Set the weight down and leave some for the next set, session, or even the next week.
2.) Leave your last set open ended
Say you are doing 5 sets of 5 reps with an exercise. Your last set of 5 can be labeled as 5+, which means 5 or more reps (Be sure to pay attention to #1 on this list).
An example: Squat
- Set 1 x 5 reps
- Set 2 x 5 reps
- Set 3 x 5 reps
- Set 4 x 5 reps
- Set 5 x ‘5+’ reps (you get past 5 reps and end with 8 reps) = 8 reps
It is a good way to push yourself a little bit without over doing it. Look to improve on that rep count the following week.
3.) Use a rep range
Give yourself a range of 3-5, 5-7, 6-10, 8-12, etc. so that you aren’t dead set on doing ten reps when your form goes to crap on rep number six.
4.) Work up to a top set of 3-5 or 5-7
This is a great way to continue to work on your strength without overdoing it like you might on a one rep max attempt. After each set of your exercise, add weight, and do another until you have worked up to a top set of your given range. This can be done a couple different ways, but below is an example of how I have chosen to do it.
Exercise: Barbell Floor Press (Horizontal Push) x 3-5 Rep Max
- 45 lb x 20
- 135 lb x 10
- 155 lb x 6
- 175 lb x 5
- 185 lb x 4
- 200 lb x 3
- 215 lb x 3
- 220lb x 3 (+15 lbs from the previous week)
I enjoy this way of doing it because it keeps me progressing and out of harms way.
Consistent progress is what this journey is about.
So there you have it. Four different ideas you can start to incorporate into your strength training routines.
Let me know how it goes!
Be Confident. Be Strong.
*Always get clearance from your Doctor before starting a program. Exercise at your own risk.