The Secrets to Building Strength & Size — Fast!
Have you ever noticed those people in the gym who seem to lift the same exact weights and look the same as they did years ago? Odds are they are wasting their time with the wrong exercises. They’re not challenging themselves enough with added reps/weight. Check out this article that divulges the keys to building strength and size, fast.
TRAINING THE WRONG WAY
In today’s fast-paced world, everyone has excuses on why they don’t have time to hit the gym and make progress. Moreover, those who do go to the gym end up wasting their minimal time doing the wrong training routine/exercises. The end result is wasted time, stagnation, and eventual lack of motivation to train at all.
You want to get the most out of your limited time in the gym. So to maximize your gains in both size and strength in the long run, there is one simple solution for you: Compound Movements.
TRAINING THE CORRECT WAY
A compound movement uses more than one joint to move a weight. The more of your body it uses,the better the results. By using more muscles, compound movements create a deeper response from the muscle. This helps activate more muscle tissue. Basically, your body has to work harder to do these movements. Example: The overhead barbell press activates more of the anterior deltoid than even front raises do.
Research has shown that compound movements significantly increase size, strength, and fat loss results. More so than less-demanding isolation exercises.1 This is especially true for squats, dead-lifts, and presses. This may be due to compound movements creating greater increases in both anabolic and fat-burning hormones like testosterone and growth hormone.2
Compound movements give you significant more“bang for your buck” than isolation movements. Plus they’re superior for building strength (more on this in a bit).
THE BEST COMPOUND EXERCISES
Each ‘section’ of your body has it’s own compound movement. Note how ‘section’ is between inverted commas. This is because we want you to shift your mindset from viewing the body as being compartmentalized. You should be training the body as a whole, with carry-over effects to more than just one specific area.
Here’s a list of the most effective compound movements to incorporate in your training routine and the primary muscles they work. Since these are compound movements, many secondary muscles are worked in these movements. (Example: bench presses also work the delts and triceps).
• LEGS: Squat, Dead-lift, Leg Press, Hack Squat, Box Jumps, Lunges, and Kettlebell Swings.
• CHEST:Bench Press, Dumbbell Chest Press, Dumbbell/Barbell Incline/Decline Press, Pushups.
• SHOULDERS: Military Press, Arnold Press, Shrugs, Handstand Push Ups.
• TOTAL BODY: Olympic Lifts. (Cleans and Snatches are technical lifts and shouldn’t be performed without proper coaching)
Now that you’ve got an understanding of what compound movements are, let’s apply them to your goals. Se below for a simple 3-day workout split that will help you start building strength using compound lifts.
3 DAY STRENGTH & SIZE BUILDING SPLIT
For a novice lifter, this is one of the most effective ways to setup a training routine. The bigger the movement and the heavier the weight– the greater the toll it’s going to take on your body. Remember, getting strong early on in your training career is what will ensure that you’re going to be able to keep packing on size in the long run.
Choose three days, with at least one rest day between (such as Monday – Wednesday – Friday).
• Session One: Dead-lift + One Chest Compound Movement and One Back Compound Movement. Complete 4 sets of each exercise for 3 to 6 reps (working up in weight so that your final set is 3 reps)
• Session Two: Squat + One Chest Compound Movement and One Back Compound Movement. Complete 5 sets of each exercise for 5 reps (with the same weight for each set)
• Session Three:Standing Military Press + One Back Compound Movement and One Legs Compound Movement. Complete 6 sets of each exercise for 3 reps(using the same weight for each set)
Rest Periods: 2-4 minutes rest between sets.
We’ve included squats, dead-lifts, and presses because they’re the foundation movements for total body strength. The rest of the exercises are up to you based on the availability of equipment and your training ability. The beauty of this routine is that it gives you a lot of flexibility once you’ve completed the basic exercises.
Remember to try and increase the weight each week (preferably by 5 to 10lbs). Also be sure to warm up, the sets designated in the routine do not include warm-up sets. Once you get a few months of solid training under your belt, feel free to increase to 4 days per week by repeating session two after session three.
If you’re starting out and want to get strong (and by “strong”, we mean STRONG), then compound lifts will teach you the right movement patterns. Plus it will give you the best possible platform to build your strength on. Remember to keep adding weight to the bar and allow for ample recovery time between workouts.
There isn’t a single more-effective way to increase your overall muscle size in the long-run than by using compound movements. Training routines formulated around compound movements are time-efficient. And don’t require much more equipment than a barbell(with free weights), squat rack, and bench. We’d be remiss not to mention that you should be eating a protein-rich diet with sufficient calories to support muscle growth.
When all’s said and done, building strength isn’t about using fancy, unconventional exercises; it’s about mastering the basics.