How To Improve Muscle Strength

Updated: Nov 15, 2019

Is your number one goal to improve your athletic performance or to improve your max lifting capabilities?

Last week we discussed how to improve muscle size (hypertrophy). Improving muscle size is the first step in improving strength but at the conclusion of that cycle of training focus should gear more towards optimizing the newly sized muscle fibers. This is where strength training occurs. Many people can get stuck in current training programs, seeing little to no improvements in their strength. This is because the training program is either not specific enough to your body, the frequency/intensity/duration are not at optimal levels, or the diet is lacking (to be discussed in future posts). What does a strength training program entail? As with training to improve the size of your muscles, training for muscle strength depends on the level of expertise you have working out. Here is information regarding the evidence-based strength training program according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association:

• Beginner o 1-3 sets of less than or equal to 6 reps o Greater than or equal to 70% of your 1RM o 2-5 minute rest • Intermediate o 3 or more sets of less than or equal to 6 reps o Greater than or equal to 80% of your 1RM o 2-5 minute rest • Advanced o 3 or more sets of less than or equal to 6 reps o Greater than or equal to 85% of your 1RM o 2-5 minute rest All strength training should be done in cycles of 2-4 weeks in duration to avoid plateaus. During this phase your training should include: • Cluster sets • Accommodating resistance • Partial range of motion • Isometric

What does this mean to you? ​ With strength being a vital component to almost all athletic competitions and throughout daily life, it becomes a necessary training goal many individuals. If you find yourself still not improving after making modifications to your frequency/intensity/duration please contact Dr Ben Bagge (Doctor of Physical Therapy, USA Weightlifting Coach, & CSCS) for a biomechanical assessment and individualized training program to help identify your weaknesses and turn them into strengths!

About the Author:

Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance specializes in helping active individuals in Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and San Francisco get back to exercising and working out pain free without having to take time off or relying on injections/pain medication. Pro+Kinetix offers rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.

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