So, you’re serious about improving your performance – you want to be faster, stronger and more powerful.
You have researched and bought the best gear and equipment. Your running shoes are ultra light. Your bike is made with the same carbon fiber as a fight jet. You track your training, calories, power, and heart rates zones with your Garmin computer. And, you follow a periodization training program that has build and rest weeks.
How do you know if all the training you’re doing and money you’re spending is worth it? Most people would say performance:
Are you running faster than you did six months ago?
Are you lifting heavier weight than you were lifting six months ago?
Are you performing better now than you were six months ago?
If not, what went wrong? Was it the gear? Was it the training plan? Was it your strength training? Strength training? How, you did strength training 2-3 times a week. It can’t be the strength training, right? Keep reading to find out if it can be the strength training.
When you first began your training you likely spent time building your base. You spent time getting your body ready for your sport. After a few weeks of base-building, your body was ready to use the base, and you added volume to your training. As your event neared, you increased the intensity of your training, and focused your training on sport specific activities.
The point I am training to make is that you had a specific plan to help get your body ready for your sport or event. You did not start your training with race pace training and you did not do the same type of training during your entire training season. You had changes in volume and intensity.
But what about your strength training?
Strength training is just a piece of your over all training plan. Did you plan your strength training as well as the training activities in your overall training plan? Did you change the amount of weight your were lifting, the repetitions, or the sets you were doing, based on where you were in your training season?
Or, did you simply do strength training sessions with no thought given to how much weight you should be lifting, how many repetitions you should be doing, or how many sets you should be doing?
If you are guiltily of performing random strength sessions with no regard to weight, reps, or sets, you’re in luck – science will show you how you should effectively increase your strength and power.
If you follow these science based strength training protocols you will likely see increases in your strength and power.
Strength training can be broken down into four phases: Muscular Enhancement, Foundation Strength, Progressive Strength, and Power.
Muscular Enhancement is done early in a training protocol or early in a training season. In this phase, you are getting your muscles ready develop strength. Strength sessions consist of 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps per set, done with 65-75% intensity, followed by 30-60 seconds rest after each set. Another option is a full weight circuit with minimal rest. After 3-6 weeks of Muscular Enhancement, you will move onto Foundation Strength.
Foundation Strength consists of 3-5 sets of 8-10 reps per set, done at 75-85% intensity, followed by 60-90 seconds rest after each set. Train right – do the Muscular Enhancement phase first. Jumping right into a Foundation Strength session without completing the Muscular Enhancement phase increases the risk of injury. After 3-6 weeks of Foundation Strength you can move onto Progressive Strength.
Progressive Strength consists of 2-4 sets of 6-8 reps per set, done at 85-95% intensity, followed by 90-120 seconds rest after each set. Again, make sure you do the Muscular Enhancement and the Foundation Strength first. After 3-6 weeks of Progressive Strength you can move onto the final phase, which is POWER!
Power Strength consists of 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps per set, done at 50-60% intensity, moving at maximum speed, followed by full recovery (2-5 minutes) between sets.
In order to build strength you must do strength session 2-6 times week. However, once you have progressed through these strength phases, you will only have to do one strength session a week in order to maintain the strength that you have gained.
Most people understand the importance of strength training. After reading this article, I hope you see the importance of following a strength training plan instead of doing random strength sessions with no regard for intensity, repetitions or sets.
Add these strength sessions into your training plan and then post your results in the comment section below. I would love to hear how these changes affect your performance.