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This guide will start you off with the basic steps to building genuine athletic strength. Whereas the average gym goer today is focused on appearance, your goal is one of ability and so requires a tailored approach.
When it comes to strength training it's important to pay attention to your repetition range for exercises. The table below is a guide on the effect that your rep range has on the body.
|Reps range||Effect on body|
|0-3||Maximum and relative strength|
|3-5||Maximum strength & low end muscle growth|
|5-8||Best combination of max strength development and muscle growth.|
|6-10||Good strength training range but better muscle growth.|
|10-15||Excellent muscle growth, average strength development with fatigue.|
|15-20||Some muscle growth, focused endurance with significant fatigue.|
In the pursuit of strength, your mantra should be "Quality Over Quantity" and training focus should be on intensity and not volume. Pay attention to the rest time between sets, and wait long enough so that the body has recovered to give your next set it's all.
When training at such intensity it's critical to start slow and explore the movements you're using with excellent form. Raw strength is as much about joints and tendon strength as it is about the muscle so be patient and let your body acclimatise to the work, ensuring that you warm up and have adequate rest between workouts.
With regards to how you train - this is a personal choice and depends on specific strength goals. At Fitstream we have a love of calisthenics and believe that true strength is demonstrated with mastery of your own body. Exercises such as deep one-leg-squats, one handed pull-ups or push-ups and full bridges are incredible examples of human strength.
To achieve such feats requires a progressive calisthenics routine, learning basic movements (research the big six - push-up, squat, pull-up, leg raise, bridge, handstand push-up) and following the progression paths up to more difficult variations. Callisthenics works the body as an integrated unit and develops the tendons, joints and nervous system as well as the muscles.
Even though your goal is not oriented around aesthetics, your diet is still crucial to strength development. It will determine how quickly you recover from training, the quality of your results, and can also affect your hormones, energy levels and general mood.
To help your body adapt live cleanly, cutting out processed food and focusing on natural whole foods and water.
Motivation and effort are admirable, but take care not to overwork a body part, exercise, or routine, or your performance will suffer. If strength progress seems to stall, try adding more rest days, or drop back to an easier routine and you often find that you start to develop again. It's important to build up slowly and let the body adapt at it's own pace. Joints and tendons take longer to recover than muscle mass.
Patience is critical for strength development and often, athletes try to push themselves too far, too quickly. Always stay conscious of form, particularly with such high intensity training and avoid using momentum over strength.
Finally, make sure that you're getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night to allow your body to heal.
Progress tracking and body measurement is the foundation of the Fitstream service. We believe it's an essential part of physical development and helps build motivation.
This is particularly important when strength training as it can be hard to remember recent workouts, set volumes, number of reps, personal best etc. Use a notepad or fitness tracking app to track your workouts and body metrics in order to measure progress and plan future training sessions.
At the end of each training session simply add a log to your fitness journal, recording what you did and review it before your next workout so you know what to match or better. Taking weekly progress pics is another way of seeing how your actual physique is changing too.