T Nation

Common Elements of Every Modern Strength Training Program


Pretty much all modern strength training programs boil down to:

Train at 85-90% of your max, i.e. just into the stereotypical strength range, with rather more volume than is traditional. Apply a progressive overload to achieve progression, and some kind of peaking/deloading cycle to manage recovery.

Add higher volume assistance work and conditioning as you need’em.

So why isn’t literally everyone strong as hell and jacked?


Because the training routine is only 1 piece of the puzzle.


Injuries, life, and the fact that it’s not possible to continue progressing forever. I wish I could add 5 lbs to my squat workout every week forever.

Another reason is that strength is a skill and requires neural efficiency. I bounce back and forth between strength and hypertrophy phases. I lose some of my efficiency when I stop training the big three with heavy weights.

And lastly, I think what most of us consider jacked is a bit skewed by pharmaceuticals. I don’t have a problem with people who use, but the fitness industry has tricked us into thinking that those jacked models are natural and just train harder than us. The reality is that they’re on just a little bit of gear…about a half cup.


Dudes don’t understand building strength, or peaking? Ripplestilstkin has beguiled them.

So they do 3 sets of 5 with 85-90% and try to “overload.” Neither building strength, nor peaking!



Yeah, when you broad brush it, it seems really simple. Start adding constraints as JMaier31 pointed out and it ain’t so simple.


Lack of consistency + not everyone who gets strong ends up looking ‘jacked’, though it does usually help.


Wanted to add to everyone else that most people tend to get program ADD and move from basic programs that get you strong and jacked, get injured or regress and realize they need to simplify things again. Then the cycle repeats. It happens all the time. Most the people who follow something similar to what you said on top of eating enough and training their mind as wel, tend to be jacked.


People train inconsistently and eat like shit


This is my training career in a nutshell. Sadly, this repeats itself every 2-3 months…


they do?

because they don’t eat right or they don’t do it long enough or they don’t do it at all. lol. those are just a few of a zillion reasons. Honestly, you’re asking a stupid as fuck question.


The question isn’t really the point. I just think it’s interesting that seems to be a local maximum




That Rippetoe charm!


I guess it depends on what you consider strong as hell and jacked?