T Nation

Quickest Way to Gain Strength?


In terms of lifting I am not a novice, but for maximizing strength gains I am.
Stats are as follows:
Bench - 265lb
Deadlift - 325lbs (5 reps)
OHP - 193lb
Squat - 242lbs (5 reps)
Weight - 180lbs
Bent over row - 254lb (5 reps)

I sadly have only trained legs for the last year when I struggled to squat 132lbs for reps… so this past year has been spent developing hypertrophy of the legs and they are finally more in proportion. This next 3/4 months I want to maximize my strength gains for all lifts, but especially legs. I am tired of feeling weak. Have a small injury so have a week or two to develop my full training program.

Currently on Stronglifts 5x5 but I feel it’s not quite effective enough for someone who isn’t completely new to the gym though that may be because I haven’t given it enough time.

What would the T Nation community recommend as being the most effective method for me personally. Bearing in mind I have no interest in gaining a lot of muscle mass apart from what comes naturally with increases in strength.

Thank you

to be honest, and these are no digs, just the truth:

  1. with what you weigh/the amount of muscle mass you have, you are weak enough that pretty much any powerlifting program should work for you. You look like you lift, so I’m assuming technique is good on everything… in which case literally all you need to do is pick a program and work hard at it.

Any 5 x 5, 5/3/1, cube method, west side for skinny bastards are all well known ones, but literally anything will probably work

  1. 3/4 months is pretty short if you really want to get stronger. Strength takes time. A lot of time. You probably could make some nice gainz in 3-4 months, but the thing is trying to make quick gains is a recipe for 1) injury and 2) losing those gains just as quickly. From what you said… that you don;t want to gain muscle mass… I’m a little confused. Why only 3/4 months then?

Is is because you want to focus on strength for 3/4 months and then switch back to a hypertrophy based program? or do you mean you want to try and make FAST gains for your first 3/4 months, and then change to a more moderate approach?

Either way, my advice is probably the same: Pick a well thought out program that is sustainable, and forget about the quickest way to gain strength in 3-4 months. Instead, get yourself started on a solid training regimen and work your ass off in a way that you can sustain. A year or two down the road, I bet you will be a lot bigger, stronger, technically more sound, and less injured for it.

NK is right. Strength takes time. The best bang for your buck in a short period would be WS4SB. By far the most effective for strength gains in a short period of time.

If my goal was to get as strong as possible in 3/4 months, I would definitely be interested in putting on mass, because that’s going to be pretty essential to the process. You can eat your way to a bigger bench press, and being bigger will help with leverages in most cases.

[quote]ljbuilder wrote:
Quickest Way to Gain Strength?
[/quote]
steroids

In terms of strength gains, NOTHING has compared to squatting to max every day for me. It simply works.
A few prerequisites for this are:

  1. Squat ATG olympic style with good technique & flexibility.
  2. Have been squatting 3 times a week for a month or two.

Make sure to do back off sets as well, don’t just work up to max & go home. I typically did either a rep record back off set (ie attempt a pr 5rm or 10rm) or several sets of triples with a 5-6 rep max.
The squat gains carried over to every lower body lift.

Actually very helpful guys.To clarify a couple of points that it appears I didn’t make clear in my original post.
I am spending the whole year focusing on strength. I say specifically 3/4 months because this is when I will start a long cut for summer before the slow bulk over winter. Some people have their views on this, but it’s what I want to do.

When referring to not being bothered about putting on muscle mass, what I am specifically referring to is hypertrophy training. That and that eating 4K calories a day and more than enough protein I have only managed to add just under 2kg in about 4 months.

I am happy the size I am and wouldn’t mind adding a few kg of muscle, I just don’t want to be a 95kg monster (therefore ultimately limited in strength).

From what you lot have said and from what I’d read/spoken about, it seems that 5 reps may actually be too high if strength is purely the goal. Is 1-3 a better rep range?

Talking to my friend at the gym who squats about double me, he’s told me that pause reps at the bottom and powering up is a good way to develop the explosive strength needed. Do you guys agree?

Other than that, cheers again.

[quote]ljbuilder wrote:
I just don’t want to be a 95kg monster (therefore ultimately limited in strength).
[/quote]

Some variation of high frequency strength training aka (Pseudo) Bulgarian approach. Forget sets of 5 if you want strength quickly.

[quote]B A S T A R D wrote:
In terms of strength gains, NOTHING has compared to squatting to max every day for me. It simply works.
A few prerequisites for this are:

  1. Squat ATG olympic style with good technique & flexibility.
  2. Have been squatting 3 times a week for a month or two.

Make sure to do back off sets as well, don’t just work up to max & go home. I typically did either a rep record back off set (ie attempt a pr 5rm or 10rm) or several sets of triples with a 5-6 rep max.
The squat gains carried over to every lower body lift.
[/quote]

This. I started squatting 4 times a week, Mon-Tues and Thurs-Friday, and the results are great. I feel bigger, faster, stronger, more stable, my mood even improved (and it’s pretty good much of the time). I crave working out even more, seem to recover faster and can eat eat eat. Now I’d love to be a 95kg monster…

Week 1 - work 5’s starting at 50%
Week 2 - work 3’s starting at 50%
Week 3 - work 2’s starting at 50%
Week 4 - work up to 3x8 at 50%
Week 5 - same as week 1
Week 6 - same as week 2
Week 7 - work singles starting at 80% (50%x5 60%x3 70%x2 then 80%x1 and keep going up)
Week 8 - same as week 4

Work up until you miss the required reps or stop when you know the next jump won’t allow the required reps.

Depending on your ability, you should make 10 or 20lb jumps, but whichever you decide for a single training session, keep the jumps the same. Don’t have one set jumping 20 and the next jumping 10.

I generally use 45/25/10 lb plates to accomplish this - it keeps it very simple for me.

Week 7 you have an option. Keep doing singles making the normal jumps or make the bigger jumps and try for a new PR w/o all the extra volume. It’s simple and very effective. Don’t need to compute percentages. Move some weight. My bench at 2 yrs of training was at 310 and training this way I am at 360 at the 3 year mark - 50lbs in 1 year.

You get all the volume you want, you get the heavy training you want and it’s all auto regulating dependent upon how you feel that day. You don’t have to worry about hitting a certain number. Just get in the required reps.

Let’s say you’re doing 5’s and you can’t get 275x5 so you stop at 245x5. The next time you’ll be doing 3’s so you’ll be able to get to the 275lb weight then.

In all honestly, most programs w/ a variation in intensity from week to week will work. I like this because I don’t have to sit down and calculate a bunch of percentages and have to hit a pre-determined plan. This is the best auto regulating program out there and will add a lot of weight to your lifts and by far the most simple to apply.

Focus on the main lifts and very little on the assistance stuff. If you have a year - this is the way to go.

From the advice given this is what I’ve got as a plan. No reps to aim for, just lifting heavy. Pause sets will be used on warm up and warm down.

The Program
Key
Big Lift = 20 Minutes . Work up to near Max and back down (Pyramid Style)
Acessory = 10 Minutes. 10 to 12 Reps. Alternate exercise each week.

Day 1 - 1hr40
Squat
Calves
Bench Press
Tricep Extensions/Flyes/Incline Bench Press
Pull Ups
Core

Day 2 - 1hr20
Deadlift
Straight Leg Deadlift/Bicep Curl/Hamstring Curl/Chin-Ups
Military Press
Face Pull/Rear Flyes
BB Row

Day 3
Rest

Day 4 - 1hr40
Squat
Leg Press/Leg Extensions/Pistol Squats
Bench Press
Incline Bench Press/Tricep Extensions/Flyes
BB Row
Core

Day 5 - 1hr20
Deadlift
Calves
Military Press
Face Pull/Rear Flyes
Pull Ups

Day 6 & 7
Rest

I have been laughing at “95kg monster” for about 5 minutes straight! I suppose that’s decent if you’re lean, but c’mon!

[quote]ljbuilder wrote:
From the advice given this is what I’ve got as a plan. No reps to aim for, just lifting heavy. Pause sets will be used on warm up and warm down.

The Program
Key
Big Lift = 20 Minutes . Work up to near Max and back down (Pyramid Style)
Acessory = 10 Minutes. 10 to 12 Reps. Alternate exercise each week.

Day 1 - 1hr40
Squat
Calves
Bench Press
Tricep Extensions/Flyes/Incline Bench Press
Pull Ups
Core

Day 2 - 1hr20
Deadlift
Straight Leg Deadlift/Bicep Curl/Hamstring Curl/Chin-Ups
Military Press
Face Pull/Rear Flyes
BB Row

Day 3
Rest

Day 4 - 1hr40
Squat
Leg Press/Leg Extensions/Pistol Squats
Bench Press
Incline Bench Press/Tricep Extensions/Flyes
BB Row
Core

Day 5 - 1hr20
Deadlift
Calves
Military Press
Face Pull/Rear Flyes
Pull Ups

Day 6 & 7
Rest[/quote]

Strong misunderstanding right here.

Way too much stuff. Doomed to fail at near max weights. Choose a template we recommended. Your template is not a reflection of those recommendations.

[quote]halcj wrote:
I have been laughing at “95kg monster” for about 5 minutes straight! I suppose that’s decent if you’re lean, but c’mon![/quote]

Idk what is funnier: 95 kg is a monster, that he thinks a year worth of strength training will put an extra 30 lbs of muscle on him, or that he said 95 kg “monsters” are ultimately limited in strength.

[quote]GrizzlyBerg wrote:

[quote]halcj wrote:
I have been laughing at “95kg monster” for about 5 minutes straight! I suppose that’s decent if you’re lean, but c’mon![/quote]

Idk what is funnier: 95 kg is a monster, that he thinks a year worth of strength training will put an extra 30 lbs of muscle on him, or that he said 95 kg “monsters” are ultimately limited in strength.[/quote]

Yeah I’m really confused by this statement

[quote]Reed wrote:

[quote]GrizzlyBerg wrote:

[quote]halcj wrote:
I have been laughing at “95kg monster” for about 5 minutes straight! I suppose that’s decent if you’re lean, but c’mon![/quote]

Idk what is funnier: 95 kg is a monster, that he thinks a year worth of strength training will put an extra 30 lbs of muscle on him, or that he said 95 kg “monsters” are ultimately limited in strength.[/quote]

Yeah I’m really confused by this statement[/quote]

Reading it again, I think he meant that as he doesn’t want to be 95kg his lack of weight will limit his strength. Which is true, though not especially relevant at the moment.

OP to be honest I think that what you’ve laid out could work, but I wouldn’t particularly recommend it - especially all of the accessory volume. Up to you though, as stated you can gain strength with virtually any programming, it is just down to effort, technique and progression.

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]ljbuilder wrote:
Quickest Way to Gain Strength?
[/quote]
steroids[/quote]
bad influence
i am also voting for WS4SB (west side for skinny bastards) simple but very effective

Verification of my program