Get Stronger: Strength Training Workouts, Exercises & Unique Methods to Maximize Raw Power!

Although strength training is often used to mean resistance or weight training, the true meaning is to focus on getting as strong as possible. In other words, its not really about the looks or the conditioning, its more about gaining strength and performing well on the major compound lifts.

There are several ways to get freaky strong, but the first step is to choose a training routine that you can follow. But first, here are the training principles when you're focusing on gaining strength:

1) Work Mostly with Compound Movements - Isolation exercises that target individual muscle groups take up unneeded space in a strength training routine. Focus on the exercises that will deliver the best bang on each set. The only exception to this rule is when you've plateaud due to a weak bodypart such as tricep, bicep or front deltoid, in which case some isolation work can be useful.

Aside from the Olympic Lifts, the top strength training exercises are Bench Press, Weighted Pullups, Military Press, Barbell Bent-Over Rows, Squats, Deadlifts & Romanian Deadlifts. After these compound exercises, some additional moves for assistance work are Barbell Curls, Close-Grip Bench Press and Seated Calf Raises.

2) Low Volume Per Workout - Since the weights you're working with are relatively heavy, and recovery needs to be fast so you can get back in the gym within 48-72 hours, the overall number of sets & reps per muscle group will be low compared to a bodybuilding routine.

3) Long Rest Between Sets - Each rep of each set needs to be as explosive as possible, so you need to make sure that rest times between sets are in the 3-5 minute range to allow you to have the energy & freshness you need to put in a maximum effort.

4) Avoid Training to Failure - Related to points 2 & 3 above, training to failure will typically prolong recovery time between sets and between workouts due to soreness, so its best to avoid training to failure as much as possible.

The above 4 principles are common amongst most strength training routines, with the exact details such as reps, sets, exercises and cycles being different.

The basic version of the 5x5 training system is the most suitable choice for beginner & intermediate strength trainees. It has all of the elements of a good strength training program along with an outstanding track record of success amongst recreational and Professional lifters. Its very flexible and easy to modify according to different goals, making it an ideal option even for Advanced trainees who can customize it to their needs.

We have an entire article dedicated to the 5x5 Workout Routine.

Here are some advanced methods for increasing strength:

Rest Pause Training

Once you've gone through a few cycles of the standard 5x5 program, an advanced tactic is to use Rest Pause Training to really shoot strength through the roof! It is a lot of hard work and takes mental toughness, but the results are well worth the hardship.

In a nutshell, you basically take super short 10-15 second rests between each Rep of an exercise. Thats right, breaks between each repetition, not each set. For example, on the bench press, you would choose a weight that you can only complete 2-3 reps for, then pump out a single Rep, rest for 10-15 seconds, pump out the next Rep, rest, and repeat this cycle until you've done five reps. These five reps would complete 1 set.

As you can see, doing five reps with the given weight is better than doing 2-3 reps. This type of training scheme will allow you to use much heavier loads than you would normally use with conventional rep ranges. It is a very effective method for breaking plateaus and to gain serious strength. Another major benefit is that with shorter rest periods, hypertrophy(muscle growth) is heavily stimulated.

The rest times between each rep can be manipulated to suit your individual needs, but in general, the most you want to rest is 45 seconds between each rep to make the most out of this training style. Any longer than 45 seconds, and you lose the benefits of pausing between each rep.

Keep in mind that Rest Pause training is for advanced lifters only who have experience working with heavier loads and demonstrate proper technique in the major compound exercises such as Squat, Bench, Deadlift, etc. For a given workout, choose 2-3 muscle groups to work on, performing no more than 2-3 Rest Pause sets per muscle group. Don't exceed more than 4 total workouts per week.

M.O.R.A.

In simple terms, think of using a mouthpiece to clinch your teeth and clamp down your jaw hard, allowing you to concentrate and release the energy needed to perform explosively. A fancy name for this mouthpiece is the Mandibular Orthopedic Repositioning Appliance, and according to some trainers, it can boost the strength potential of an average lifter by about 10-15%.

Homeostatic Stance

A chiropractor named Dr Sipple came up with this simple tweak to your regular stance to supposedly allow for a better transfer of energy throughout the whole body. In a squat or another standing exercise, one foot is slightly turned in or adducted and placed about 3"(inches) ahead of the other foot.

When using this stance, its best to try it out with moderate weights until you become comfortable with it. Some have claimed a 50% increase in strength and an even higher boost in endurance, although there isn't any hard scientific data to back these claims up.

Conclusion

If you're really serious about increasing your strength in a specific exercise or throughout the entire body, get started with a basic 5x5 routine and progress into a 3x3 workout, at which point you can switch to more of a rest pause training style to handle the maximum loads that you can.

Pay attention to your bones and joints, because they typically won't advance as fast as your muscles, so make sure that you progress slowly in order to have a much better long-term training effect. Keeping in mind the 4 core principles we mentioned at the top of this article, you should be able to make steady gains in strength with a reduced risk of injury and fewer plateaus.