How to progress in strength training?


Progressing in strength training involves several key strategies:

  1. Exercise Selection: Select exercises that provide a full range of motion and do not compromise your back position. It's crucial to choose movements that maintain good body alignment and are safe while still challenging enough to stimulate strength gains. Opt for machines if stability is a concern, particularly for beginners 1.

  2. Volume and Intensity Adjustment: Vary the volume (number of sets and repetitions) and intensity (weight lifted) of your workouts. Incrementally increasing these parameters can help advance your strength training. Consider using strategies like three sets of five to five repetitions, three to five times per week, which has been shown effective for strength gains 2.

  3. Progressive Overload: This fundamental principle involves gradually increasing the stress placed on the muscle. This can be achieved by increasing the weight, the number of repetitions, or frequency of workouts. Properly paced overload is key to avoiding plateaus and injuries while fostering sustained improvement 3.

    Exercise Selection

    Andy emphasizes the importance of exercise selection to prevent injury and enhance strength development. He suggests choosing exercises with a full range of motion that don't compromise back position. He also recommends balancing between movement areas and selecting exercises that make you feel stable and safe.

    Huberman Lab

    Dr. Andy Galpin: How to Build Strength, Muscle Size & Endurance | Huberman Lab Podcast #65
  4. Deloading: Intersperse periods of reduced intensity or volume ("deloading") every few weeks. This helps to prevent overtraining and injuries, allowing the body to recover and prepare for the next training phase 2.

  5. Manipulate Other Variables: Besides increasing weights or repetition numbers, consider varying the rest intervals, the complexity of the movements, or the tempo of the repetitions. These adjustments can bring new challenges and stimulate further progress 4.

  6. Detailed Programming: For detailed strength gains, alternate the focus on different muscle groups throughout the week to ensure each group is adequately trained without being overworked. Adjust the total weekly volume according to performance and recovery needs 2.

By applying these methods and regularly updating your training protocol, you can continue to make gains and avoid plateauing in strength development.