Want To Be The Best? Then Increase Your Physical Strength!
As human beings we all want to get better at everything. You probably want more money, more success, etc. What if I told you that it all starts in the physical world first. That’s right! Physical strength lays the foundation for all of your future success. What is physical strength?
Physical strength may be the most important thing you ever train for. Physical strength is the ability to exert maximal force and move external objects of ANY kind. In the metaphorical sense, physical strength is the ability to clear any and all obstacles out of your way and achieve your goals.
Both the mental and the physical are closely related to each other. Increasing one usually results with increasing the other. Hence the mind muscle connection.
However, for most people increasing physical strength is far easier than increasing mental strength.
Anatomy Of Physical Strength
When you attempt to move physical objects your muscles are contracting to move these objects. Your muscles are made of little protein components called actin and myosin. When these two proteins connect with each other, a contraction occurs.
A contraction is another way of saying that the protein components slide over each other. When this happens the muscle actually shortens. You have just created movement!
Pretty simple stuff, right?
Well, not so fast. It get a little more complicated.
You see, all of our muscles contract. It’s part of being human. The difference between the strongest and the weakest is the speed your muscles contract.
Type 1 Fibers
The slower fibers are often called type 1 fibers (slow twitch). Your slow twitch fibers are mainly postural fibers. These muscles help to support your body’s bones and joints when you are standing at rest.
Slow twitch muscle fibers are mainly aerobic. This means they run primarily off of oxygen. Aerobic muscles are designed to run for long periods of time (hence aerobic exercise).
But there is a cost for this. Your slow twitch muscles cannot produce much force and are slower to contract.
The reason for this is energy efficiency. The faster your muscles contract, the more energy they will consume.
Which brings me to my next point.
Type 2 Fibers
Unlike type 1 fibers, type 2 fibers are called fast twitch fibers.
Your fast twitch fibers are the source of your physical strength. If you do not take the time to develop them, then you will never be as strong as you possibly can.
Your type 2 fibers are anaerobic. This means they don’t use any oxygen. As a result, they do not last as long as type 1 fibers.
Think about it, when you perform a set of heavy bicep curls, how long do you usually last before fatigue sets in?
If you are well conditioned, then it is probably somewhere between 45 – 60 seconds.
For your long term survival this makes sense as these muscles consume most of your body’s energy.
But screw economy dammit! We want physical strength and we want it NOW!
Whoa! Hold your horses killa! You have to respect the rules of your body, otherwise your body will start fighting back against you.
How To Calculate Your Physical Strength
First before you can make any progress, you have to know where you currently are. If you don’t know where you are you will not be able to figure out where you need to go.
It is essential that you master these lifts and practice them as much as possible. Check out the links to each of the articles in the last paragraph to learn more about these exercises.
Estimating Your Lifts
Once you feel proficient with the lifts, go into the gym and warm yourself up. After your warm up, perform 1 set of each of the following exercises with a moderately heavy weight for as many repetitions as possible.
Record the amount of weight you lift and the number of reps for EACH exercise.
Once you have the numbers recorded down whip out a pen, paper and a calculator. We have some math to do!
Here’s the formula to calculate (estimate) your one rep max:
Weight X Reps X 0.0333 + Weight = Estimated One Rep Max
Let’s do an example.
Say I can squat 275 lbs for 12 repetitions. Here’s how the math would look:
275 lbs X 12 reps X 0.0333 +275 lbs = ~385 lbs
The “~” symbol means about.
Always perform the multiplication FIRST. Use parenthesis to remind you if necessary.
(275 lbs X 12 reps X 0.0333) +275 lbs = ~385 lbs
Repeat this calculation for all of the other lifts and then you will have your estimated 1 rep maxes.
**Note** This calculation works for ANY exercise, not just the ones I mentioned earlier. So feel free to use them at will on any other exercises. But be forewarned, you results will skyrocket if you do this. You have been warned!
Boost Your Physical Strength
Once you have your one rep maxes figured out, you need to design a program to increase the strength of your lifts.
Here’s how you do it!
Find Your Working Weight
Take your new estimated 1 rep max and multiply it by 0.7 (70%), see what you get.
385 X 0.7 = ~270 lbs
Whatever number you get, this will be your new 10 rep max. This means with a 10 rep max of 270 lbs I can do only one set of 10 reps with 270 lbs. So we need to reduce further.
Take your 10 rep max and multiply it by 0.9 (90%). This will give you a good working weight.
270 lbs X 0.9 = ~245 lbs
This will be your new working weight. Take this number and perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Build A Program
With your working weight you will perform at least one session per week doing 3 sets of 10 reps.
During your next training session, add 5-10 lbs to the bar and perform 4 sets of 8 repetitions.
For the following training session, add 5-10 lbs to the bar and perform 5 sets of 6 repetitions.
Can you see how simple this is?
Once you do the math, the programming becomes a piece of cake. This is much more efficient than guessing and checking.
By following the advice given in this article you will pack on some serious physical strength. In fact you will build enough physical strength to last you a lifetime.
Just be sure to repeat the programming cycle described in the last section by starting over with 3 sets of 10 reps. Of course you will have 5-10 lbs more weight on the bar than you originally started with.
The best part about all of this is you can keep this strategy going for years. You don’t need to go to a fancy gym or buy any fancy gym equipment.
Increasing your physical strength is as simple lifting a heavier weight than you did yesterday.
Now it’s time to stop reading and take action. Get out there and start lifting!