How to get very strong in 30 minutes a week

Some bodybuilders lift weights for more than six hours a day, but you don’t have to waste that much time to get very strong. Weight lifting training is done in sets. A set of ten means you lift and lower a heavy weight ten times in a row before resting. If you repeat these sets of ten three times with a rest period between each set, you’ve done three sets of ten.

Choose 6 to 10 exercises with weight machines and do them in three sessions a week. For each exercise, try to lift the heaviest weight you can comfortably lift ten times in a row without hurting yourself. When an exercise becomes easy, increase the weight. Within five months, you should be able to significantly increase your strength and be proud of your biggest muscles.

Now you decide that you want to become even stronger. Would you increase your strength more by increasing the number of repetitions or by increasing the weight you lift? For example, should you try to do three sets of ten for each exercise or stay on one set of ten, just try to lift a heavier weight once a week? Dr. Michael Pollock of the University of Florida in Gainesville divided recreational weightlifters into two groups. In one group, they tried to do three sets of 10 three times a week. In the other group, they only did one set of 10 three times a week, but tried to lift progressively heavier weights. Those who did one set of 10 with heavier weights three times a week were stronger than those who did three sets of 10 without increasing the weight.

The only stimulus to enlarge and strengthen the muscles is to stretch them while they are contracting. When you try to lift a heavy weight, your muscles stretch before the weight begins to move. The greater the stretch, the greater the damage to the muscle fibers and when they heal after a few days, the greater the strength gain. The results of this study give a clear message. You get stronger by lifting heavier weights, not by exercising more. If you work too hard, you can’t lift very heavy weights and you don’t get stronger. When it comes to being very strong, less is more.

Most competitive bodybuilders spend hours trying to do multiple sets over and over again. You don’t need to do that. Several studies show that you can gain up to 80 percent of your maximum strength by choosing four to eight specific lifts, lifting a set of 10 of the heaviest weight on each, and repeating your program twice a week. The reduced workload causes fewer injuries and leaves you plenty of extra time to do other things.

Lowering a weight slowly, called a negative lift, is a greater stimulus to getting stronger than lifting it. You can lower weights much heavier than you can lift. As you lift a weight, you have to slow down because gravity works against you, so the weight feels heavier as you continue to lift it. On the other hand, when you lower a weight, you tend to move faster since gravity works with you and the weight feels lighter.

This negative lifting workout should only be done by experienced lifters no more than once a week. Pick 10-15 lifts that you do regularly. Start by lifting the heaviest weight you can lift ten times in a row. You will have a hard time getting past the last three or four elevators. Then add five to 15 pounds, which may be too heavy for you to lift. Two spotters must lift the weight for you and you try to lower it six times. It will hurt a lot and you will want to stop. Add another ten pounds and try to lower the weight three times. Then lift your arms off the ground, return them to your shoulders, and take at least two days off.

Lifting weights enlarges your muscles and makes you stronger, but it doesn’t make you fit. Fitness refers to your heart and is obtained by exercising in an activity in which you are constantly moving, such as running, bicycling, skating, dancing, walking, or swimming. A complete exercise program should include weight lifting two to three times a week and continuous sports practice three times a week. Rotating your activities gives your muscles a chance to recover and helps prevent injury.

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March 14, 2023