Strength Programs That Will Get You Strong As F*@k!
If you’re interested in getting seriously jacked this winter, forget about the quick fix workouts in Men’s Health or P90X. You want to try a program developed over decades by serious Olympic and powerlifters. These are the guys who have trained hundreds of athletes to get superhuman strong and put on mass over the years…guys who pretty much wrote the books on cutting edge strength training. Keep in mind, these programs do more than build beach muscles. They actually make you strong as f*ck and able to lift heavyass crap. You’ll put muscles on your muscles and end up looking awesome. It might even turn you into a sexual tyrannosaurus.
Fair warning: None of these programs are easy. You have to put in the time and struggle under the bar. There will be sets where you absolutely don’t want to get under the bar again because it’s kicking your ass. It helps to bring a friend. But, suck it up Nancy Boy. Deadlifting 400 pounds and squatting 350 doesn’t happen overnight.
Developed by elite powerlifter Jim Wendler, this program gets back to the basics of strength building by focusing on four primary barbell lifts: squat, bench, deadlift and military press. You workout either three or four times per week and your percentages and rep scheme changes depending on the week. Each week is based on a 5, 3, or 1 rep max. There’s a deload week that allows for recuperation, and then a max week where you go for new personal records. You can accessorize with extra lifts to get even beefier.
Once you get into it, it’s simple to follow. I personally do Wendler at my gym on the three day-per-week program and I can attest that my maxes have increased dramatically in the last 12 months. Wendler gets you bigger and stronger.
Mark Rippetoe, a competitive powerlifter in the 80’s and Olympic weightlifting coach, developed a program specifically for novices looking to get big called Starting Strength. Similar to Wendler 5/3/1, Rip’s program focuses on barbell work and a couple of primary lifts. It’s dead simple to implement, with an example workout having three lifts (squat, press, and deadlift) with a 3×5, 3×5, 1×5 sets/reps scheme. However, weight gets stacked on in a linear progression and when you’re deep into a cycle, it’s heavy as balls and absolutely brutal. I’ve had several friends do Starting Strength and they report terrific gains. Don’t get thrown by the simplicity. Starting Strength is highly effective and tough as nails.
The creme de la creme of strength training, Louie Simmons developed his program from years of competitive power lifting and researching old school Soviet training programs. The guy started powerlifting in the 60’s and he culled together techniques and tips from some of the very best in the world. He came up with Westside Conjugate System.
Westside Conjugate rotates through heavy, light, and max effort days each week, with three week macrocycles. The conjugate term refers to unidirectional loading of a muscle group, thus if you’re squatting you might do regular squats, box squats, rack squats, good mornings, and other related exercises, to hit all angles. Oh yeah, they use a lot of bands and chains attached to the barbell to make things really gnarly. Westside Conjugate can be a little intimidating for the novice, but it all adds up one thing: HUGENESS.
If you’re looking for real strength gains and serious muscle over the winter, check out one of the strength programs above.
About Lance Lance is a tech geek by day, social artist and fitness enthusiast by night. He specializes in relationships in real life situations, such as workplace and in business, and his goal is to create high value social circles filled with opportunity. For more on his dating and relationship perspective, check out his blog honeyandlance.com