Principles of Increasing your Power for Strength & Muscularity

Strength and Power

Browse and Implement these High-Voltage Tactics to Amp Up Your Gains

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The bodybuilder and weightlifter are constantly searching for new ways to increase the poundage they can lift. By increasing your power you increase your massiveness, which differentiates the look of a guy who is merely "fit" from one who looks like a bodybuilder. What is this elusive quantity called power? Is it strength alone? Not quite.

Proof of power is found in the ability to stand firm under a heavy weight, support a heavy weight, and most important, move a heavy weight quickly. In each of these instances complete control of the weight at all times is essential.


You must constantly strive to use increasingly heavier poundages.

When undergoing a power-building program, you have no other recourse than to think in terms of increasing the total weight you lift. Even if the increase is a quarter of a pound, you must adjust both your body and your mind to the fact that you can lift more weight today than you did in your previous workout.

You must use heavy poundages in high sets of low reps.

If power is the objective, you have to put high-rep training on the back burner for a while. You need to be working in a range of 4 to 6 reps at maximum weight. Take as much rest as you need between sets, but the total set count must be as high as 20. That may seem like overtraining but realize that each set is only a few seconds long. Once again, you have to condition the body and mind for the task at hand.

Every muscle you use in a particular movement must be fully trained and developed.

The best power programs consist of several exercises all designed to develop the body as one optimum functioning unit. If you're a powerlifter specializing in one lift, you may want to concentrate on that lift; however, total body power comes from the ability to adapt to different movements. For example, if you're competing in the bench press, you must work your triceps to their max. You have to use different exercises to stimulate your muscles from every possible angle. Naturally, you can't use too many exercises during a single workout, but over the course of a month you should incorporate a variety of movements.


Bodybuilders frequently neglect the use of short-range movements such as lockout presses and quarter-squats. In these movements you can often use poundages double those of the regular exercises. This increased weight allows for the adaptation of both physiological and psychological forces.

Whenever you subject your body to more weight than it's felt in the past, even if you don't put the weight through a full range of motion, it sends a message, by way of sensory neurons, to the Golgi tendons, sensors located between the muscle and the bones which relay messages back to the brain. When subjected to a force so great the muscles cannot withstand the pressure, they automatically relax as a self-protection mechanism. You experience this process whenever you instinctively become aware a weight is too heavy so that you let it drop. You can inhibit the natural reaction of the Golgi tendons by slowly subjecting them to greater contractile stress. This is why short-range, ultra heavy lifts are so important for increasing overall strength. These lifts are essential for acquiring superpower extra fast.

Put it Down - Then Put it Down Again

To achieve the capacity for greater workloads, you must tax your muscles in both eccentric and concentric movements of the exercise. Some people will argue that eccentric movements are too draining and serve no purpose in the actual lift.

Nevertheless, by emphasizing the negative portion of various movements, you once again subject the body to greater stress, which leads to greater strength.

An all-eccentric workout using a powerlift will dramatically improve power. In the deadlift, for instance, you can develop tremendous back strength by lowering the bar from a rack to the floor, using a hundred pounds more than you would in a normal lift.

Three's a Charm

Implementing an all-eccentric workout usually requires the assistance of two training partners to get the bar back up to its starting point. Working with two helpers on a power routine is a good idea for several reasons. They provide safety by assuring you of a proper spot. They sustain enthusiasm and encouragement. Training in a round-robin fashion where each of you takes a turn at the lift allows for enough rest time between sets while still maintaining a consistent tempo.

The exercises you should emphasize are, not surprisingly, the compound movements: squats, standing presses, deadlifts, shrugs and bench presses (the standard "big" movements). However, there's no reason you can't turn any exercise into a power movement. You can make curls, presses behind the neck, weighted chins, dips, and even isolation movements like triceps pressdowns into power-building exercises if you use enough weight. In other words, think heavy! In many ways the weight you lift is more important than the actual exercise.

More Intake Equals More Output

Naturally, if power is the objective, the body is going to require the necessary fuel. That means calories, and lots of them! Of course, you don't want to get sloppy and start downing excess junk, but you can't get stronger while in a calorie deficit. Protein is essential, but so are fats and carbs. Just make sure the calorie sources are from wholesome foods that provide strength and energy. Proper supplementation is also a must for the best possible gains.

Set Your Sights

Having an objective and a game plan is the key to improving your power. Decide you want to commit the next month or two to nothing but increasing your strength. After that you can begin to specialize on the finer details of your physique.

Power is a combination of mechanical force and mental focus. One without the other will produce only second-rate results. Start utilizing these principles and you're on our way to the development of both.

Every bodybuilder can afford to "amp up" his power training. Isn't it time you increased yours? Plug in and get to work!

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