Sep 012010
 

We are all conditioned to believe strength and massive muscles go together. While there is a definite correlation it is not the primary indicator. Strength training workouts do not require you become ultra-massive in order to become tremendously strong.

If you question the validity of this idea, then you need to drop in and visit some high school football coaches. Ask them how many of their top lifters are actually relatively small in size. It is not uncommon to see very thin wide receivers, running backs, defensive backs, and quarterbacks who are squatting over 500 pounds and bench pressing in excess of 300 pounds. This is impressive power from a person of any size.

To prove the statement even further check out the record books for powerlifters. You will find men weighing between 130 and 150 pounds pounding out squats in excess of 600 pounds, bench presses over 450 pounds, and deadlifts over 600 pounds. This is power your average 220 pound bodybuilder cannot match, and for good reason.

Strength training and muscle mass training are very different techniques. When you are training for ultimate strength you lift very low repetitions using only core exercises. Powerlifters commonly only do one to five reps per set. Ed Coan, one of the most impressive powerlifters of all time, structured his workouts to cover a 14 week series, with increasing weights each week and decreasing reps. At the beginning of the 14 weeks you do 10 reps per set of two sets. By the last of the 14 weeks you would be down to doing 1 rep per set, but with maximum weights.

A bodybuilder on the other hand normally does reps in the 8 to 15 reps per set, and does more sets per body part. Their emphasis is not on strength gain but muscle mass gain. The increased reps and sets helps to tear down more tissue allowing for more muscle growth during the recovery phase.

You may be wondering what to do when you want both muscle mass and awesome power from your strength training workouts. Then you must learn to cycle between the two methods. Use nutrition and bodybuilding routines for 2 to 3 months to increase mass, then rotate into a powerlifting workout for the next 12 to 14 weeks to build massive power. This would be an ideal situation for high school football players intending to play on the offensive or defensive line. They can add body mass in 3 month periods and then produce even greater physical power during a 3 month period of powerlifting.

While muscle size plays a role in building your overall strength capacity it is not the primary concern of powerlifters. Power come from building the strongest muscle tissue possible, not just the largest muscle possible. If your goal is ultimate power, stick with strength training workouts designed by powerlifters. You can become the strongest athlete in your school, gym, or neighborhood through commitment to proper workouts.

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