Basics of Building Strength


When you’re new to working out you rarely know why your trainer or coach is telling you to do the things that you’re doing. Hopefully you trust your coach to help you reach your goals and that they know what they are doing. You may have no interest in coaching other people but a basic understanding of what and why you’re following a particular program is helpful.

Think of it as a roadmap. You know your current location and your destination, but you may know know how to get there.

Your current location is you, right now. Your destination is your goal. I know you have a specific goal, right? The programing i.e. lifts, movements, sets and reps, is how you get from current location to your destination.

Progressive Resistance

Most strength programs are written in cycles. The cycle may be 4, 6, or maybe 8 weeks long. The length of the cycle depends on you and your goals. Over the length of the cycle you lift weight, and gradually increase the volume. Volume is the sets and reps you perform equaling total weight lifted. For example 5 sets of 10 at 100lb is 5000lb of weight lifted.

By increasing weight, sets, or reps you can increase volume. Each variable provides a different stimulus and should be used in such a way to help you reach your specific goals. As you increase volume over the length of the cycle your body will struggle more and more to lift the prescribed weight.


The second and equally important part to a strength building cycle is the unload, or de-load time. This is typically the final week or so of the cycle and in this week you dramatically lower your lifting volume. This gives your body a chance to recover and ADAPT to the work you’ve been requiring it to perform over the previous weeks.

Upon completing a full cycle of progressive resistance(lifting) and adaptation(de-load) your body will be stronger, rested and ready to hit a new cycle with intensity.

This is a basic explanation of how most strength programs work. There are many variables to be mixed and matched for various goals and results. To meet your specific goals you should be working with a coach or trainer that can write programing specifically to get you from where you are now to where you want to be.

Now go move better.