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  • Kyle MCCarty

What "NOT" to do if you are trying to get Stronger

Everything you need to know to start breaking new records in the gym.

"In order to build true max strength, you must be training with reps of 3 or less per set"

The popular belief of "more is better" does not apply to building strength. I see it more than anything else, and that is most people do too many reps when trying to build strength. When I get asked, "Hey Josh, how do i get sronger?" I always reply by asking them how many reps and sets they are currently doing for the lift they are trying to drive up. The common response is usually something way too high like 3 sets of 8 reps, or 5 sets of 5 reps. This is where part of the problem lies. In order to build max strength, you must be training with reps of 3 or less per set. If you are doing too many reps than your load on the bar is probably pretty low. You can't get strong by lifting light weight. It just can't happen. We recommend doing at least one heavy day a week using reps of 3 or less per set, which should allow for maximum weight to be lifted each set.


"Rest periods should be at least 3 minutes long and up to 5 minutes between each set"

First let me start by saying that the following recommendation on rest periods only applies to our "Max Effort" days when the weight is heavy and the reps are 3 or less per set. So, now lets talk about rest and why we need it to be strong. The body requires ATP for the muscles to contract. The more ATP we have, the greater our strength potential will be. After doing a set of squats our levels of ATP in the leg muscles are reduced significantly. In order to restore these levels back to normal, rest periods should be at least 3 minutes long and up to 5 minutes between each set. If you take less than that your potential to lift heavier weights start to drop due to lower levels of ATP. Sorry Crossfitters, but you aren't building true max strength without rest between sets.


"Cardio kills strength"

Cardio kills strength. Yeah, i said it! I know all you crossfitters love mixing in the two worlds of cardio and strength in absolutely every workout, but if your goal is to truly increase your strength, then kick the cardio good bye. Listen, i'm not hating on cardio. There is a time and place for it, and doing it on the same day as a heavy strength training day is not it. Mixing both cardio and strength training kills the recovery process for strength and dulls the nervous system. If you are an athlete who needs to be fast and strong, the nervous system needs to be running efficiently at a high rate.


The definition of max strength is as follows, "Maximum strength is the maximum force a muscle can exert in a single maximal voluntary contraction. It is used during weightlifting"


If you want to improve max strength, you must move maximum weight. You cant lif't maximum weight if the reps are too high, or if the rest periods are too short.

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